HELP : NH RED Hen : Ear Problem : Scratching/Irritable : 1.5 YRS OLD

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by JFK, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. JFK

    JFK Hatching

    Sep 14, 2017
    All, it seems best to just go through the suggested questions (that are posted at the top of this Forum):
    1. What type of bird, age and weight > 1 NH Red Chicken Hen, approximately 1.5 years old, has lost weight and is lighter than other sister-hen.
    2. What is the behavior, exactly. > Her behavior has changed since the symptoms have gotten worse. Skittish, Irritated. Has scratched feathers from neck trying to itch ears. Tilting head and opening mouth (almost like a deep swallow) periodically. Shaking head periodically.
    3. How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? > 3-4 weeks
    4. Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms? NO, not at this time. There is 1 other NH RED hen of the same age. There are 4 Rhode Island Reds (we got as chicks June 26th 2017). The 4 Rhode Island Reds are not fully integrated yet. They are in a separate living space inside the coop at night. They free-range in the day.
    5. Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma. > Other than feathers have been scratched away around neck area (see attached pics)... no bleeding, injury, broken bones, no equilibrium problems, and no other signs of trauma. There is Dry, grayish, brownish discharge around both ears. (see pics)
    6. What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. > Nothing that I know of. I have been researching chicken ear infections and ear mites... the symptoms don't sound like a match for what I have seen.
    7. What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. > Pellet food has been from Tractor Supply: Purina Organic Layer Pellets, 35 lb. and periodic veggie scraps and treats like watermelon, cucumber, etc. We do let them have some Tractor Supply chicken scratch occasionally. Also, what ever the Hen finds on the ground when she free-ranges. Only been drinking water. Hen does seem to be eating and drinking well/properly.
    8. How does the poop look? Normal for the most part. Maybe on a little on the runny side.
    9. What has been the treatment you have administered so far? None so far. I want to make sure I know what I'm dealing with before using any medication or treatment.
    10. What is your intent as far as treatment? Treat the hen myself.
    11. If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. All pics attached of Hen and her environment.
    12. Describe the housing/bedding in use. > Tractor Supply Co. Flake Premium Pine Shavings, Covers 8 cu. ft. I do change the coop bedding every 2-3 weeks and sometimes add fresh bedding in-between. When the coop is empty I spray straight white vinegar and let dry before adding new bedding material.
    13. Other > I checked for mites on new chickens and the Hen in question (around neck and vent area) and see NO signs of mites. I live in Southern New Hampshire.
    Thank you very much for you time and I hope to try to find an answer and treat soon. :)

    I will do my best to respond to any/all questions.

    By the way... her name is "Little Bitty" because she was smaller and feistier than the other chicks when we got her. :)

    Attached Files:

  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Hi @JFK :frow Welcome To BYC

    I would try to clean as much of the dirt/debris/discharge out of the ears as possible. First wipe it off the excess the best you can, then drop a few drops of Hydrogen Peroxide in the ear to help bubble up any gunk that's in there. Could be that she is scratching her ears and just got some dirt/mud, but if there is discharge it could be from ear mites or possibly some infection. Apply a small amount of triple antibiotic ointment to the ear. You may need to clean the ear a couple of times - vet care and assistance is always best when dealing with a chicken's ears.

    I can only assume the feather loss is due to the scratching. Even if you don't see active lice on her, she may have mites that are bothering her at night (mites live in the coop and crawl out at night, so usually during the day you wouldn't see them). It may be best to treat for an infestation - you can treat the chickens and their coop with a Permethrin base poultry spray or dust. Follow the label or retreat the chickens and coop again in 10-14days to kill any that may have hatched after the initial treatment.

    You mention she is eating/drinking well, then say only drinking water? Can you clarify this? Watch her to see that she is staying hydrated, offer some poultry vitamins. Having a fecal sample tested for worms would be a good idea as well.

    Keep us posted.
    JFK likes this.
  3. JFK

    JFK Hatching

    Sep 14, 2017
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your suggestions and taking the time to post a reply. It is very much appreciated. The mites at night makes sense. I do see her eating when we give her treats. I have not been seeing her staying hydrated though.

    Based on your suggestions I am going to do the following:
    • Treat ears of hen (in question) by first cleaning as much of the dirt/debris/discharge out of the ears as possible, then with few drops of Hydrogen Peroxide, and a small amount of triple antibiotic ointment to the ear. (I will do this a few times over the course of couple days)
    • I will also offer some poultry vitamins to the hen
    • Treat their coop with Permethrin base poultry spray or dust
    • Finally, I will retreat the chickens and coop again in 10-14days to kill any that may have hatched after the initial treatment
    • I will make sure they have good availability of new dirt for dust baths
    Many thanks again! (my heart smiles)
    Wyorp Rock likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: