Hen - Occasional eye bubbles, stopped laying, change in comb

AlexChat

In the Brooder
Dec 28, 2015
14
2
26
UK
Hi All

Long time lurker, first time poster. Let me introduce Tikka, we're not sure what type she is (if any!), she's about 6-8 months and lives with 3 friends in a decent sized back garden. She eats mainly corn/pellets and occasional veg/treats.




She started laying 1 egg every 2 days in late November, but stopped shortly after we upgraded them to a new coop in early December. She has also recently had bubbling in her eyes (either eye, doesn't last long when it happens) and her previously enormous and quite red comb has shrunk and gained some black bits.



Her behaviour hasn't changed, she's bossy and hasn't stopped eating or running around with the others. She's also visibly in good condition, clean and no sign of mites.

As concerned first time chicken parents, we've done a lot of googling and know that:

  • Combs can shrink and grow and indicate health and laying status
  • bubbles can be symptoms of pretty much anything
  • laying can stop over winter (although it's been a very mild one so far)

We'd be grateful for any thoughts on her appearance, any experience of similar so we can feel more comfortable continuing to keep an eye on her, or get her to a vet.

Also curious if anyone knows what breed/mix she might be

Thanks!
 

Snow bunny

In the Brooder
Sep 10, 2015
46
7
24
URGENT
Hi, I am certain that you chook as tick fleas. That is the black area on her comb. Put thick vaseline on the black areas to suffocate the fleas. Wipe off after an hour and repeat. Also dust her with fowl chook powder. These fleas suck her blood and will eventually kill her.
 

AlexChat

In the Brooder
Dec 28, 2015
14
2
26
UK
URGENT
Hi, I am certain that you chook as tick fleas. That is the black area on her comb. Put thick vaseline on the black areas to suffocate the fleas. Wipe off after an hour and repeat. Also dust her with fowl chook powder. These fleas suck her blood and will eventually kill her.

s**t.

On it now. They must be tiny, as couldn't see anything obvious. Thanks for the reply
 
Last edited:

AlexChat

In the Brooder
Dec 28, 2015
14
2
26
UK
Do they scrape off? Do you have a magnifying glass?


We don't. The black bits behave like scabby skin when we tried to brush them off earlier, we didn't use too much pressure thinking they might be some kind of scan and it could hurt her.

Have applied Vaseline as Snow Bunny suggested and will see what happens when we wipe off in an hour or so.
 

Snow bunny

In the Brooder
Sep 10, 2015
46
7
24
Hi again AlexChat,

Yes they are tiny, now you must do that every hour until they are gone OK. Work on her first as she is the one with the problem. Keep her away from your other chooks and whatch them to see if they get any tick fleas. This hen has probably infested the coop and her mates, so dust all the hens just to make sure. If you have any other place to house the chooks for a while, you must clean the coop out and spray with flea killer. After the initial spray, wait two weeks and spray again. The girls cannot be in the coop while this is being done. I am not trying to scare you, I have had the same problem a little while ago. Don't worry, you have caught it in time, now the treatment starts. The girls will have to be dusted each day until the fleas are off. I was advised to stand my girls on white paper so that I could see the fleas fall off, it works. Trust me AlexChat, you just have to do exactly the same as I had to do. I wish you luck, and please let me know how it is all going.
 

AlexChat

In the Brooder
Dec 28, 2015
14
2
26
UK
Hi again AlexChat,

Yes they are tiny, now you must do that every hour until they are gone OK. Work on her first as she is the one with the problem. Keep her away from your other chooks and whatch them to see if they get any tick fleas. This hen has probably infested the coop and her mates, so dust all the hens just to make sure. If you have any other place to house the chooks for a while, you must clean the coop out and spray with flea killer. After the initial spray, wait two weeks and spray again. The girls cannot be in the coop while this is being done. I am not trying to scare you, I have had the same problem a little while ago. Don't worry, you have caught it in time, now the treatment starts. The girls will have to be dusted each day until the fleas are off. I was advised to stand my girls on white paper so that I could see the fleas fall off, it works. Trust me AlexChat, you just have to do exactly the same as I had to do. I wish you luck, and please let me know how it is all going.

Quick update: we've just done the second cleaning/reapplication of the Vaseline. The first removal brought off a lot of the black gunk, but there's still plenty on there. It's late here (and bank holiday) but will get the stuff we need to do it properly tomorrow (and keep the Vaseline-ing going in the meantime).

Thanks very much for the pointer, knowing what it is we've had a lot more luck googling for solutions.

Tikka is currently very annoyed at being repeatedly woken up and covered in gunk, but worth it in the long run!
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
59,622
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southern Ohio
The black scabs look like peck marks that have bled and scabbed over. She may also have been pecked in the eye that bubbles. I have a hen who gets the bubbles occasionally when the temperature gets colder. I used to always believe that bubbles meant mycoplasma, a respiratory disease, but I think hers is due to an tear duct problem. If you think her eye may be infected, you can apply some Terramycin eye ointment or Vetericyn eye gel.
 

AlexChat

In the Brooder
Dec 28, 2015
14
2
26
UK
I would think if they had scraped the area and it was indeed bugs, crushing them would have produced blood.

To me it also looked like injuries.

The black scabs look like peck marks that have bled and scabbed over. She may also have been pecked in the eye that bubbles. I have a hen who gets the bubbles occasionally when the temperature gets colder. I used to always believe that bubbles meant mycoplasma, a respiratory disease, but I think hers is due to an tear duct problem. If you think her eye may be infected, you can apply some Terramycin eye ointment or Vetericyn eye gel.

From what we can see they don't fight at all, and (as best we could tell) she was the boss from the start, and much more likely to be the agressor. The black that was left after we gave it a good clean was more like the comb itself than any kind of scab.
 

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