Cheesy ear infection

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MoodyChicken, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. MoodyChicken

    MoodyChicken Songster

    Feb 15, 2009
    Northern California
    So I checked all my birds last night, and noticed something funny in my Cornish's ear. Her ear was swollen and there was this thing growing in it... it looked like a flakey piece of cracked corn. I pulled it out gently with and it was huge! About the size of a candy corn and the same shape. It was the color and texture of pale chedder cheese and the top part, where it had dried, looked like cracked corn. I cleaned her ear out gently with a qtip and a little bit of rubbing alcohol, and checked the other ear only to find a much smaller version of the same thing (but it was too deep to pull out without hurting her). The ear looked a little sore and a little swollen after I pulled it out, but nothing serious. She has no other symptoms. She's a healthy weight, she's molting, she's very perky, has a great appetite, she's about 1 1/2 years old. Only off thing was that she has mites, which I will treating very soon. Could the mites be getting inside her ear and causing an infection? Could this be ear canker (I couldn't find any info on that but my friend has dealt with it so I was going off his description)? This happened to my Modern's nose a few years ago. Same stuff. And the roo in her coop has the same "corn kernels" stuck in the grooves of his comb. Is it just dirt and gobbley gook that got stuck and caused a small infection? Any ideas?
  2. Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  3. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    It sounds like maybe a fungal growth? I haven't dealt with that specifically, but that sure rang a bell from other reading.
  4. Glenda L Heywood

    Glenda L Heywood Songster

    Apr 11, 2009
    It is canker infection
    Here is some good advise for poultry
    from Florida food and agriculture

    Glenda L Heywood

    I know what it is and there is no cure, and yes chickens get it.and yes in my opinion it is contageous
    like if you have it in a hen the cock she is mated to will get it

    I went on htpp://
    and put in pigeon canker

    Pigeon Canker 1. GD Butcher, DVM, Ph.D.2. Trichomoniasis (pigeon canker) is the most common disease of pigeons. Approximately 80 percent of pigeons are ... -

    but I do know what this disease is. It effects chickens the same way. Effects chickens ears, throat and lining of stomach.
    It will eventually go to the lining stomach of the effected bird
    Glenda L Heywood

    Pigeon Canker 1
    G.D. Butcher, D.V.M., Ph.D.2
    Trichomoniasis (pigeon canker) is the most common disease of pigeons. Approximately 80 percent of pigeons are infected with this organism. The organism is a microscopic flagellate classified as a protozoan. Different strains, Trichomonas gallinae or Trichomonas columbae , vary greatly in their ability to cause disease. The disease occurs worldwide in warm climates or during warm weather. It may occur at any time of the year in commercial squab operations. Adult pigeons frequently carry the trichomonads without showing signs of disease. When the adult pigeon is stressed, however, the organisms may multiply profusely. A mild infection can then turn into a serious condition. Stresses include other diseases, parasitic infestations, or overbreeding.

    Affected pigeons in a loft may cease to feed, become listless and ruffled in appearance, and lose weight before death. Pigeons often have difficulty when closing their mouths because of lesions in the oral cavity. They drool and make repeated swallowing movements. Watery eyes may be apparent in birds with lesions located in the sinuses or tissues around the eyes. Diarrhea, increased water intake, and respiratory distress may be noted. Birds may die suddenly due to suffocation if the lesion blocks the opening of the trachea. The disease becomes more severe in birds that are noticeably emaciated. The thin weakened bird loses the inclination to fly and will "take to the wing" reluctantly.

    Pigeons that are carriers often transmit trichomonads to their young during feeding. The disease is common in 10- to 24-day-old squabs. As a method of feeding their young, pigeons regurgitate the sloughed, fat laden cells lining the crop (crop milk) into the oral cavity of the squabs. If squabs are infected with only small numbers of the protozoan, they may develop immunity which is maintained by constant low-level exposure. If squabs are infected with large numbers, a severe outbreak may occur and endanger the entire young generation.

    Lesions of canker are usually most extensive in the mouth, pharynx, or esophagus but may occur at other sites including the crop, proventriculus, or sinuses. The infection is promoted by minor injuries to these tissues. The spelts and awns from grains can easily cause small lesions. The lesions first appear as small, circumscribed, and elevated areas on the surface of the oral mucosa. They may be surrounded by a thin red zone. The lesions may increase in size and coalesce.

    The build-up of white to yellow/tan caseous material may be sufficiently extensive to partially or completely block the lumen of the esophagus. Organisms may also enter the body through the unhealed navel of squabs. In this form, necrotic tumor-like swellings occur under the skin adjacent to the navel. Lesions can spread to various internal organs, particularly the liver. Large, well-defined, and yellowish areas of hepatic necrosis may be found on necropsy examination.

    Typical signs and lesions are very suggestive of the disease. Demonstration of large numbers of organisms in the oral fluids is usually considered enough evidence for diagnosis. The small plaques in the mucosa should be differentiated from pox, vitamin-A deficiency, or candidiasis.

    Since the organism is transmitted from parent to squab, every effort should be made to treat or remove infected birds from the flock. If possible, depopulate at regular intervals and thoroughly clean and disinfect the premises.

    In addition, the following preventive measures should help: practice a high standard of sanitation at all times; do not add birds to an established flock since they may be carriers (if birds are added, quarantine for 30 days); and provide a source of clean, fresh water eliminating all sources of stagnant water.

    The antiprotozoal drugs which were used successfully in treating this disease, such as dimetridazole and metronidazole, have been removed from the market. Experimentally, a number of drugs are active against trichomonas infection. Use of 0.1% copper sulfate (100 mg per 100 ml of drinking water), 0.5% hydrochloric acid or 0.02% mercuric chloride (sublimate) is worth investigating. The optimum time to treat breeding pairs is at the initiation of egg production.


    1. This document is VM75, one of a series of the Veterinary Medicine-Large Animal Clinical Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date May, 1996. Reviewed May, 2003. Visit the EDIS Web Site at
    2. G.D. Butcher, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor and avian veterinarian, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.


    The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension service.

    U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A. & M. University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Larry Arrington, Dean.

    Copyright Information
    This document is copyrighted by the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) for the people of the State of Florida. UF/IFAS retains all rights under all conventions, but permits free reproduction by all agents and offices of the Cooperative Extension Service and the people of the State of Florida. Permission is granted to others to use these materials in part or in full for educational purposes, provided that full credit is given to the UF/IFAS, citing the publication, its source, and date of publication.

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