Chicken exhibiting labored exhalation


6 Years
Apr 24, 2013
San Diego
My 6 month old black austrolorp has been exhibiting what I can best describe as labored exhalation for the past few days. She has also been sneezing intermittently. When I pick her up, she doesn't appear to be in any pain. Just this unusual bellowing sound. She is scratching, pecking, eating and drinking normally, although yesterday when I gave the flock (4 girls) yogurt for the first time she appeared to eat the most, making me think that she was hungry and not eating her normal pellets due to obstruction or sore throat. There is no foul smell when I look in her mouth, and no discharge from eyes or beak. Crop/vent appears normal. She has not started to lay yet. None of the other girls have any symptoms, and none of them have been wormed (all droppings appear normal). I am at a loss for what to do as I know these things can go downhill quickly, and I would like to be proactive and avoid a vet visit. Could this be respiratory disease or worms of some sort? If so, what medication would I use? Thanks in advance.
Crud! It's is happening to my young hen, too. She was being shunned by her flock, so my husband and I adopted her. She looked and behaved as a completely healthy hen, but the others' avoidance of her did raise my concern...we only have two other hens, so I knew at least she would be happier with us. But....yesterday in the afternoon she started the honking labored breathing and kept it up thru the night, so I brought her in the bathroom and set up hospital for her there. She was not as loud as the night progressed, but she was still laboring. She ate this morning, and she shows no other signs of illness...her droppings looked fine, too. I don't know if she will be alive when I get home, but my vet thinks it could be worms...slow to develop into a big problem, or a respiratory issue. Depressing. I'm sure you've cruised the web and found other honking hen videos...heartbreaking. Good luck to you. I'm going to give in and get meds for my hens instead of waiting to try home remedies in emergency situations.
Just watch her. If she continues to sneeze and it doesn't appear to be caused by dust she might be getting a respiratory disease, such as infectious bronchitis or MG. If others develop this in the next few days that should confirm it. If no other symptoms such as swollen eyes or face, thick nasal drainage, or bubbles in the eyes, I would hold off treating, but if they do, I would treat with Tylan or other antibiotics. Here is a list of diseases and symptoms:
Thank you for the replies. I am going to go ahead and get some antibiotics just in case. I am suspecting that she may have some respiratory illness as it has been unusually hot and humid here in San Diego for the past few weeks and fear that the stress of the heat may have brought something dormant out.
Returned home yesterday and all the girls were sneezing. Louise (australorp) had no change in her breathing. Administered Vet rx to all their nostrils and this morning it appears to be helping. Louise's breathing is not as labored as past days. Purchased tylan to keep on hand should other sxs arise. Elismom, how is your girl doing?
It's always good to have Tylan on hand. I lost a little cockerel last week to similar symptoms, but I didn't have tylan and Tractor Supply did not have it. I didn't have any other sick birds, but I decided to order it anyway, just in case. Got it in the mail yesterday- then today my favorite hen comes up sick with the same respiratory symptoms. I'm giving Tylan shots. Hoping it helps. Good luck with your birds. VetRX is like miracle juice, for minor stuff! It certainly seems to be keeping my hen's breathing a little less congested.
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