Hen repeatedly opening beak and shaking head?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by makarr, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. makarr

    makarr New Egg

    Mar 7, 2012
    My 9 wk Black Australorp has been having episodes where she'll repeatedly stretch her neck some, open her beak then shake her head. It's not constant and she seems to be breathing normally...so far.

    She's been sick for a week with what I believe was Cocci and so I started treating for that last Wednesday with Sulmet; she started the beak behavior on Thursday. Her Cocci symptoms are going away (she's still sleeping a lot but her droppings are pretty much normal again, her energy is picking up, she's eating, drinking, scratching in the yard) but the open beak-head shake is maybe getting worse. I found something online about Gapeworms which listed neck stretching and head shaking as a symptom but then I found something else that said Gapeworm was very rare in chickens. I'm hoping someone here can help: could it be Gapeworm?

    I'm in Central Texas. This is my first time owning chickens and I just got them a week ago Saturday so everything is new to both me and my hen. She's one of three - the other two are a 13 wk Barred Rock and RIR, both of them seem completely normal and happy. Thanks for the help.
  2. dennarahl

    dennarahl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2012
    I'm still very new to chickens as well, so I don't know alot. Could it be that she's adjusting her crop? When mine do, they stretch their neck out, open their mouth and then do a quick head bob. Then they go back to normal. It looks like a swallowing action to me.

    If thats what it is for your girlie, it would make sense that its occuring more often as she increases the amount she eats and drinks.
  3. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    My understanding of gapeworm is that IF she has it, you should be able to look down her throat - gently pull her wattles down and she should open up - and you should be able to SEE them in her throat. Take a look.....
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    It's not gapeworm. Most likely there's something stuck in her throat or crop, she could be adjusting her crop as well. Give her 2 eyedropperfuls of olive oil. Then gently massage her neck to her crop, in a downward motion. She may puke up whatever is stuck, or pass it on down.
    If there's any sneezing, watery eyes/nostrils, most likely it would be a respiratory disease.
  5. makarr

    makarr New Egg

    Mar 7, 2012
    Thank you for telling me about crop adjusting. When I saw her doing that, I picked her up and massaged her crop for a bit. She seemed to kind of enjoy it. I haven't seen her adjusting since which is such a relief. Thanks again.

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