Heavy breathing Rhode Island Red

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CrystalClear, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. CrystalClear

    CrystalClear Hatching

    Apr 7, 2016
    My RIR hen "Rita" is 4 or 5 years old. I almost lost her about 2 years ago to an unknown sickness. She went from about 5 lbs to less than 2 lbs. I was able to nurse her back to health (the trick was live mealworms from Petsmart) and now she is one of the heaviest hens I have. Her molt at the end of 2015 went perfectly and she has nice shiny feathers, healthy looking bright red comb, and lively eyes. Rita is very active, she can and will run, she bosses most of the other hens around, and she eats well. I've noticed for a few weeks now she is breathing loudly/heavily compared with the other hens. I have a feeling it could be age related. She stopped laying about 8 months to a year ago, and some of the hens that she came with as a chick have already passed away from natural causes. I clean the coop every 1.5 to 2 weeks with a full change out of nest hay and shavings for bedding. None of the other hens show any signs of illness (there are 7 total). Anyone have any thoughts of what Rita might be suffering from?
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    There are many chicken illnesses as I have learned here on BYC. Some we never know until after death from doing a necropsy. A couple of things I can think of which might be a problem are possible internal laying with ascites which is a fluid buildup in the lower belly, causing labored breathing. Fluid can be removed periodically with an 18 gauge needle to relieve pressure. Another possibility could be fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome. Fatty liver is common in overweight hens, and there is a decrease in laying. A vet may be able to diagnose what is wrong.

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