Chick is "gaping" what are reasons for this?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by katelk, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chick is 6 weeks old. She will stretch her neck out and open her mouth wide. Sometimes it makes like a clicking sound. She also seems to sneeze fairly regularly. She is the only one who does this. I see some of the others occasionally do one or the other, but it seems more isolated and normal due to dust or something like that.
    This chick I have taken out of pine shreds (bc of the dust). I give a bit of grit with her food, but she is only eating chick crumbles. Might there be a simple explanation or potentially something more serious?
    Thanks!
     
  2. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've already seen my 2 day old chicks do this (gaping), the funny thing is they are not in a dusty area.

    I've got mine in the living room for now, they have a small box with a lamp in it & a thick folded blanket in the bottom to snuggle. The box has a see - through front & is insolated to prevent heat loss.
    They just have a hole in the bottom corner to pop in & out through onto the living room floor (we have vinyl flooring so any mess takes 2 seconds to fix) to get food & drink from their dishes.
    When I say dishes, one is a bottle lid with water [​IMG] because I was worried about them drowning in the drinker I had bought them. Anyway its been managing them fine.

    Call me crazy for letting them loose indoors, but they tend to just keep to their "corner" unless they are playing or chasing the dogs who are both girls & a bit besotted.
    Plus, I have vinyl flooring, leather, glass & chrome furniture right through my home except the bedroom & its easier to clean by far than carpet.

    I have a brood box, but it just seemed too small as I had to put the heat box in it (everythings homemade) & I couldn't get it warm enough with out the box. The chicks would just sit & cheep loudly in a huddle under the lamp.
    In the box they are quiet apart from quiet cheeping now & again & just go to sleep apart or slightly together so it must feel much better. I'd rather they were happy, any mess is only until they go outside anyway [​IMG]

    To be honest, I thought the gaping looked more like yawning though...
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  3. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have mine in a good sized "small" coop in my dining room :p
    The chick I am talking about, however, has been separated from the others because they were pecking at her. She is a bit smaller than them. She has since pretty much gotten free reign of the house and seems to think she is a lap dog lol. She will run around outside and eat and play, but try to act like you are going to relax and she MUST be in your lap! Quite inconvenient for my 35 pound border collie who is terrified of her...:lol:
     
  4. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Too funny!
     
  5. laurengeeves

    laurengeeves Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This may dound stupid but mine do it and they are 1 a bit months.. I found that it means to me that they are hungry or thirst, when it does it try putting it by the food/ drink area.. After its had a bit of either it should stop:) The sneezing mine do that to, I've found that if they are indoors then an open window will help a bit, mine sneeze ( all three chicks, I'm hand rearing as mother lost complete intest ) and a bit of clear liquid come out, but I just assume its like when we sneeze :)
    I'm new to all this, but it's completely normal for my chicjs and it probably is for yours, try the food/ drink thing and get back to me :)
     
  6. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This does seen to be the case. For some reason this little one just does it more often than the others. Food and water seem to make it stop. These are my first chicks so I guess I am just paranoid! :rolleyes:
    Thanks for the help!! :D
     
  7. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Chicks shouldn't sneeze or gape with an out-stretched neck as a rule, especially with a clicking sound. That combined movement is usually a sign of respiratory distress either from illness or from environment dust. Look for clear eyes and clean bum (no sign of diarrhea). Any eye or nose drainage or messy behind means you've got a sick chick. Any gaping with neck stretching, clicking, gasping, squeaking (like a toy mouse), rattling, head shaking, is symptom of a sick chick with respiratory illness, likely IB (Infectious Bronchitis). It might also be the beginning of CRD (chronic respiratory disease...chicken equivalent to asthma). I would isolate that chick from the rest until you determine what is going on.

    There could be some benign reasons for a mouth to gape open. Chicks do run around with their mouth open, usually chirping movements that you are not hearing. If it is hot, and their mouth is simply hanging open without gasping, head stretching, or clicking, it could be they are just trying to cool off. Chickens gape (their form of panting) and spread their wings to cool off. Sometimes gaping with a head shake is a sign of simply trying to clear their crop and throat. But if it is something happening often with the same chick, I would look deeper. Repeated gape and shake could be a sign of gape worms or illness.

    The only other benign reason I can think of for an open mouth, out-stretched neck, with a throat noise (and often a head shake) would be a fast maturing roo who is going through the motions...you should hear a chirping/chortle with the movement that sounds like an attempt to crow.

    Opening a window may create a cooler environment for them or remove some of the offending dust if that helps. (CRD can be triggered by dust.)

    Chicks don't gape and stretch their necks like a robin to be fed. Hens do not throat feed them. They feed from the ground like the hen. They do chirp to be fed and if they are thirsty. So that type of mouth open for chirping would be normal and giving them food or water would be the solution.

    My thoughts. Good luck.
    Lady of McCamley
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
  8. laurengeeves

    laurengeeves Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As lady of mcclamy said it could be something else.
    All three of my chicks do it, and putting them in there pen after they are doing it, they eat or drink then they go back to normal.. Yours probably see you as there mum, just as mine do, and it's probably their signal to you.

    These are my first chicks aswell, so I too have been paranoid about everything! But I can't see a problem if it goes after they have eaten/drunk:)
    My babies are all keets, so they are known for their long necks.. And when they do the movement, they stretch up and do a weird head bouncing thing with their mouth open like yours.
    I'm glad that my little experience can help someone in the same situation as me :) if you need any more help, then private inbox me :)
     
  9. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    May I humbly clarify a point for the interest of accuracy?

    Keets and chickens are different types of birds and behave differently. I am not surprised the little keets are gaping and stretching their long necks for food and attention. They are keets (baby Guinea Fowl).

    I have not raised Guinea Fowl, but I can make my point with turkeys vs. chickens as I have raised both.

    Turkeys (and their little babies called poults) drink and often eat with a tipped back head and raised gaping mouth with exaggerated neck motion...like glugging down a Coke from a bottle. (It has to do with the anatomy of their neck and digestive system.) Chicks do not. Different anatomy. Guinea fowl are a different type of bird, closer to a turkey than a chicken.

    If you are describing the behavior of a chicken's chick (especially a 6 week old chick that's no longer a little baby with a constant open cheeping mouth), who has repetitive sneezing, mouth gaping with neck stretching, especially with a clicking sound (nicking), then that is a typical symptom of respiratory distress. The fact that this is the only chick that is doing that combination of movements (as you have noticed), and the fact that it has started it recently, give more weight that this is some sort of respiratory distress rather than any kind of normal chick behavior. Good news is that you have not noticed any other sign of illness...so the hope is that it is a mild form of something that the chicks immune system is fighting off.

    I still recommend isolating it from the rest until you figure things out and make sure it truly is nothing important as viral and bacterial infections can quickly spread through the whole flock. (http://www.localharvest.org/blog/26992/entry/common_chicken_diseases_and_symptoms It might be wise to give all the chicks some electrolyte/vitamin mix in water along with Apple Cider Vinegar in another water to help boost their immune systems if something is going through the flock. (It won't help with bacterial infections but will help with viral.)

    I have one hen that has CRD that is triggered by dust. I make a point to help her keep out of the dust and periodically feed the birds Rooster Booster Multi-Vitamin Wormer which has Hygromycin B and Bacitracin that help with CRD.

    I truly don't mean to alarm unnecessarily, nor be pessimistically persistent (as I can't see your chick and its actual behavior), nor obnoxiously opinionated, but merely pass along a hard lesson I learned when I ignored seemingly harmless behavior because I didn't understand it as a potential symptom (at the sad result to my flock).

    Wishing you the best,
    Lady of McCamley
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
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  10. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the information! She is isolated now and I will keep her away from the others and watch her. I have been giving her Poly-Vi-Sol due to an issue with her hock joints (which is slowly improving) so I am wondering if this one is just a weak chick or something? I got this batch from someone who hatched out eggs from a hatchery. They are English Orpingntons. On top of her health issues, when I have put her with my other ladies all she wants to do is peck their eyes and start fights. :/ I am starting to wonder if it is worth it at this point! I am worried about the health of my other birds. Is the rooster booster something that you give once a month or what? Does it help prevent a variety of issues? Thanks!!
     

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