Hen Wheezing, now Hoarse Sounding. Also, Curling Feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by 4chickens3dogs, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. 4chickens3dogs

    4chickens3dogs Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 13, 2013
    I've been reading lots of posts, but not finding much that nails down my issue. About 4 days ago, I came home to a hen with wheezing sounds & seemed to be struggling breathing. No other issues such as eye or nasal discharge. She was scratching around & acting completely normal. About 4 hours later after researching, I gave her some bread soaked in olive oil as several posts suggested. The wheezing/struggling to breathe pretty much stopped after that. I listened several times during the night I didn't hear any issues. The past few days, she has sounded really hoarse when talking to me & breathing sometimes sounds a little tight. She has been continuing to lay eggs daily & act completely normal. Still no facial discharge or swelling.

    Maybe/maybe not related..the tips of her wing feathers have seemed to curl out some, looking ruffled. Noticed this starting several weeks ago and today they seemed to be worse (weather has turned colder). The reason this stands out is we have another hen the same breed whose feathers lay down smoothly. We have 4 hens and these issues are only in the one hen. They are free range. We use pine shavings in the hen house.

    If anyone has any ideas or experiences to share, I love to hear from you. Thanks!
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Pine shavings often cause a variety of issues. Sometimes none though.

    Just some random ideas off the top of my head...

    First I thought Vitamin D deficiency as this can cause a curling coat. But you say they free range.

    So, with the wheezing, perhaps she has inhaled a little particle of something? Seed or grit commonly causes an irritation in the airway that can cause wheezing for hours, days, months.... Sometimes they recover, sometimes the irritation gets worse and worse until they require culling.

    Perhaps she's got a little Frizzle in her. Not uncommon for a supposedly "purebred" animal to show that it is in fact not purebred at all, or that a mongrel "got in" somewhere along the line, or even for a new mutation to crop up. Frizzle is a type more than a breed and can show up in normally feathered breeds. Her siblings aren't really an indication of what she will look like.

    It's also possible that she has caught a respiratory disease. In which case chances are that the others are also infected, even though they may never show symptoms. You should research every respiratory disease or other disease with similar symptoms to see if any match.

    Some hens will frequent areas others refuse to go. Is it possible her feathers are curling because she's going into a sappy bush or something like that?

    A photo may help. But you need 8 more posts before you can post one.

    Anyway, here's some links to check diseases and symptoms to see if anything matches.

    Quote: Quote: Quote: Quote: Every one of those sites has many diseases listed, even though I bookmarked them at an arbitrary page. They may be useful for future reference even if they don't have anything that matches the symptoms you see.

    Best wishes.
     
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  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    I would watch her for signs of aspergillosis, and for other signs of a respiratory disease such as swollen eyes, nasal discharge, eye bubbles or drainage. Aspergillosis is a disease from mold that can cause a chicken to lose their voice and having silent gasping. Infectious bronchitis and mycoplasma are fairly common respiratory diseases. Some people have reported feather damage from using certain wormers during a molt. Here are 2 links to look at:
    http://msucares.com/poultry/diseases/disfungi.htm
    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
     
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  4. 4chickens3dogs

    4chickens3dogs Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 13, 2013
    Thanks! Great ideas. Appreciate experienced/expert advice. We are new to chickens & I will probably question everything as I figure these fun new pets out. Breed of chicken is Amber White, age is just over 8 months, so no molt yet. Have used pine shavings since they were chicks, but I agree, can be dusty. I'll look into other bedding options as I work through this one. Hens are spoiled, so hen house & coop cleaned daily. Fresh water daily, oyster shells available, but don't think they touch it much. Layer feed crumbles always available. Scratch, BOSS & meal worms tossed out several times daily. House leftovers they have been given lately include corn bread, turkey fat, pumpkin seeds. Day of wheezing, I starting providing Sav-A-Chick vitamins. They scratch the yard all day and peck at grass so could be getting into anything but not aware of any sappy bushes around, I'll inspect best I can. I do observe them alot, but of course have no idea what they get into all the time. Have not used de-wormers. No issues with droppings that I notice.

    Good tips on things to look out for...hopefully it's nothing major. I will honestly say we got the chickens not aware of how many issues they could have, but they have become pets so I care for them a little more than just an animal. But I want to be aware and catch any issues or illnesses early. Hopeful as she is otherwise acting completely the same/normal. I will look into other treatments if I see any other signs indicating respiratory issues.

    Did not know about the 8 post requirement for pics, but will get one posted of feathers for you to look at. I'll research pics of feather damage to see if anything looks similar & some frizzle pics.

    Thanks again, truly appreciate the advise & general info!
     
  5. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Are these hens from an environment where they or their parents were kept on concreted or plain dirt floors? If they or their parents were not reared under a naturalistic system they can fail to possess the instincts required to cope; hens fresh from farms that are dustbowls or concreted are almost guaranteed future victims of one or more either temporary or fatal ailments a more naturally reared, instinctive chicken won't fall prey to, i.e. consumption of excessively long grasses or inedible objects or toxic substances.

    I've seen chickens from intensively farmed places not be smart enough to remove themselves from thick clouds of airborne dirt or ash, just standing in the cloud breathing it in.

    Also, feeding cracked grain or foods with loose particles often results in some inhalations of fragments, generally when they are competing for feed and therefore not eating carefully. Generally this is not a problem and the chicken may "squeak" or wheeze but will recover quickly. Some, though, will die from it. Wetting the feed prevents the vast majority of those cases.

    Also, wetting grains and seeds, i.e. soaking it overnight, or fermenting it, boosts their health as it is made more bio-available and they no longer need to eat as much, while getting more out of it. It also makes it easier to administer dusty or granulated supplements like kelp powder or granules which are of amazing benefit healthwise. I highly recommend raw fresh garlic, crushed or minced, regularly (one to two cloves per bird per day on average), and kelp (one pinch per bird per day on average), to keep them in great health.

    Best wishes.
     

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