Can someone tell me what this this is?


In the Brooder
Mar 8, 2015
Southern California
Hello I'm new to backyard chickens and currently have 26 chickens ranging from 10-12 weeks. So far all have been pretty healthy and doing well in their coop/run. Tonight I was checking on everyone and noticed my buff Orpington has a growth on the side of her face. I check on my chickens daily and hadn't noticed this before. Can someone help me figure out what it is? Treatment if any? Thanks in advance.
Is it soft and squishy or hard/firm? I havnt ever seen one in that location. I have seen similar on the face and it was a sinus cavity infection. A course of antibiotics has cleared them up in the past for me.
Not sure what that is, sorry... Maybe a snake or spider or insect sting/bite?

Can you find any opening anywhere on it, or is it completely 'blind' (no 'eye' that could have introduced infection or could release infection)?

I would keep an eye on the chook and see if it gets worse or better before treating it, since it's a bit of a mystery. Does the chook eat and drink normally? I'd watch that especially closely because they can appear to be drinking when really they're just dipping their beak in and letting it run out because the throat muscles are paralyzed by damage or immobilized by pain. If it's not actually drinking and eating it can lose condition almost overnight, and you'll have to watch fairly closely to know for sure that it is drinking and eating.

I would feel its crop nightly and make sure it's got food in it, and keep an eye on its poop output. If it's a spider or whatever sting or bite it may become necrotic, since it's quite swollen and most likely quite painful.

Best wishes.
Thanks for the replies- she seems fine today, but the "mass" is a little bigger. She is eating okay and the other chickens aren't picking at her. I don't see an opening like a cyst but I may start her on anitibiotics.
Looks like an abscess to me. I don't know if it can happen in birds but for small mammals sometimes the initial site can be on the inside of the throat. I've treated guinea pigs, chinchilla, and rabbits for abscesses on the cheek and neck that started in the mouth and throat likely from getting punctures from sharp bits of hay they ate. Vet lanced the wound from the outside, drained the pus, cleaned the pocket and packed with antibiotic ointment. We had to keep the wound from closing and periodically flush it and squirt ointment in it so it would heal from the inside out. Worked out well and healing was quick. Antibiotics only used on one chinchilla whose habit of biting made aftercare difficult so infection returned.
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I agree, it does look like an abscess. I was thinking before, but forgot to say, this can result from eating a spider and getting bitten in the throat by the spider as it's being swallowed.

If it is an abscess (and it certainly looks like it, and of course chooks can get them too) then lancing it would most likely be necessary. Without knowing for sure what it is I probably wouldn't myself, after all tumors both benign and malignant are pretty common in chickens, but many would lance it. A vet trip is out of the question for a lot of chooks so home treatment is what they get.

Artificial antibiotics can be hit and miss though because they kill necessary bacteria etc as well as the harmful, and many abscesses are encysted so the infection can't actually go anywhere without lancing. Once antibiotics are stopped, or even if they are ongoing, the pathogenic bacteria tend to rapidly adapt to them and reproduce much faster than the beneficial counterparts do so it can actually make things worse, all while harming the organism as a whole. They can permanently kill off populations of multiple interdependent species of probiotics in the gut and scar the epithelium so they cannot ever return, which causes ongoing health problems in digesting food, immune response and disease and parasite defense.

I used pine tar on a large cyst on a turkey hen's wattle, without lancing, and it killed the infection, took out the swelling, and a few days later the cyst vanished without a scar to show it was ever there. That's been my experience of using pine/Stockholm tar on many things including gangrenous old fox-mauling wounds and golden staph infections. It has amazing ability to soothe pain instantly, draw out foreign bodies, kill infections, and heal without scarring in most cases. So I'd use that myself. Just the pure stuff you can get at a produce store or anywhere they sell horse products, most likely. It's also sold online and it's a real lifesaver. I use it on various species and myself.

Anyway, good luck with whatever you do.

Best wishes.

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