My elderly pea-loving neighbor came and got me today and mentioned his peahen was ill. I went over to see what was wrong and found her gagging and mouth breathing. Periodically she made a sound like a kid swallowing snot. (Sorry, I don't have another good way to describe it.) I didn't see what was wrong until the second time that he held her and I actually tried touching and pressing on her sinuses. Then it was pretty easy to spot:
Here you can see the "bump" in front of the left eye.
In the second photo, look at the difference between the left side and the right side... The left side has a bump on it that isn't there on the right side. The right sinus area is soft and a little concave. On the left, it is puffed up and swollen. There's even some mostly dried up discharge dripping from the left nostril. Inside the roof of the bird's mouth (no photo, sorry), it also looks brown and nasty.
In this next photo. you can see the discharge caked on the bird's upper beak -- all the tan colored coating on the beak and the bit hanging down -- appears to be dried nasal discharge (it's a dry climate here) * * * Edited to add -- if you look carefully at these first three photos, you can see that the left nostril is completely plugged with dry, caked on brown nasal discharge The hen can't move any air through that nostril with the gunk plugging it up like that * * *
Everything appears to be hunky-dory on the right side of the pea's face -- no swelling there.
When you look more closely, though, you can see the dried nasal discharge on that side too:
I must have washed my hands 5 or 6 times over there -- after every time we handled the bird, we both went and washed up. (I also changed clothes the second I got home, and sprayed my shoes with disinfectant!) The baby peas are now segregated from the hen and her mate. She got a dose of antibiotics before I left. Everybody's getting wormed too, since that hadn't happened in awhile, and could have contributed to lowering her resistance.
She's pretty sick -- but was still running around the pen and behaving semi-normally. The mouth-breathing, gagging, snot-swallowing noises and appearance of being short of breath at times were the clues that she was ailing. But it took actually getting hands on the pea, feeling the sinus area, peering in her mouth with a flashlight and looking for the nasal discharge before it was really obvious. That "huge" swelling in the photos isn't all that visible from even a few feet away.
The snot-swallowing noise, however, carries quite a distance
I'm cautiously optimistic that we caught this in time
Edited by Garden Peas - 6/9/16 at 1:34pm