Air Pocket around Leg ~ Please Help


11 Years
May 23, 2008
I went out to check on my 5 new Mille D'uccles and when i picked them up and looked at them i noticed one was strange looking. Upon Closer examination it seems she has an air pocket around her leg. I gave her to my mom to take inside while i checked the others (they are fine). My mom decided to take one of our sterile needles and remove some of the air. I yelled at her when i got in for not at least letting me take pics first. I'm also concerned that if this air pocket is a disease the tiny puncture wound from the needle might get infected. The air doesn't seem to be causing pain and the chick runs quite well. Does anyone know what this is?

I tried taking some pics, but i don't think you can really tell much. Look at its left leg:


This is it chilling out next to my computer. It seems to feel fine:
We pulled some air out with the needle. It didn't pop or anything. However after a few minutes the pocket started to fill up again.

I will try for better pics in a little bit. Does this sound like an early symptom of anything? Like i said the bird doesn't notice it ......... yet.
Almost sounds like some kind of a birth defect - a failure in the membrane surrounding the air sacs...I would go to the link on chicken anatomy and see what that respiratory set-up looks like - might be able to give you a way to visualize what I'm talking about.
Does she show any different (than a normal chicken) behavior when she exercises (labored breathing, etc) or does her leg puff up more?

I just wanted to add...Good on ya for doing regular health checks!
Last edited:
Sometimes there can be injury to an air sac in the body of poultry caused by a wound, or even blunt force trauma. Such a trauma to the body can rupture an air sac, causing subcutaneous emphysema

If you want to deflate the air filled swelling, you can do so. I'd recommend it. But you'll need to keep deflating it until the underlying issue resolves. If the chick is eating and drinking normally otherwise, that's exactly what I'd do. I'd remove her and another chick to a separate brooder to keep the other birds from picking at the area.

Then you'll use a large needle (around 18 gauge) to deflate the area. Aim it away from the bird in case the bird moves so that you don't inadvertently hit the bird with the needle if he flinches. If you're concerned about infection, clean the needle with alcohol before hand and use a bit of iodine diluted with a good bit of water on the needle before inserting.

If the swelling contains fluid, this could be something different. Please let us know in that case.

Hope this helps.
Last edited:
I went out today to see how the chick was doing. The bubble was considerably smaller than yesterday. I think it might have been what Threehorses described. The tiny hole we poked yesterday made it so that just by pushing on the air it was deflated. The chick runs around all day so i don't think exercise made it any bigger or smaller. I'm pretty sure the chick will be fine now. Its living in the baby pen still anyways so she is as isolated as she can get.


Advertisement Purina Flock Layer

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom