Hen Heavy Breathing

FreeSpirit

In the Brooder
12 Years
Jul 5, 2007
10
0
22
I have a 1 year old cochin bantam hen who has been laying quite fine. Not sure if she has laid in the last couple of days, however.

She is acting normal - eyes bright and clear and comb a nice healthy red. She is eating okay, drinking okay. The only weird thing that she is breathing heavy. Her body moves with her breathing and her tail rocks. I examined her and her crop is clear (not squishy or hard) and no wheezing, no discharge in the eyes or nose. Her throat is clear ( I looked down it).

Her tail is not down but it's not really high either (looks like my other cochins). She moves around okay and preens.

The only other weird thing she does is shake her head often like she is clearing her nose. Her vent is "pumping" for lack of a better word, in tune with her breathing. Her stomach is a little tight.... but not overly. I tried feeling for an egg but wasn't sure of one. I did try to feel her inside with my finger but she got really stressed and started gasping. Also, she is rather small and I didn't want to hurt her with my finger.

I gave her some vet rx in the nose. But other than her body moving hard with her breathing, I don't see anything else that is wrong.

Jody
 

hinkjc

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
12,683
95
331
PA
Sounds like she could be having egg trouble. If you want to rule that out, you could try a warm bath and let her rest in it for a while to see if it helps her relax the vent more to pass the egg. You can also feel inside, but be very careful not to break the egg. The ova duct us inward and upward - the poop part is downward.


If you try to bath, please be sure she is completely dry before putting her back outside so she doesn't get a chill. Seems she may already be experiencing some type of stress, so a chill would not be good right now. Let us know how it goes.

Jody
 

spacefruit

Hatching
7 Years
Oct 14, 2012
3
0
6
Hi,
I know this is an old post but just wondered if you had any luck with your hen & the warm bath treatment. I also have a 1-year old cochin bantam with exactly the same symptoms; I've had her isolated her since yesterday and she hadn't had a poo in all that time. I had a little feel for any egg inside but like you didn't want to hurt her, she didn't like my little finger up her vent...
I've given her a few warm baths now and she's just had one tiny poo.... maybe there'll be an egg to follow. How long can a chicken go on like this? If the warm baths don't completelly help what else can I do?

Thanks
 

stargirl

Songster
8 Years
Jun 15, 2011
338
2
101
UK
Spacefruit, it definitely sounds like your hen is egg bound. Time is critical with this, especially as she isn't pooping well. The warm baths are a great start - make it a temperature you'd like to sit in, and keep her in there a good half hour. Make sure you put her somewhere very warm to dry off, and keep her somewhere warm and dark to rest. My girl was egg bound this week and she passed her broken egg in a cage, covered in a blanket, sitting on a hot water bottle.

Try your best to get her a quick dose of calcium - if you have any tums or antacids, these are great. Break it into small bits and carefully prise open her beak and drop the bits in one by one, watching her swallow. Cheese or yoghurt will do as plan b. The calcium helps the muscles that push the eggs along, and will help her clear the blockage. Also do all you can to keep her eating and drinking a little.

Good luck x
 

spacefruit

Hatching
7 Years
Oct 14, 2012
3
0
6
Hi Stargirl,
Thanks for your advice. I've been doing warm baths but still no joy yet; it's been nearly 2 weeks since this started; she's eating well, just being a bit 'off' as described above and not looking very happy - now often looking like she's falling asleep as well. I've now got her wrapped up in towels on top of a warm hot water bottle ( not too hot!) ...Will try & get some calcium into her. We've got some chewable calcium tabs I could crush up.
Thanks again for your advice. Fingers x'd she'll pull through! x
 

spacefruit

Hatching
7 Years
Oct 14, 2012
3
0
6
Hi,
Have just taken her to see my local chicken expert who says she's not eggbound but just having a bad painful moult! Phew - no more warm baths & hot water bottles & I can stop worrying - have got a vitamin tonic to put in their water to give her a bit of a boost. She's back out with the rest of them being top of the roost again :)
 

Annaheal38

Hatching
May 5, 2018
1
0
3
Hi I know this is older but can you tell me how she knew it was just a hard molt?

My 3 year old is having the same issues falling asleep while standing and when she is roosting seems like she is breathing heavy and just al around slower. she is eating and drinking normally

Hi,
Have just taken her to see my local chicken expert who says she's not eggbound but just having a bad painful moult! Phew - no more warm baths & hot water bottles & I can stop worrying - have got a vitamin tonic to put in their water to give her a bit of a boost. She's back out with the rest of them being top of the roost again :)
 

Lucy Kenevan

In the Brooder
Jul 15, 2018
29
8
34
My hen is also having some similar issues, heavy breathing, and and tail moving while she’s breathing. She’s been breathing heavily for quite a while. She often sits instead of walking around, but that’s probably just from her bad leg (she’s had a limp since we got her) sometimes she shuts her eyes while she’s sitting. Any ideas about what this is?
 

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