Help Needed!!! My chicken is gasping for air :(

TheDuckLover

Chirping
Dec 15, 2018
20
30
57
Hi. So my about 3 year-old Blue Orpington (which I'm not sure is the breed, largely resembles them but got her as a gift) is suddenly gasping for air. I've been out of town for the past two days, and on the first I asked my mother to check up o my chickens and then a friend to on the second day. When I got back and was rounding up my flocks (my friend let them out during the morning, then after I got home I round them up as the sun sets), and I found my baby Ash (the sick chicken). I didn't recognize her at first because I have some other grayish chickens and Ash normally runs right up to me, but she didn't and I immediately knew something was wrong. She was standing there and gasping for air (making this heart breaking gasping noise every time she does also). This was about 30-15 minutes ago, and right now I'm in my house keeping a very close eye on her. I'm suspecting Chicken Respiratory Disease or Gapeworm. I keep my coops very clean, they're on a chicken-tractor I move around every week. Also, none of the other chickens seem to have symptoms. But what's really weird is that she doesn't have a loss of appetite (which I was really worried about), she doesn't have any discharge, and was fine in the morning I'm assuming. My mother and friend have grown up around livestock, know when something was wrong and would've told me. I'm assuming this was sudden. Another this is that the town I live in has been getting some really weird weather. Yesterday, it was in the 50-40's while today it's summer hot. This has been happening all month, and something my mother told me is that the sudden change in temp could be the cause. Since I've had her, I've been giving her meal worms. She didn't eat the regular food (which I can just roll my eyes at because they are spoiled rotten chickens), but immediately stole my bag of meal worms. I've been mixing her food with meal worms, and she's been eating. I've put some meal worms in Gatorade (for the electrolytes) so she will drink willingly (which is working). But she's still gasping, and it's still keeping my paranoid. She's also just a tad bit lethargic, but immediately brightens up when she sees the meal worm bag. What do y'all think? Have you seen anything like this? If you have, do you know of any treatments/cure?
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Right now this minute, look into her throat. There may be something blocking her airway. Look for anything you might be able to grasp with a tweezers and pull out. Look for any gummy plaque coating her throat blocking the airway. You will need to pull it away from her airway, even if it bleeds when you do it.
 

TheDuckLover

Chirping
Dec 15, 2018
20
30
57
I looked down earlier to see if I saw any gapeworms, and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. But I'm trying to do it again now that I know what else I'm looking for, but it may take a minute as she's definitely got her attitude back. Just a couple of minutes ago she didn't fight me when I tried to look at her, but now she is so I'm glad she's already gaining energy
 

TheDuckLover

Chirping
Dec 15, 2018
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30
57
Ok, just a tad bit of an update (family came in town for the holidays so I was forced to leave her). She pooped, which I was worried about because I didn't think it was egg bound but a friends suggested it might be. It's a solid poop from what I can tell, not pure liquid (just regular, and sorry for the graphic poop descriptions). Also, her gasping isn't as loud. I don't know if that's good or bad, but when I left you could hear her from across the room. But now it's almost silent, just if you are really close (holding her) you can hear it. But she's still gasping. She has the same amount of energy though, but has moments when she perks up and acts almost normal (but they are brief then she goes back to being lethargic). Also, when I left a bit, she had a sneezing fit, so I'm super worried about Gapeworm and CRD again. If you think it is that, do y'all have any suggestions on what I can treat her with? I've been giving her electrolytes and food, but I would like to know if you know something that I could get for her at my local Tractor's Supply or something. Thank you in advance :)

(Also, I tried my absolute hardest to look down her throat. I spent the entire time before I had to leave with my cousin fighting to open her mouth to look in her throat. When I looked for gapeworms, she didn't fight, but now she is fighting me. I'll continue to try, but she is very opposed to the idea)
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,357
38,392
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Threads such as yours are not uncommon here. Almost all are frantic and worried sick. Nearly all assume gape worm, which is actually pretty uncommon.

The way most of these threads end is with the situation clearing up overnight as whatever was lodged in the trachea has resolved itself. I'm willing to bet one dollar cash American money that this will also happen in your case.
 

TheDuckLover

Chirping
Dec 15, 2018
20
30
57
Yeah, it hurts everything in me to hear her gasping, as she is one of the sweetest chickens you'll find. I really hope it does, and I don't know if her gasping getting quieter is good or not, but I might just wait till tomorrow night to asses it. I've just had so many chickens die throughout my life without anything I can do, the moment I see one act up, it's like I'm trying to fight death. But to pray and wait it out like you said I now think would be best. Pardon my pun, but it's just the mother hen instinct in me
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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38,392
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I have a hen who once choked on a cherry tomato. Her trachea was totally blocked by it and she couldn't breathe. She panicked, ran around hysterically and finally keeled over in front of me. She would have died if I hadn't picked her up and shook her and dislodged the tomato. That happened when she was maybe four years old. She's now going on twelve.

What I want to reassure you about is that if your hen couldn't breathe, she would be hysterical. Her comb would turn blue. She would be flapping her wings like crazy.

As long as she's behaving normally, the obstruction is likely no more serious than you would feel if you had a little mucous caught in your throat. These small obstructions almost always resolve during the night while the chicken is relaxed and asleep.

I could be wrong. But I think you'd see signs of trouble if this were getting worse.
 

TheDuckLover

Chirping
Dec 15, 2018
20
30
57
Thank you everyone for your help! So I'm glad to say that she has definitely improved, even from last night. I've been feeding her Gatorade (through a syringe) and tempting her with mealworms. Yesterday, she only pooped around twice, but today she's pooping regularly, emptying her water, and eating her feed (while searching for the mealworms I hid in it). While she was gasping and raising her head for air earlier, she is now barley opening her mouth to breathe. I'm so pleased with her progress, I'm sure in a couple of days she'll be back in the flock :)

Thank you again for all of your sympathy, comfort, and suggestions!! :love
 

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