1 year old Hen with labored breathing

4mtnchickens

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 26, 2012
4
1
62
I have a 1 year old Barred Rock that is not very active and appears to have labored breathing with her body visibally raising and lowering with each breath. If I pick her up, I can hear her breathing loudly- kinda of like a wheeze? I'm concerned because a few weeks ago I had two Light Brahma's die one week apart at around 6-8 weeks of age. One had a visible lump (tumor) on top of its head. They both suddenly became weak, unable to stand or walk much, AND had this same labored breathing. I am concerned they had Mareck's disease. They were not vaccinated chicks. The other three chicks (an Ameraucana and 2 Barred Rocks) that I also got from the feed store are still fine so far. Also, I had a 3 or 4 year old Ameraucana die a couple of weeks befoe the chicks became ill; but, we were away on vacation and I don't know what her symptoms were. House sitter said they didn't notice anything.

Is there something else that can be causing her labored breathing besides Mareck's? She is not sneezing, coughing, or having any nasal discharge.

Thanks!
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
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Can you get a video of her? (upload to youtube and provide a link)

Photos of your hen and her poop may be helpful.
When is the last time she laid an egg?
Is her crop empty?
Is she able to eat/drink on her own?
Have you felt the abdomen for fluid, bloat or swelling?

Where are you located in the world - what's your weather like?
 

4mtnchickens

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 26, 2012
4
1
62
It is in the upper 80's but none of the other hens are breathing like her. I will try to get a video. All hens use the same 1 nesting box- out of 3!- so I don't know if she's laying or not. I tried to compare her abdoment to others, seems more soft, fluid filled than others. Crop is empty. She wouldn't eat or drink when I brought food and water over to her.

BTW, called the feed store. He had another guy loose several chicks so he replaced them. Has decided to now sell vaccinated chicks....so that makes me go,
"hmmmm?"
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
44,907
66,564
1,412
Southern N.C. Mountains
It is in the upper 80's but none of the other hens are breathing like her. I will try to get a video. All hens use the same 1 nesting box- out of 3!- so I don't know if she's laying or not. I tried to compare her abdoment to others, seems more soft, fluid filled than others. Crop is empty. She wouldn't eat or drink when I brought food and water over to her.

BTW, called the feed store. He had another guy loose several chicks so he replaced them. Has decided to now sell vaccinated chicks....so that makes me go,
"hmmmm?"

If she has fluid in the abdomen, then she may be having trouble with a reproductive issue or organ dysfunction. It's hard to know. Some people drain the fluid to see if that give the hen some relief.

The most common vaccination given to chicks is the Marek's vaccine. Did the feed store guy specify what it was? Symptoms of Marek's are more commonly seen in chicks around the age of 8-25wks, but a hen like yours at 1yr old might develop symptoms if she has another illness or weakened immune system.

 

4mtnchickens

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 26, 2012
4
1
62
Update: Her abdomen wasn't full. Her vent area was pumping so I tried a couple of epsom baths to see if she was hopefully just egg bound. Really I think it just appeared to be pumping because of her labored breathing. Her main symptoms were labored breathing (not panting- open mouth, neck going forward and back like reaching for air), not eating or drinking due to difficulty getting enough air. She passed. :-( I am sending in for necropsy to see what is going on with my flock...will update when I get results.
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
44,907
66,564
1,412
Southern N.C. Mountains
Update: Her abdomen wasn't full. Her vent area was pumping so I tried a couple of epsom baths to see if she was hopefully just egg bound. Really I think it just appeared to be pumping because of her labored breathing. Her main symptoms were labored breathing (not panting), not eating or drinking due to difficulty getting enough air. She passed. :-( I am sending in for necropsy to see what is going on with my flock...will update when I get results.
I'm sorry that she passed :hugs

I see what you are saying, yes...chickens have 9 air sacs and there are 2 in the abdomen, so that action may have been due to labored breathing.
Please do let us know what you find out.

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