Pullet Sneezing and Enlarged Heart?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 13, 2008
Probably about 3 weeks old. I have had her for 2. She has a pen in the yard with a roof so wild birds do not contact. It is in the 80's here and at night she comes in. Tonight she is sneezing with liquid coming out. So far the banty buddy is not doing same.

How do I diagnose and then how do I treat?

The more I read the more confused I get. Some of what I have read have indicated to me that she could have caught this from her mother. I bought her at a feed store a couple of weeks ago. I had to go to several stores for a couple of weeks cuz all the chicks were sick. I ended up getting a banty for a companion although the guy at the store tried to tell me she was just younger. I have limited space so I can only have the two but I really wanted full size eggs.

Also they both now have enlarged right chests at night. At first I just noticed this in the banty at night but in a.m. gone again. Now both of them have it. Is this normal? I never noticed it in the chicks I had before.
I don't know about the sneezing, but the enlarged right breast is normal, it's her crop, most birds have a fuller crop before bedtime....at least mine do anyway.
Yep - the swelling you are noticing on the right side of the chest at night is their crop. They eat all day long and so the crop is pretty full by night time. In the morning the food in the crop has been processed and moved down the digestive tract, so the crop is flat/empty.

The sneezing could indicate a simple respiratory infection or something more serious. I'll leave it for the more experienced with those issues to help. Hope you get some help on that issue soon!
Thanks you two. Since posting I have been searching and found a thread that leads me to believe that this crop swelling may be a trait of Easter Eggers. (?) Last time I had Austrolorp and RIR. Both my pullet and banty pullet are Easter Eggers - the only ones that did not have pasty butts at 2 feed stores after several weeks of looking. :| I was not sure when they should start foraging beyond their baby crumble but yesterday and today they have started to eat the weeds in their pen - specially the flowery parts. They have refused other foods like grapes and slivers of carrots - just started on the weeds. Hope that isn't a problem - I would think they have an intuition about what they can eat.

Anyway I do hope someone knows about the sneezing and how to diagnose. They seem such hardy creatures. Since it is colder at night maybe I should turn the heater on them again? I turned it off last few days since it is in 60's outside and they are in bathroom at night in a box with a cloth on top. It is probably 75 - 85 in house. They just did not seem to need it anymore.
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At 3 weeks of age they need to have a constant temp around 80-85 degrees. If they get too cool that can cause digestive and other problems for them. I wasn't sure from your post if they are out in the 60 degrees during the day without heat? If so, they need a heat source until they are fully feathered out - at least another week or two.

The weeds/greens should be fine as long as they also have access to some chick grit or dirt they can dig around in to get small gravels. They need that to be able to digest the greens. They don't need grit if all they get is the chick crumbles.
No it has been in the 80's and there is always sun and always shade in part of the pen. What has been surprising me repeatedly is that they avoid the sun and stay in the shade. Since the pen has a roof I do not think it is predator fear that keeps them in the shade. (Lots of wild birds have come to gawk and talk but they cannot access their food or water or drop droppings on them so I am not worried about contagion unless it is airborne. I have been wondering if they just cannot handle the Phoenix heat. However it is supposed to cool down again into the 60's during the day this weekend and since they are already used to going outside I am wondering what to do. They will not tolerate being in the house all day.

I guess I will turn their heater back on. I don't really know how old they are. The standard size one already looks like a little hen as she has the colored feathers and tail already. Well, maybe a teenage hen!

They have been scratching their crumble into the dirt and then fetching it out. First they must scratch the grass aside. Does that mean they are getting the equivalent of grit? Today they ate so much weeds and not much crumble.
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Hope she'll be alright.

How do Phoenix folks handle having chickens in your summers there, with 105-115 degrees common for months on end?

I know you have said the temp is 80 or above. I have to tell you from my experience, at 3 weeks, your chick has gotten chilled being put outside. 3 week olds do not have the feathering needed to keep their body temps regulated. The same with a newborn human infant. They get chilled easily -even in 80 degree weather. Your chick should have been in a warm brooder with a heat lamp with only short periods outside. I hope with proper care your chick is able to recover. Often when chicks get chilled and illness becomes apparent it is very hard for them to recover and survive.

When you bring the chick in at night is it in a brooder with good heat?
Hi jjthink. All the birds out here keep their mouths open in the summer. Last time I had chickens we had a large yard with a huge shade tree and we put the coop under that. We used chicken wire in the coop and next time will not do that because all the little birds get in and feed. Anyway I had lots of water - huge bowls with rocks in them to keep them stable and they just made it through like we all do. It is tough on everyone. Even if you are inside with air conditioning it seems that the heat just takes it out of you.

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