Chicken Face color

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sydneychook, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. sydneychook

    sydneychook Hatching

    Jan 24, 2010
    One of our Brahmas has gotten very pale in the face and comb. The other Brahma hen and Buff Orpington hen & rooster are very bright red. In addition to being pale she now is developing purplish areas on her face.

    About 4 months ago she developed the same paleness (without the purple), was lethargic, her tail drooped, and she walked with her legs very stiff. In checking her we noticed she had completely broken off one nail somehow. We thought she had perhaps lost some blood we hadn't noticed. We gave her antibiotics and vitamins and she recovered, probably mostly because the pain went away.

    Now we see nothing else wrong with her. No mites or other pests on her. It rarely freezes here and their coop is heated if it does. She did eat a slug once and we read somewhere that slugs could give chickens worms. She eats well and even knocks the dominant Orpington hen out of the way to get her favorite snacks. Her breath smells fine. Any ideas or experiences are appreciated.

    Pale chicken

    The other healthy Brahma
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010

  2. The Chickens' Maid

    The Chickens' Maid Songster

    May 2, 2009
    How old is she? Is her face always that droopy? Could she be dehydrated? Offhand, the purple looks like bruising; maybe the others are pecking at it?
  3. sydneychook

    sydneychook Hatching

    Jan 24, 2010
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    All 4 chickens will be two in April. My wife was holding her so she looks a little more relaxed and droopy than normal in this picture. She seems to be drinking well, hasn't lost weight, and her feathers look fine. Pecking doesn't seem to be a problem. If the Orpington does give her an occasional peck it's a harmless one in the vent. The Brahmas sleep together on a separate roost and they don't peck each other. She is shaking her head a little more than usual. Otherwise she's pretty normal.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  4. wildorchid053

    wildorchid053 Songster

    May 12, 2009
    syracuse area, ny
    i would try worming her. maybe she has heart/circulation problems?
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010

  5. aveca

    aveca Songster

    Jun 30, 2009
    Waverly, NY
    Does look like heart , circulation problem. Doesnt appear to be any nasal or eye discharge, thou her eye doesnt look as bright as the other bird, has she done any coughing?Poor girl. My mom had a red sex link do same thing last summer, she was 12 yrs old. she got to the point where she wouldnt roost up with the others so we just made her a nice comfy hay pile on the floor.that she loved .
    Could be one of many things, the stiff walking is interesting. Have you looked inside her beak to see if any leisons ect...? If one had a vitamine A deficiency then all would have it so wouldnt be that.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  6. tigerlilly2588

    tigerlilly2588 In the Brooder

    Jul 8, 2009
    I know its a long shot but are you sure she doesn't have any mites, her lack of color could mean she is anemic. If she does have some kind of parasite, they could be stealing the iron from her red blood cells. If so she might need a little extra TLC. Vet Rx is a great product. Also I would try giving her Gatorade/Pedalite and some scrambled eggs. Its just a thought anyway, hope she gets to feeling better![​IMG]
  7. sydneychook

    sydneychook Hatching

    Jan 24, 2010
    Thanks for the ideas everyone.

    Aveca reminded me that since Addie broke her nail off she hasn’t roosted on her own. I even cut the height of the roost in half (it’s about 2’ high now) and she still won’t jump up there. We put her on the roost every night and she’s there in the morning. She does get down on her own.

    I’ve ordered the Vet Rx and we’ve been making our own Gatorade, we call it ‘Chickenade’, with a product called Durvet Vitamins & Electrolytes.

    We’ll look into eye worms and identifying them. She is shaking her head. I also found a vet that will check her for worms but we have to bring her in for an office visit ‘$$’ before they’ll do it. I’m not sure I’m ready to drive a chicken 10 miles in a cat carrier. [​IMG]

  8. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing Premium Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    Hi sydneychook! Welcome to Backyard Chickens!!

    A hens comb and face turning pale is usually either a decrease in hormones, or illness, but I dont know what would cause the purplish tone.
    Is your girl still laying?
    Is she molting?
  9. sydneychook

    sydneychook Hatching

    Jan 24, 2010
    Thanks for the reply eggchel.

    She’s not currently laying and the healthy Orpington isn’t either. The other Brahma, Sydney, surprised us and started laying again Jan. 1st.

    They all molted in the fall and all have great looking feathers. Addie seems fine except for the head shaking and comb color. She runs around and doesn’t seem to have breathing problems.

    It’s so hard to guess what’s wrong. Our cat’s vet that has a flock of 10 hens says you just have to treat the symptoms and hope for the best. Is there something that would treat both grape worm and eye worm? How is eye worm diagnosed? How does a chicken get grape worm? A Google search doesn’t turn up much about that. Also, how would we treat ear mites?

  10. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    That is very worrisome, the color looks like a very ill bird. Pale is usually anemia. She is both pale + purple/blue splotches. The purple areas could be bruising or poor circulation. You can tell the difference between the two by pressing on it. If the purple doesn't disappear when you press- it is probably a bruise. Bruising could be trauma, but usually when they get pecked- they get a scab. So I am thinking bruising. Bruising with no trauma implies lack of clotting- so for chickens I would guess she has liver problems. Could be fatty liver, or something infectious (there are lots)- viral and bacterial, visceral gout. Poor circulation can also be caused by a variety of chronic illnesses- various organ. Honestly- if this particular bird is important to you- I would get an exotics vet involved that can do fecal and bloodwork. If your flock is more important than this one bird, I would seriously consider having the state lab do a necropsy. Looks enough like some of the more unpleasant infectious problems, that I would want to know for sure that it is NOT. My guess is fatty liver or visceral gout though. Unfortunately, neither is terribly treatable or has a good outcome. Home necropsy for those last two is doable, but for the infectious things- you need a path lab.

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