head and breath smell like ammonia? Should I be concerned?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Bocktobery 10, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Songster

    Oct 8, 2010

    Just spent about an hour searching for an answer. I'm hoping that someone here might recognise what this is and help me out.

    This evening after a very hot day I noticed that both my Barred Rock's heads and breaths smelled very badly like ammonia but different. It almost smells a bit like burning plastic. The scent is very strong and disgusting... enough to make me gag and not want to smell it again. My nose burned.. and still is burning from the smell. My stomach also feels sick even after smelling it. I've been looking through my chicken health books and also this website to try and find is this is serious. I have not noticed any other symptoms from either of them (nor the rest of my flock). They seem fine otherwise. I free range my chickens. I am worried they got into something they should not have or maybe this is a symptom of something more serious.

    Can anyone help me with this? Are they ok or should I be concerned?

    Here is the write up for FYI:

    1) What type of bird , age and weight. Both are same age, one year. I do not know their weight, though one has always been small (and sickly- see other posts)
    2) What is the behavior, exactly. Head and breath smells harsh, disgusting... somewhat like ammonia (closest guess) and also like some types of old plastic being burned
    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? just noticed tonight
    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms? no.. smelled about two or three of my flock.. smelled ok
    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma. no
    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. Possibly the heat? It was a very very hot day today
    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. Grass, bugs, feed. I also fed them oats, yogurt, peas and watermelon today
    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. Their poop- all of them since yesterday or the day before has been slightly runny at times.. chalked it up to heat
    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? nothing, though may bring her in for a bit to look at her more closely
    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet? If serious, I will take to vet
    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help. no pictures!
    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use deep litter method using wheat straw, large 12 x 8 x 8 foot coop for (right now) 6 chickens (seventh chicken is in brooder coop with chicks)

    Thanks in advance to any replies... and I hope to hear something. Anyone else have smelled this on their chicken? Is there some action I should take to help her if needed?

  2. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Songster

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    Sounds like sour crop - that condition causes a foul smell from the beak. Here is a link to a thread with more information and treatment suggestions. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=430981 You can also search this site for more information. Many people on this site have dealt with this condition and there is a lot of great information on how to treat this.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  3. thegoldengirls

    thegoldengirls Songster

    Sep 12, 2009
    Central NY
    I agree with RhodeIslandRedFan... sounds like sour crop.
    Should be something you can treat if you check out the threads.

    Best of luck to you!

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