Hen open mouth breathing

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sasha008, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. sasha008

    sasha008 Hatching

    Sep 22, 2011
    Hello everyone. I don't have chickens myself, just some pigeons. Today I visited a community farm for the first time. They have a variety of animals, a pig, goats, alpacas, some turkeys and geese. And about 2 dozen chickens.

    Watching the chickens I noticed one brown hen, I'd guess about 4-5 lbs. breathing with her beak open. Her breathing seemed slow and regular but each breath she opened her beak wide. Her eyes, nares, and mouth looked clear, no discharges or odors. All the other birds with her looked fine. Her crop felt empty. I don't know if she's eating normally, she seemed average weight. Don't know about poops, I just saw the bird for the 1st time today.

    The volunteers at the farm said they didn't know when/if the bird could be seen by a vet. Can anyone give me any advise I could pass on to them about helping this bird? What would be the 1st treatments to try-antibiotics? Worming for possible gapeworm? I don't know yet what, if any, worming their birds have gotten. They told me they had some Baytril pills left over from another animal. Can someone give me a direction to start with to try to help this bird I'd really appreciate it. [​IMG]
  2. chi-rn

    chi-rn Chirping

    Jun 11, 2011
    Perhaps she was hot? Whenever coop or run temp exceeds 85 degrees F, healthy adult chickens will sometimes open-mouth breathe. If everything else is normal about her behavior, it could be as simple as this....
  3. aggie9296

    aggie9296 Songster

    Jan 28, 2011
    Panama City, FL
    Mine have been open mouth breathing all summer with the heat. If that is the only symptom, it is probably not anything wrong.
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    If it was a hot day, she was probably trying to cool off. They also do this when they are scared or nervous.
  5. Nonny

    Nonny Songster

    May 16, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I had one doing this recently, and although it has been unseasonably hot she was the only one of my three to do the gaping breathing, and she was doin git in the evening and mornings as well, when it was cooler. I treated them all for worms (due to spotting roundworm in the poop of one of the others) and about 36 hours later the one with the open beak stopped walking round with her beak open and is now absolutely back to normal.

    Was it gapeworm? Maybe. Maybe not. I'll never know, but it seems a good place to start if they haven't been wormed recently.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  6. MOChickenz

    MOChickenz Chirping

    Jun 10, 2010
    When I had an egg-bound hen, she was perched on the nest box, open mouth breathing. She stopped doing it after I got the egg out. No other symptoms.
    MomJones likes this.
  7. sasha008

    sasha008 Hatching

    Sep 22, 2011
    Thanks for the replies. It wasn't hot at all, maybe a bit humid. None of the other birds were breathing like that. She was sitting on a perch inside the coop and stayed there the whole time I watched her. Most of the other chickens were active in the outside run.

    I'll ask them at the farm if the birds are ever wormed. I use Moxidectin in my pigeons. Can this be used in chickens? Would it be ok to start the bird on antibiotics? They do have Baytril. Doxycycline and Tylan are used in pigeons for respiratory illness. Would you see signs like nasal discharges and congested sounds with most bacterial infections? I hate the thought the bird may not get any help. [​IMG]
  8. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    Quote:My Mc'Donalds does this when she's stressed out. Not sure why [​IMG]

    She really doesn't like people too much.. Maybe it's because we called her Mc'Donalds [​IMG]
  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:A lot (maybe all) of the medications you might be considering giving the hen will render the eggs inedible for a period of time. You would need to research this carefully and there might be legalities if they are selling the eggs or meat.

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