Hen Gaping -- respiratory situation? Gapeworm? Cancer?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tofupup, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. tofupup

    tofupup Songster

    Mar 7, 2012

    These 3 hens are all in the "sick kennel" because they are showing the classic signs of cancer.

    The one in the middle started doing this gaping thing on and off today, and I'm wondering if I should treat her for a respiratory condition, or does this look like something else--- a polyp in throat, gapeworm maybe?

    The last hen who I had do this, I treated w/ Baytril. She died after a few weeks and a necropsy showed only cancer.

    I know this one is going to die, but I'd like to give her a nice few more months of life, if possible.

    Any thoughts? Thanks so much!

  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Birds gape like that when they adjust their crop, or yawn. I saw no signs of respiratory disease nor gapeworm.
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Why do you think they have cancer? Are you talking about internal laying? Your gaping hen looks like she may have something stuck in her throat or crop. She seems to be swallowing after she gapes, almost like she may have vomited a little. Could she have a n impacted or sour crop? Gapeworm looks a whole lot like a respiratory disease with almost continual gaping and gasping for air. I would check the crop (especially before she eats in the morning when it should be empty and flat.) I haven't treated many crop problems, but here is a good link on them: http://www.tillysnest.com/2012/01/crop-issues.html
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Along with what the other posters here have suggested, birds can yawn like that when planes fly over, thunder rumbles or even the sound of a lawn mower can cause them to do this. Air pressure changes can cause this yawning for some reason.
    1 person likes this.
  5. tofupup

    tofupup Songster

    Mar 7, 2012
    Well, the cancer diagnosis comes from the fact that every hen I've had with a swollen/lumpy/fluid abdomen, whom we drained, and who didnt' respond to antibiotics, died of cancer (necropsy showed only cancer). That is about ten hens, all who have died of cancer, and these three are exhibiting the exact same symptoms as my ten other dead cancer hens. I'm not thinking internal laying because the fluid that is drained is not cloudy, and also it doesn't respond to antibiotics.

    I thought this gaping might be more than just yawning because she makes a little peep/honk noise periodically, like something might be stuck in her throat. But if she doesn't do it tomorrow, then maybe I can just pass it off as a quirky, momentary yawn.


  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    This is very strange that you've had 10 hens with this condition and all have died. Where are you having the necropsies performed?
    Also, you didnt mention that the bird in the video "honks." I had the volume turned up on my computer and didnt hear anything.
    If the bird in the video dies, vertically slice her windpipe open and look for red "Y" shaped worms. Let us know what happens with her and your results.
  7. ten chicks

    ten chicks Songster

    May 9, 2013
    Ten hens dying of cancer is highly unusual,i am suspicious about this diagnoses,were these all confirmed diagnoses,or are you guessing? While hens are susceptible to reproductive cancers,you have had far too many,i am going to suggest there is something else going on.

    Is it in fact their abdomen,not their crop as in sour crop? With sour crop,their crop is squishy/fluid filled and they may exhibit this type of behavior.

    How many birds do you have and for how long have you have them? What are their ages? Describe your coop setup?

    The bird in your video appears to have something lodged in her throat,how often does she do this and for how long has it been going on,chickens do occasionally do this when adjusting their crop,but not continuously.

    Do your birds all have access to grit? Are your birds all from the same hatchery/breeder and do you have all the same breed? What type of feed are they on? Have you had any crop issues or any issues with egg binding? What does their poop look like,the condition of their poop can tell us a lot about what may be going on. Do they all have fluid in their abdomen(the birds in video)? Do any of them walk funny and do they still lay eggs?
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  8. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Crowing

    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    I once had a Golden Comet hen examined at UC Davis which had oviduct cancer. The bird was from Ideal Hatchery.
  9. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    I see my birds gape now and then. I always thought it was an ancient behavior response to mommy feed bag, LOL.
    Is the cancer consistent with Marek's disease or LL?

  10. tofupup

    tofupup Songster

    Mar 7, 2012
    RE: the cancer --- when you have 75 "spent" hens -- all from a factory farm -- ten percent of the flock dying from cancer is not unusual. Cancer is the most common cause of death in high-production hens, especially after they pass their peak production years. The necropsies have all been performed by the CAHFS, which performs them for free.

    Anyway, I haven't seen her gaping/yawning today, so I assume that's not the thing that is going to kill her right now.

    Thank you all!

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