Chicken having breathing problems

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chicks Galore3, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

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    My BO Daffodil was standing right in front of the coop door (As usual)vand was all puffed up. This doesn't concern me because everybody is trying to keep warm. However, whenever she would exhale she would stick out her neck and open her mouth. If you held her close she sounds a tad like Darth Vader. Is there something wrong with her? She is one of my favorites. :( Could the cold be getting to her? They are in a well ventilated, draft, free coop. No heatlamp It's 12 degree, feels like -8. It has been colder.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds bad, whatever it is. Since she's ruffled up too, not just gasping or wheezing or gurgling or whatever, I dare say it's an illness not an accidentally inhaled seed husk or piece of grass for example. But I may be wrong.

    Is she eating normally? Does she seem hurt at all or is it just the breathing issue?

    Personally I'd be giving her raw freshly minced garlic in something like hard boiled egg to support her and probably hydrogen peroxide in the water to flush out any deep respiratory infections, but there's no reason you can't do that alongside an artificial antibiotic too, if you think it is necessary.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

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    Thank you,chooks4life. I separated Daffodil from the others and she is still alive, but alt breathing funky. She is eating and drinking and willingly eats the garlic. At first she had problems pooping but now shareable to do that. Sometimes her breathing is fine and she acts normally and sometimes she sits down and breathes really squeakily. It seems if she gets excited,that is when her breathing acts up. For example,two days ago she was looking a lot better so I let her out to roam the barn for a little bit while I tidied her pen. She enjoyed that! However another chicken into the barn and Daffodil completely flipped out and attacked her. Her breathing really was heavy and raspy after that. I'm not sure what to do or what's wrong.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    My experience with chickens with breathing difficulties has been very, very bad. Unless there's a discharge of mucous, you probably can rule out an infection. You don't state Daffodil's age. Sometimes older chickens succumb to cancer, where tumors grow in the organs, eventually making breathing difficulties obvious.

    After I got a necropsy done on the third chicken to die this way, I learned the flock is carrying the avian leukosis virus, something similar to Marek's.

    So, it doesn't bode well for Daffodil, although she may improve and behave pretty much normally before she dies, if that's the direction it's going for her.

    If she does die, I highly recommend getting a necropsy so you will know how the rest of the flock could be affected, and maybe there's something you can do to prevent them getting sick, too. it's very important to freeze or chill the body until you can get it to a lab. It's relatively inexpensive.
     
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  5. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

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    She will be 3 in April and never has been the healthiest chicken.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    'Never been the healthiest chicken' does sound like maybe your flock is carrying something (almost all flocks are anyway) and this is merely the most susceptible bird you have. Some diseases are only obvious by the 'tail', of birds or animals ranging in condition from great to poor. The longer the range, i.e. the longer the tail, the more likely it is you have chronic disease.

    To me, going from the symptoms you described, it sounds like progressive respiratory disease and whatever its cause, she will need help to survive, if you're not the 'cull and replace' type that is. (Not judging you if you are, just discussing possibilities). Even with help, birds with respiratory disease are still high risk cases. Hydrogen peroxide is very, very helpful in shifting deep seated and aggressive respiratory infections, I can't recommend it highly enough for that. It's saved my life and the lives of some of my animals.

    I agisted my chooks and they came back with two hens with respiratory disease. So far, I've not found any real issues with it --- but my experience is certainly not the standard in that area! Most people do find it a terrible situation. (My two obvious respiratory-infection 'patients' both responded immediately to hydrogen peroxide. Doesn't mean they're not carriers, though, to err on the side of caution I assume they are).

    Respiratory disease in chickens, or any birds really, is pretty much as a rule serious indeed. Here's a few potential causes:
    Quote: Sometimes it's something as mild as having inhaled a seed husk (which can still kill them over time as infection develops) and sometimes it's a worst case scenario, a seriously contagious and virulent disease.

    I'm a big fan of breeding for resistance myself, but that's not for everyone. Certainly not ideal for the average flock keeper, it's a long term commitment and (if social responsibility matters to you and you interpret the meaning the same way I do) you won't be able to sell your birds on to anyone whose flock doesn't currently have the diseases yours carry, preferably the same strains too, and you have to be aware of biosecurity for the sake of others. (So no going and visiting other people with flocks while wearing the same shoes and clothes you just used on your own property, for example).

    According to the best estimates I've read, most non-commercial flocks carry a minimum of one, but often multiple, serious diseases to which they are resistant and while they often show no symptoms of what they carry it can wipe out susceptible flocks.

    Experts in the field reckon that if your flock hasn't tested free of Avian Leukosis Virus and Mareks' for example, two serious and very common diseases, you should assume you have them --- because chances are, you do.

    Despite the seriousness of many diseases and their ability to wipe out susceptible individuals anywhere they encounter them, overall population losses are quite minor, as most birds are already resistant. Studies done as far back as the 1960's showed it's very easy and rapidly achievable to breed for resistance --- or susceptibility. Unfortunately many people do the latter. While I did eradicate the most susceptible lines I carried, I have also found it's very easy to breed for resistance.

    None of this is intended to make you take your bird's illness less seriously obviously, just to lessen any potential doomsday perception which I feel is unwarranted, as serious as the situation may be. Some people find the inevitable discussion of permanent disease carrier status very depressing, distressing or disheartening, but the reality of it is that it's the norm, not the exception. Most people just don't know it, is all.

    If I had a dollar for every chook that 'died of old age' while still young, I'd be a billionaire, and that's no exaggeration. ;)

    Many people swear black and blue their flocks have never had disease issues --- and come up with interesting reasons for every loss they've ever had. Many people plain don't want to know, and those are the biggest vectors of disease there are.

    Anyway, if you want to get them tested, that's the best way to be sure.

    Good luck and best wishes.
     
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  7. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

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    Let me explain the "never been the healthiest chicken" thing. She was slow developing, slow minded, and just very different from the rest of my chickens. Fragile but spunky.I'm not sure how to explain it. My chickens have had Cocci once, and mites twice. Daffodil always gets hits the hardest. Awhile ago she dropped A LOT of weight and her feathers were all ratty and she often lost her balance/looked like she was going to tip over though she acted like nothing was wrong. None of the other chickens showed any signs of anything being wrong. Eventually she gained back her weight and looks very healthy now, even though she's still a little tipsy. What you said makes a lot of sense. I haven't had my chickens tested for anything, and am not sure how to go about doing it. Can you explain how you use hydrogen peroxide? Nope, not a cull and replace person. :) I am willing to do just about anything for her.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  8. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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  9. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

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    Wow, that's a lot for my brain to digest! :p What you said about your ISAbrowns made me curious. I have (Er, had.) 4 Gold Stars who died a month or two right after each other, starting around 1 1/2 years old. No apparent reason, they got lethargic and raspy breathing, and died within 24 hours. 1 had a gimpy foot from about 4 months old. Except 1, who is almost 3 and is fit as a fiddle. She looks different from her sisters - way bigger and hardier. My chickens have had one or two "phases" where everybody gets ratty feathers and their head feathers fall out. It usually happens during the winter. They were doing good so far this winter but one of my BSL (from a different seller then my gold stars and daffodil) is showing a hint of rattiness. No signs of picking or pecking - I culled the bullies and gave them an omega-3 supplement that has been doing wonders on their health. Wondered if this has any connection. I'll have to check into testing.
     
  10. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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