Clear, thick discharge from beak - Hyper-salivation?

May 29, 2019
445
524
171
Southwest VA
Hi all, today while I was free ranging my hens, I noticed my 19 month old Barred Rock chicken had her mouth open and was acting as though she were about to sneeze. She'd keep it open for a second, then forage for a second, lift her head up and open her beak, and repeat. Initially I thought she simply got something down the wrong pipe for a second and needed to sneeze (I've seen this happen before). But then I noticed strings of thick, clear discharge between her upper and lower beak, and some coming out of one of her nares.

When I went to pick her up she was feisty (she was not happy to have her foraging interrupted). I wiped what I could from the sides of her beak and nare--it was saliva-like but thicker, a little foamy in parts, and clear. Once I put her down she went right back to foraging and eating, and she no longer was frequently opening her beak as if to sneeze. Her crop is full, and she's still eating and running around. I didn't notice any rattling or raspy breathing sounds, bad odors, nor any further discharge since clearing her the first time. Her eyes are bright and clear, and comb is bright red.

What could this have been/what should I be on the look out for? Is it possibly a one-off? Do chickens hypersalivate if they have trouble getting something down? Or was it a really slimy slug (I had a hen get a big mucusy glob stuck to her beak from one but it wasn't as clear)? Or, could it be respiratory? Also, any best practices for supportive care/to prevent further issues? THANK YOU!
 

Isaac 0

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Premium Feather Member
Jul 19, 2016
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This was posted yesterday, so if you're seeing improvement today, it's possible she ate something slimy like a snail or something such as a Cane/marine toad. I have had a few chickens eat slugs, and snails and the mucous can cover the choanal slit which can cause some open-mouth breathing.

If she's still acting the same, producing discharge, it's hard to tell what it could be, but crop problems/reproductive disorder/worms might be a good guess, as well as a respiratory disease.

Tomorrow morning, I would pick her up, and gently palpate her crop area to make sure it's empty, and not full. Palpating her abdominal area to make sure there is no distention going on, and checking inside her mouth for any lesions are plaques more thoroughly would be good.

Pictures of her feces and pictures/video of the hen herself may be helpful for folks.
 
May 29, 2019
445
524
171
Southwest VA
@416bigbore @Isaac 0 @azygous she's since shown no signs of any issues. Since cleaning off the muck, I haven't seen it since and she's been quite happily eating, drinking, laying, and scratching about. I assumed it was maybe a one-off since even while her beak was all covered and she was open-mouth breathing, she was still adamant about scratching around and grabbing bugs and grass like nothing was wrong. I was just concerned because the amount was crazy!

I'll check her crop tomorrow to be sure, but I think it's safe to assume she had trouble getting something down or ate a snail or something icky. (Knock on wood)

Thank you everyone for your two cents!
 

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