Neck-breathing in an older Welsummer hen

patienceprudencecharity

Songster
11 Years
Aug 9, 2008
48
15
104
Butler County, Ohio
All,
I’ve never seen this before in lots of years with hens. Our Welsummer hen is noticeably breathing using muscles in the neck/?? not sure, but I think it might be that neck air sac expansion and contraction is very obvious. The rest of the flock is fine/ not showing any similar signs.

In general I think this hen looks a bit puffed up, and her eyes seem almost half-closed. She is the last survivor of 5 same aged pullets we purchased about 6 years ago. She has not laid for a very long time.

She does not appear to be suffering, struggling to breathe, etc. No odd sounds, no discharge, no sneezing or wheezing. Yet I am quietly thinking she may be near the end.

She has been under some stress- we moved a few months ago and just last week replenished our flock -were down to 2 and did not want a lonely lone hen when the next passed (and we were in need of more eggs). This Welsummer was used to a grumpy production-style Buff Orp companion, and we added 4 very gentle bantams (2 pekins and 2 rocks) and 3 fairly docile very large young pullets (a white Rock and two English style Buff Orps). Pecking order discussions seemed resolved very quickly without fuss, with a pretty egalitarian, live and let live vibe. Everyone seems to be eating and drinking without conflict. Still, I am sure our Welsummer is intimidated by her huge new coop-mates.

Thoughts? The half-closed eyes, for increasing amounts of time, were a sign of nearing the end for our previous older hens. The expanding neck has me especially flummoxed.
 
Last edited:

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
59,111
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southern Ohio
Is there any way that you could get a video and post it to YouTube with a link posted here? It could well be a leaking air sac, or infection in the air sac. I haven’t seen anything like that, but it sounds like a leaking air sac. That can be caused by an injury, or infection. Is this on the back, side, or front of her neck?
 

patienceprudencecharity

Songster
11 Years
Aug 9, 2008
48
15
104
Butler County, Ohio
Is there any way that you could get a video and post it to YouTube with a link posted here? It could well be a leaking air sac, or infection in the air sac. I haven’t seen anything like that, but it sounds like a leaking air sac. That can be caused by an injury, or infection. Is this on the back, side, or front of her neck?

Possibly- it’s late here now though. It really looks like respiration- like when humans do chest vs belly breathing, major movement in the neck. Thanks.
 

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