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Labored breathing

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

My two year old Sicilian Buttercup has been feeling pretty crumby for the past couple of weeks. She has labored breathing – which has progressively gotten worse over the past two days. She’ll open her mouth to take deep breaths, and it even seems to be slowing her down. I picked her up and realized yesterday that she has lost A LOT of weight! And her poops are tiny! They are thin and long. As I was watching her earlier she tried to poop but nothing came out. She has never been a layer, maybe producing only 30 eggs total. I have tried enticing her to eat things and she will, but slowly. She’ll follow the other three girls around the yard and go through the motions, but I’m not sure if she’s actually eating anything. I’ve also given her some water (maybe 5ml) via syringe (by dropping it on the top of her nose). At first I thought her nose was blocked, but after gentle rubbing last week it looks cleared. I have opened her mouth (which she would have never let me do if she were feeling well) and can’t see anything down her throat. When I feel her neck I can’t really locate her crop (that’s how skinny she is).

 

I don’t know what to do! I don’t have a vet around who sees birds so that is out of the question. I am willing to try to help her, but am worried I have caught it too late and now she is suffering…What do you fellow chicken keepers think? Have you had a bird in this similar situation? How have they faired? Is it even worth putting her through a few more days if she is uncomfortable? If you think there is hope, what should I do???


Edited by CallieGen - 5/24/16 at 1:08pm
post #2 of 7
Welcome to BYC. Her illness could be from a number of different causes. Reproductive diseases such as cancer, internal laying, egg yolk peritonitis, or other internal organ disease are common in chickens that age. Has she every been wormed? Valbazen or SafeGuard are very good ones. Bring her inside to watch her closely, and put some vitamins and electrolytes in her water. Offer her usual feed, plus some plain yogurt for probiotics, some chopped egg or tuna, and sometimes making a mash of water and feed can help. Look her over for any signs of lice or mites, especially around her vent. If she doesn't look better after some TLC, then you may want to end any suffering by putting her down.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your response!

 

I have electrolytes in her water and have moved her inside this morning. She is still eating, mostly she chooses to eat the scrambled eggs over everything offered.

 

I picked up a dewormer from my local feed store, they had few options (I was looking for Valbazen based on other threads I have seen on BYC but they did not have it) and recommended “Pig Swig.” I’m planning to give her a dose shortly.

 

Her stool seems to have changed, and I wonder if that is because I am giving her fluids. This morning it is dark green in color and wet but still formed. She also seems more lethargic…I have a sad feeling this may be a last ditch effort. :(

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Okay, BYC people, I have an update on this hen and (surprise!) more questions!

 

She had dewormer yesterday, and I am going to give it to her one more day in her water. I am not sure if she is choosing to drink the water I have provided for her, but yesterday every few hours I have her 3-6 ml of water via syringe. I think she is feeling better just because she is getting fluids in her.

 

She is eating, but not with that usual chicken voraciousness. Yesterday I gave her a scrambled egg and she only ate about half. She's also had access to her regular feed and some cracked corn, which she pecks at and tosses around. Today I have given her some oatmeal and for the moment she is eating it.

 

My questions are regarding her respiration. When she is relaxing, she is breathing through her nose, so I know there is no blockage in her nose. When I pick her up to give her water, she becomes slightly distressed and opens her mouth to breathe. She will open her mouth on the inhales and close it on the exhales - unless she is very worked up she keeps it wide open (which I try to avoid). Her whole body moves with her breath, so you can tell it is taxing for her. If I listen closely I can hear her breathing, it is almost like purring, and to me it sounds like something is "clicking" inside. Occassionally she'll shake her head around or squeak/sneeze.

 

When I sneak a peak at her while she is resting/I am not in the room she just stands around. Only a few times I have caught her standing with a slightly droopy head. Although, as I was writing this she had her eyes closed and with each breath he head started to droop lower, and once I moved to get a better look she popped her head up and started eating again.

 

Has anyone experienced something like this? It almost seems like a blockage, or maybe fluid in her lungs? I don't know if it is contagious because so far none of my other hens seems to be acting strange.

post #5 of 7
Can you take her to a vet? So many things could cause the symptoms she has, so would be best to have a vet look at her. As for the wormer, if you're using Wazine, know that it only treats large roundworms, and since she's not drinking, I doubt she get enough for it to work. If you're using Safeguard, know that it's not water soluble and the amount needed is much more than most people think.

-Kathy
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Kathy, unfortunately I am unable to take her to a vet. :(

 

My hen has improved in many ways except for respiration. Her attitude and appetite seem better. Although her poops are TINY still! And a darker green color. She is still taking deep breaths that I can visually see. I don't know if there is anything else I can do for her... I am nervous to put her back with my flock because I don't want her to infect anyone else - although I'm not convinced it is contagious because I think she has been sick for some time and the others show no symptoms. Any more ideas?

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Update: we ended up culling this chicken, and did a novice necropsy. We found that her abdomen was full of dark green fluid and had a huge growth. When I cut the growth open it looked to be one solid material, although it was encompassed by darker bumps. (I took photos if anyone is interested.) At first I thought it might be peritonitis, but she hasn’t laid an egg in over a year… So…perhaps it was cancer? I’m not really sure, I’m just glad that we found some sort of answer (yes, something was definitely wrong) and that I didn’t wait longer to end her suffering.  

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