Chick with inflated chest?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by smaug, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. smaug

    smaug New Egg

    Apr 19, 2011
    I have a five week old Isa brown chick with some strange symptoms that I can't seem to match with anything I'm finding via Google. The best I can describe is it's as if she has a balloon inflated in her chest, though I don't know if it's air or fluid, my best guess would be that it is just air though. She has been like this for, maybe, two weeks and is getting steadily worse. At first I thought it was just her puffing out her breast feathers, and even though the feathers stay constantly puffed out, there's obviously a size difference in her chest cavitity and that of the others. The breast is probably two or three times the size of the other chick's, but it isn't flesh.

    She otherwise appears to be fine, she's alert and talkative, she eats and drinks and her droppings look normal. She doesn't appear to be in pain, but she does sleep a lot. I think the size of her chest makes it difficult for her to walk because she's pretty top heavy, but she can waddle, and roost.

    None of the other chicks are exhibiting similar symptoms and are all very well, though I have her isolated. All chicks have been on a medicated feed from a local supplier, and the hatchery I bought them from (Townline) vaccinated them for Mareks. I clean the bedding, which is pine shavings, weekly.

    I haven't done anything else for her right now, no idea what to do. I called the vet but they don't work with chickens. :( Any ideas?

    (Edit: I'm not sure it's an impacted or sour crop because she is eating and passing normally and is not emaciated.)
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011
  2. Lacrystol

    Lacrystol Hatching Helper

    Jun 13, 2009
    Diamond, Ohio
    Never had an experience like that with any of mine, I would try massaging it. If it's air perhaps the massage will help the air pockets move up or down and decrease the large chest. Is her breathing OK. try listening closely to see if you hear any wheezing but I would definitely start with the massage. i had a chick that I know got something stuck in his crop and i massaged it and could feel it moving downwards. Is the enlargement in her chest or where the food is stored? if she's not showing anyother signs, I'm not sure what else I could tell you. Look her over for any markings perhaps, something got her and now it's swelled.. Sorry I couldn't be of any further assistant.
  3. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 19, 2010
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    I had a couple 5 week old babies that got cocci, and they did have inflated chests with what seemed like air also, but they had other symptoms, lethargy, not eating or drinking etc.... So it is hard to say what you may have.

    Check this link out;

    Hope this helps!
  4. smaug

    smaug New Egg

    Apr 19, 2011
    @Lacrystol I will try a little massage, thanks. [​IMG] I'm not entirely sure it's a crop issue though. Since she is eating and drinking normally and passing regularly without difficulty, she's getting nutrition and digesting. As a just in case measure though I did get some vegetable oil down with an eye dropper and had her vomit, but she only regurgitated the oil. After I cleaned her pen I put her back in with some fresh food and she immediately went to work on it. The inflation isn't immediately over the crop area, it's to both sides of the breast. I'm not a chicken expert so I'm not sure if there are air sacs in those areas or not, but that's what it feels and looks like. Her breathing seems fine, she peeps and chirps like the rest of the chicks and isn't wheezing.

    @WhiteMountainsRanch Haha, I actually looked over that link earlier today, thanks though! But, I couldn't find anything that felt definitive. Is it normal for chicks on medicated feed to still get cocci? I just did a quick search and one site's suggestions for prevention was to give medicated feed, which my chicks have been on the entire time I've had them. They've also been vaccinated against Mareks, and every week after a bedding change I give them an electrolyte boost with some added vitamins/minerals to help with the stress of all the handling and change.

    I'll continue to keep her isolated but should I worry that it's contagious if the others haven't exhibited any kind of symptoms?
  5. smaug

    smaug New Egg

    Apr 19, 2011
    Not a whole lot to report, but since I couldn't get a hold of the vet personally, my step-dad found a way to talk to him and he didn't have much to say either. Since the bird's breathing is fine and there's no discharge or sneezing/coughing, he just said to keep her isolated. My step-brother who also dabbles in chickens doesn't know what to say either. We both kind of think it might be a genetic defect.

    She's still drinking and eating just fine, and I tried a little massage in that area too. I couldn't be 100% certain but I think she may have been making "burping" sounds as I was massaging, and she opened her mouth once or twice, though didn't seem like she was trying to vomit. I was being very careful to be extra gentle, so I decided not to continue in case those sounds might have been a bad sign. Like I said, I'm not an expert, but after looking at some diagrams of chicken anatomy it doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. Is it possible that she could have a lot of air in the crop, that doesn't affect digestion?
  6. nelbell78

    nelbell78 New Egg

    Aug 8, 2014
    Hi, I realise this is a very old post but I have a chick that is 4 days old with this problem and can't find anything about it online. Did your chick survive?
  7. VillaRosaAcres

    VillaRosaAcres Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 29, 2015
    Southeast Iowa
    I know this is an old threas but wanted to let you know how helpful it was. I have a show Silkie pullet who had been doing this, also diagnosed with cocci, so hopefully after treatment is finished she will clear up! Thank you!

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