gagging chicken and refusal to go in the coop *Update* She died.

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9 Years
Mar 12, 2012
Middle Georgia
I don't know what is going on with my chickens. Went to lock them up tonight and found two huddled up next to the fence and one under a bush. It was after dark and they are always in the coop after dark. The one under the bush was drooling a lot, keeps gagging and wheezing. Her chest is puffed up. I checked her throat and didn't see anything. Her crop felt pretty empty but I turned her upside down and rubbed it. Nothing but more gagging happened. I put her in a cat carrier in my bathroom. So that's my first problem.

I put the other two chickens in the coop. They immedietly jumped out and tried to leave the pen. When I shut them in the pen, they went to the farthest corner and cuddled up together. I can't help but think something is wrong with them too. I checked the coop to see if anything was in there, but didn't see anything but my last 3 chickens trying to sleep. All this on top of the strange bumps, scrapes, and cuts on their legs. I'd really appreciate some help. I wish I could find a vet that made house calls.
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Do you have a rodent problem? They don't want to be in the coop>must be something getting at them. Rats or mites or.... a bad chicken. Gagging is not good. Sounds like they are sick. At night their crops should be full, in the morning empty. something(s) is def wrong.
I know there's something wrong, just can't figure out what it is. We have seen an occasional mouse in the garage, which is next to the coop, but so far have not seen evidence that they are in the coop. My husband has traps set up in the garage and so far we've only caught two in the past few months, so I can't imagine it's a big problem. Ants, on the other hand, are a problem and that's what I was suspecting at first. I fight them back with some powder in & around the coop, which helps for a few days before more come marching in. But if there was such a problem with the coop, wouldn't the other three be huddled up with the two outside the coop? I thought the gagging chicken had a crop problem at first because of the fluffed up feathers, until I felt her. Strange that it's pretty empty considering that I saw her eat some early today. I've seen the full crops at night and the emptier ones in the morning, so I'm worried about this as well. I just don't understand how everything can be going pretty well and then all of a sudden, they're all sick... I'm going to call a vet in the morning and hope something can be done.
I couldn't see anything in her throat and I thought with that one kind of worm, you would see them if you looked?

This morning she's still gagging and choking. Her inside of her mouth is covered in mucus. She's refusing food and water. I'm having 0 luck contacting a vet that will see her. Btw, that vet in Fort Valley GA on the list won't see chickens, so that probably needs to be updated. The one in Macon doesn't open until 8, so I'll find out then if they do. If they don't, I've called every vet in the Warner Robins, Fort Valley, Macon area and none will see chickens, if anyone gets in a situation like this and needs one. As for the chickens in the coop, they all seem fine this morning.
None of the vets on the middle georgia vet list will see chickens. The guy in Macon did talk to me though and offer advice. He said give her the powder antibiotics, worm her, and hope for the best. They didn't have the antibiotics at Tractor Supply so I got something called Vet Rx, Waxine, some electrolites, and some probiotics. Figured if I threw enough stuff at her maybe something would work. Of course she won't drink so I'm trying my best to squirt a little water at a time down her throat. Most of it's just dripping out, but hopefully I'm getting some in. We figured out the leg issue might be wood mites, so I got some vaseline to rub on their legs as well.
Wazine won't get any worms but roundworms. They sure do sound like something got at them, though when in the coop. And with the odd scratches, they could easily have an infection from a rat or other animal bite. Get those antibiotics in them asap. VetRX won't do it.
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I am so sorry to hear what you are going through - it is so very frustrating when NO Vet is available to help - you are doing all possible to help yours - we are having major problems with Rats at the moment - we will poison them but it is so very difficult with our chickens, ducks and geese - we cannot put poison down in any areas where our fowl can access!

We have had very few eggs of late too - we suspect the rats are taking the eggs too - today at least we found one huge rat dead in the courtyard leading to the goose compound.....we are having problems with the chickens not wanting to enter their coop - this may well be related to the rat problems.

As an aside - some of our chickens are showing signs of damage to their feet - we found one of ours dead with dreadful injuries to her head and a massive hole in her side - she was in the coop at the time - we initially suspected her coop mates were responsible but we feel that rats are now responsible for the damage!

Best of luck!

Thank you Galanie. I had read online that you should start with Wazine and then do a stronger wormer two weeks later in case they have a bad infestation. I've only had the chickens since March and this is my first experience with chickens, so I'm kind of learning as I go. I will check the other Tractor Supply for the antibiotics tomorrow and if not, then I'll order some online. I really don't want to go through this with another chicken. It was pretty horrible.

Thank you Suzie. We have only ever seen one rat and my husband killed it, so I'm doubting it's a rodent problem. I will have him check out the garage again, but he does tend to keep a close eye on it. I am sorry you are having such a hard time with rodents. :p I would probably freak out if I saw my chicken all ate up. One got bit by a dog, not even very badly, and I was still upset. You don't think about these things when you're picking out the cute little fuzzballs at the store. We're pretty sure the leg problems are mites of some sort. They look just like the pics of scaly leg mites. I gave them a rub down of vasaline and I'm going to see how that goes. Just seems like when it rains it pours. They've been fairly healthy and happy up until this point.

This other thought also occured to me today. We have a pear tree with some pears down on the ground. Wasps fly around it and I wonder if maybe she got stung by the wasp, causing a reaction. I know it might be stretching, but I truly hope it was a one chicken problem and not a whole flock problem. I thought I should note that the pears are being picked up. I usually leave a few for the chickens to eat, but now the wasps are getting pretty bad.
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