hen panting and weak, how can I help her?


10 Years
Oct 16, 2009
Berkeley, CA
My hen started panting a couple of days ago and seemed less active. I thought she was just hot b/c we had a hot spell, but now she is still panting in cool weather and wouldn't even get off her perch this a.m. She has runny-looking manure streak down her fluff in back. Rest of flock seems perfectly fine. Everything has been normal for the flock of 7. The only out of the ordinary even has been that I fed the flock fallen fruit from our fig tree--some may have been fermented/moldy and I didn't notice. I had fed them figs before with no issues.

I separated her from flock. How can I help her and what might be wrong with her?

Thanks for any help.

1) What type of bird , age and weight. CM, 6 mo.
2) What is the behavior, exactly. Panting, pointing head up, eyes closing, poor balance on perch, not active, laying around.
3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? panting for 2 days, rest of symptoms since this morning
4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms? no
5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma. no
6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. possibly ate fermented or moldy fruit (entire flock ate it)
7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. water, laying pellets, fallen figs.
8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. runny, greenish, sticking to her fluff.
9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? isolated her
10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet? treat myself
11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
12) Describe the housing/bedding in use pine shavings indoor with covered dirt run outdoors
Please help!! she is getting worse. no longer panting but just lying with her wings drooping, vey weak. her comb is turning purplish. she won't take any water or food, not even yogurt. her old manure is greenish.
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It is familiar to me. She isn't getting enough oxygen and that's likely why her comb is turning purple, likely just at the tips I'm guessing? It could be a respiratory infection, they get weak and lay closer and closer to the ground as they suffocate. It is hard to watch and it's happened with 2 of my birds. Neither survived, and in both cases, I tried something different and it didn't help. Does she have a rattle when breathing? Does she move away from you, or is she easily caught? Is she still roosting at night? If so, she's still strong enough for antibiotics. If you have antibiotics, you can try to dose her with that and you might be able to help, but, sadly, you can't help her breathe. This may not be what's wrong, but it's something for you to look for. Hope she is doing well soon. good luck.
well, thank you to the people who were able to reply this morning We had to go out for an hour and when we came home, she was gone. Her comb was all purple so the trouble breathing hypothesis seems like a possibility. Does anyone know what one does with a dead, possibly diseased chicken in an urban environment? We are so sad. She had just begun laying a month ago. Luckily, none of the other hens seem ill.
Sorry to hear about the loss of chicken. I would bury her in the back yard near the property line or something. If that is not feasible, then you could take her out to the country on state land or a remote location and bury her.

As for the sickness she had, it sort of sounds like what some of mine have and it seems like they are spreading it to some of the others. They have no energy, they cough and sound raspy. We called the vet, he said it was an upper respiratory infection. He told us to come and get some sulfa from him. It was $13. for 14 oz. We have to give them one tablespoon of sulfa per gallon of water. I am giving it to all the chickens just in case. We started yesterday and they seem a little better today. The vet told us to continue the sulfa in the water for ten days. He said to throw the eggs away and to not eat them until 96 hours after the 10 day period of using the sulfa.

I would keep an eye on the rest of your chickens just in case. If they display the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, I would get some sulfa from a local vet.

Hope this helps.

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