Gaping Chicken

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by OrpingtonHopeful, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. OrpingtonHopeful

    OrpingtonHopeful Songster

    May 17, 2009
    All of our hens are 1 yr old BO gals. We started with 4- Healthy as horses.

    A couple months ago one of our hens died without symptom. Down to 3.

    In response to this death I wormed first with Wazine, then 2 weeks later with 1% injectible Ivermectin (under the brand name Endo-Mectin) mixed 6 cc to 1 gallon of water in their only waterer for 2 days. This was now three weeks ago.

    I use food grade DE in the coop bedding, which is pine shavings. I have ALWAYS done this.

    It has been HOT here and all my gals have been panting, wings slightly splayed. I have a large box fan blowing through their run and have been adding ice to their waterer to keep the water cool. Yesterday I added a under-the bed rubbermaid stoarge container filled with water- it is big enough that they could play in it, but not drown- if they were at all inclined...

    Two days ago I noticed one of my girls (Charlotte) gaping every few minutes. I picked her up- Her crop felt empty. I couldn't feel any blockage. She did not gape while I held her. She is NOT gurgling. No vomitus. Her comb and waddles are bright and plump. She eats well when allowed to range and has been enjoying cold yogurt, strawberries, lettuce, corn on the cob, fresh peaches, and bell peppers as treats. There is free choice oyster shell in the coop. She runs to me to get treats and eats them from my hands.

    All of my girls have a little bit of messy feathers visible under their vent. Charlotte laid an egg with such a thin shell that it cracked when I collected it 3 days ago. She usually lays very thick shelled, chalky, bumpy eggs. I figured that the change to the thin shell was due to all the heat/panting. She has laid one normal egg since, but no egg yesterday.

    I have noticed an occassional sneeze from each of the girls and one hen (Lucy) has slightly off-colored, purplish comb. These gals used to look like they'd been to the spa, but now we have slightly messy bottoms and despite molting recently (it was a slow molt, perhaps yet not done??), their feathers look a bit worn and broken on the top of their back down by their tails.

    So my question- Was my worming method insufficient? Do I have gapeworm here? If so, can I use a few drops of the Ivermectin straight into their mouths? I know this stuff is meant for pigs and cattle, so I don't want to poison them, but I don't have the oil based kind to be used externally and I don't know that putting it in the waterer worked.

    Is there something else I should be doing? One gaping, all occassionally sneezing, another with purplish comb?

    What am I missing here?

    Thanks all, for all of your help and expertise!
  2. OrpingtonHopeful

    OrpingtonHopeful Songster

    May 17, 2009
    Forgot to add, we had almost no egg production for the 3-4 weeks of worming- I gave the wazine, discarded any eggs for the next 2 weeks, then followed with the ivermectin, again discarding eggs following treatment for a full 2 weeks- They were molting, 1 went broody, but I seriously had maybe a 1/2-1 dozen eggs in that month....

    egg production has picked up, but is still not at peak speed as it was a few months ago- Though I have heard they decline after their molt?
  3. crj

    crj Songster

    Dec 17, 2009
    Rocky Point, NC
    I believe it is due to the heat and humidity. I had a chicken that was the same way. She was very wet and dirty under her vent and belly. I cleaned her up. I noticed she sounded as if she was wheezing. Anytime my girls have a pastybutt I give them plain yogurt. This time the chicken didn't eat it. I knew something was wrong. I also massaged her crop. There was food in there but not much. She seemed to like that massage so that was a plus. I was hoping nothing went sour.

    I understand that chickens do get respitory problems. I cleaned her up and brought her into my kitchen. That's where she stayed overnight. I left yogurt in the cage along with some chick starter, blueberries and water. Easy foods for her to eat. Most of the time she just sat there. By the next morning she was feeling much better. Her breathing was better and she was eating. So, I let her out. She has been great ever since.

    It may be heat stroke or they just need a cool dry place to be for 24 hours.
  4. gaduke

    gaduke Songster

    Apr 20, 2009
    S.W. Kentucky
    Of couple of my chickens have been doing the same, i'm guessing cause of the heat, thats when it began, the temps have been in the low to mid 90's with high humidity for over a week now.
  5. DaughterOfEve

    DaughterOfEve Songster

    Sep 3, 2009
    Montague, MI
    Whenever my girls are stressed for whatever reason, I give nutridrench and extra protein. The extreme heat and humidity together will take their toll on the livestock. Do what you can to keep them cool, lots of water, some folks use a fan, make sure there is shade and ample ventilation in the coop.

    If the heat is NOT the issue, you may be looking for a tick and an internal parasite. There are natural remedies and preventatives for parasites you can google, but if it is a tick your just gonna have to find it.

    Dont know if this helps in your case or not. Best of luck.
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Most hens will stop laying during and after a moult til such time they get the urge to lay again, it's very stressful for them; add in the heat and humidity and we're lucky to get eggs at all. The ivermectin wouldve killed the gapeworms if they had them. You can get a Q-tip (this is a 2 person job) and very gently stick it one inch down the hens throat, gently swab and pull it out. If you see "Y" shaped red in color worms, you'll have your answer. I'd check for an obstruction in the throat first and it's possible to shine a flashlight there also to possibly see gapeworms...again, a two person job. I personally believe it's a heat issue and not gapeworm.

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