Hen sounding congested with a smelly mucus coming from beak!


Jan 26, 2020
Hi all! One of my 4 year old Road Island hens was sounding congested this evening when I entered the coop. She also had some mucus (and some mucus bubbles) coming out of her beak. It smells terrible, EXACTLY like a rotten egg would smell! She breaths out and the mucus seems to come up her throat, them she tries to swallow it as she breaths back in, causing a lot of popping and “cracking” noises. She is acting fine and is very lively other than that. She throws and fit and squawks when I pick her up, and as soon as I moved her into a separate area she started pecking around looking for food. I can’t figure out what type of sickness she has. I though it may be Coryza, but her face and waddles aren’t swelling, and she has no eye discharge. None of my other hens are exhibiting any symptoms and they seem to be all fine. Any suggestions? Thanks!
It does sound like coryza, but it is hard to know for sure eithout testing or a necropsy to confirm the disease. Coryza symptoms may be treated with sulfadimethoxine or other sulfa antibiotics. The disease is chronic and can be with the chicken it’s whole life, and make her a carrier. She may have future outbreaks when she is stressed. Here is an article about coryza:
Thank you for the article! I’m really hoping it’s not Coryza, but if it is I’ll definitely try to treat the rest of the flock!
UPDATE on my road island hen...I mixed some garlic and apple cider vinegar with water and an electrolyte packet to give her a “boost”. That’s when I noticed (upon opening her beak) that there is a yellowish/whitish think mucus substance on the roof of her mouth/beak, and also around her tongue. I’m assuming that’s what is stinking like rotten eggs! I could probably swab it out with a q-tip if I wanted too, but she throws a fit whenever I mess with her beak (it was a pain to give her the boost through a syringe)! I was reading some other posts where the chickens breath smelt like rotting egg and meat, and many people pointed it to a respiratory infection or clogged nostril. She Is definitely struggling to breath a little, and I can hear the cracking noise coming from about where her lungs would be. I’m holding out on calling a vet for now since she is the only sick one. My flock usually stays pretty healthy since they free range and I feed them pretty healthy, although they do have accessed to a compost pile.
Pictures of the yellow plaques would be good. It sounds like she could have canker, a protozoan parasitic disease that is carried by pigeons normally. Chickens can get it by drinking out of contaminated waterers and puddles.

But she still could have a respiratory disease. Those can cause yellow gunk up in the roof of the beak. Canker usually affects the walls of the beak, the tongue, and throat. Can ker is treated with metronidazole (Fish Zole sold online, and Flagyl) and sometimes ronidazole, another pigeon medicine. Dosage of Fish Zole is 250 mg given orally daily for 5 days.

Have you had any chickens sick with fowl pox? The wet form of fowl pox can resemble canker. Here is some reading about canker:

Here is a link for where to buy FishZole:
Hi, and thank you for the response! I have never heard of Canker before! I have never had any of my flock come down with fowl pox that I know of. I will try to get a pic of the inside of her beak if I can (she’s a feisty one!)
I attempted to get pictures of the inside of her beak, but she put of such a fight. Also, I think the stress was making it worse for her, so I don’t have any pictures yet. Tonight her breathing is worse, she is struggling more. She is opening her beak non stop trying to swallow the mucus, but there is just so much of it! I’m worried she may “drown” in it or it may become so bad that she suffocates! Is this possible? She is still acting lively and alert. Is there a way I could drain some of the mucus out of her? I’m not sure if it’s coming from her lungs or her irritated wind pipe.
Poor thing!
I'm not sure if you could try syringing some of the mucous out of her beak or not. Since she's struggling to breath I would assume handling her adds to her stress.

With the plaques/yellow material inside the beak, I would also take a good guess that Canker may be the problem as suggested by @Eggcessive in post#6
Sorry about your hen. It is very hard to watch one struggle to breathe. I would probably leave her alone, and encourage her to drink fluids. Does she still not have any eye drainage or nasal secretions, or sneeze/cough (symptoms of a respiratory disease?) I would probably try to get some Fish Zole online right away. In the past, some have bought metronidazole at Petsmart or other pet store chains under the brand name of API General Cure for fish. If you find that locally, make sure the label has metronidazole. The FishZole is the exact dosage and it cannbe bought online. The API product is shown in this link:

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