Pullet with a squishy lump on her neck that is growing

Apr 11, 2018
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I'm using the format that was posted (I think) on this site. Thank you in advance for any advice. Here goes...

1) What type of bird, age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others?)

Chloe is a Black Australorp, about 3 ½ months old. She weighs 1 lb, 4 oz. Unfortunately, I didn’t weigh her when I bought her, so I don’t have a comparison. She has grown over the last month since I’ve had her.

2) What is the behavior, exactly? How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?

First, some background
: I bought 2 pullets (sisters) almost a month ago from a farm. (photo of both taken on Oct 10th.) They were eating/drinking/pooping/behaving normally. The only exception was they had been bullied while in with the original flock of similar aged birds. Their swollen preening glands had been treated with Blu-Kote and they had a few feathers to regrow. I’ve noticed some chicken dandruff (for lack of a better word.)
DSC01818.JPG

I have been quarantining them from my one older hen. Nine days ago, Chloe’s sister was hunched with fluffed feathers & tail down. The next day, she was closing her eyes and sitting. She was wobbly when I stood her up & would sit back down immediately. She was eating less. The following morning Chloe’s sister had passed. I’ve been watching Chloe for this last week to see if it was contagious.

To answer the question specifically: Two days ago, I noticed a squishy lump, the size of a pencil eraser on the side of her neck, just below her head. Her tail is down sometimes and her feathers look rough. She’s still talkative/very curious & hops in my lap each day when I open the cage to clean & replace food/water. Today, the lump is *twice as big* and she didn’t like it when I tried to part the feathers to see it better. She did much better during her photo shoot tonight. Photos taken tonight. There’s possibly another feather on the side of the lump (not photographed).

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What Chloe looks like now.
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Size of the lump with a feather in the center (pink, but not as red as parts of it look in the photo)
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Scab to the side of the center feather.

3) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all?

Chloe’s been on medicated chick feed since I brought her home. She is eating less for the last 2 days. She ate a few bits of pressed garlic about a week ago. Her water has Sav-a-Chick probiotic (+ vitamins) and ACV added for the last week. (I haven’t been able to get the Nutri-drench I wanted. Darned supply chain issues.) I haven’t seen her drinking. The weighted bowl is near empty, most of the time, when I clean it each morning, but the newspapers are always wet.

4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?

Chloe’s sister did not appear to have any lumps.

5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma?

Nothing other than described.

6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation?

Other than the bullying almost a month ago in the original flock that caused feather loss and swelling to the preen gland, I can’t think of anything. Can pecking cause the swelling on her neck after that much time passing? While Chloe’s sister was here, they got along well.

7) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

Her poop looks normal, except this morning there was one that looked mucous-y.

8) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

Observing at this point. I’ve read threads here about ingrown feathers, but haven’t found information on whether they are squishy or hard.

9) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird until you can get to a vet?

If I can treat her myself, I’ll try.

10) Describe the housing/bedding in use.

She is in an extra-large dog crate (38” long x 21” wide x 28” tall), lined with newspaper that is changed daily. The crate is inside the house.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Can you get a photo of her poop and of the preening gland too?

I'm sorry that Chloe is not doing well.

From what I can see in the photo, she likely has an impacted feather follicle and/or infected wound from being pecked.

Vet care, if an option, is always best.

If she were mine, I would swab that well with Chlorhexidine, then probe around with a sterilized needle and tweezers - see if there's any pus under the scab and/or some embedded feathers that need to be plucked out. Clean well again with the Chlorhexidine, then pack with triple antibiotic ointment.

Her not eating/drinking well is a concern. A chick holding it's tail down is usually a sign they are not feeling good.
Offer her her normal feed. Eliminate the stuff in her water or provide her with plain water in addition to the electrolytes. If you need to, entice her with wet chick starter. Scrambled egg is a nice little treat that chickens seem to love - this is good for them.

Look forward to the photos.
 
Apr 11, 2018
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Hi Wyorp Rock,

Thank you for your detailed reply! Sorry for the delayed response. I had to go to several locations to replenish the expired parts of my chicken 1st aid kit. The store shelves are getting thinner. I wasn't able to get chlorhexidine, but picked up the last Vetericyn+.

Today, the lump on her neck felt more firm.

I had cleaned the cage before reading your post, but was able to take a couple of poop pics yesterday. Her droppings have thinned out in consistency.
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My son and I tried to get photos of her preening gland. Chloe hopped right into his lap, but she was too squirmy and didn't like her feathers being parted. TBH, with all of the feathers coming back in, it took a while for me to locate it. I was able to see the gland and it looked remarkably normal, a pinkish-white nub, without any swelling or damage. It's possible that her sister was the one who had her preening gland injured by her original flock. The only thing unusual about her back is how rough the new feathers look.

I witnessed her eating a couple of times yesterday. Because I didn't see her drink, I got her to take ~5ml of water from a dropper. The electrolyte powder I have includes vitamins, so I hope that's ok. None of the products I could find were electrolytes only.

She's getting scrambled eggs today, since the groceries weren't picked up until last night. We'll probe the lump and anything that may be in it then.
 

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Apr 11, 2018
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Pics are now from my phone with more pixels. (Yay, poop details. ;)) This was drop shipped overnight. A lot more urates. The newspaper was wet with water from Chloe's bowl.
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This morning she produced this one.
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Chloe accepted ~12ml of electrolyte water from a dropper today. She liked the scrambled egg, but ate even better when the medicated chick feed mash was offered with it.

I trimmed away feathers to see better and found a second scab on the neck lump. (Located at 12 o'clock & 6 o'clock in the pic.)
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I sprayed Vetericyn+ antimicrobial until it was soaked. Using sharp tweezers, I then lifted the edge of the scabs & applied pressure. No pus, just a small amount of blood.
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I didn't want to be too aggressive with the tweezers. I applied Kwik Stop styptic powder, triple antibiotic, & sprayed Vetericyn+ one last time. There's no feather where the scabs are. Does that make it more likely to be from pecking? I'm hoping it's not a tumor, but not sure what more I can do now. :( Any more suggestions are appreciated.
 

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azygous

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Those lesions are something I've never seen. But the poop combined with lethargic behavior, and associated with the other chick that recently died, I'd say the chick has a bacterial infection and it may be secondary to the lesions, whatever they are.

I would treat with an oral antibiotic such as Fish Mox 250mg. Waiting for it to come in the mail from an online vet supply would risk this chick dying before it comes. So I suggest getting on the phone and call all pet stores and feed stores and ask for Fish Mox. Pigeon supply shops also may carry bird antibiotics.

There's a possibility her neck lesions may be caused by a staph infection, and the antibiotic would take care of that, too.
 
Apr 11, 2018
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I'm going to tag in @Eggcessive and @azygous to help take a look at the scabs/lumps.

The poop has a lot of urates and doesn't look very good.
Have you ever treated for Coccidiosis?
Thank you for tagging other members! The more opinions on this, the better.
From what I understand, Chloe was on medicated chick feed before I bought her. She was in an outdoor environment, so the possibility of exposure was there in order for the feed to be protective. I used to have Corid, but had never used it. Unfortunately, I do not have it now. FWIW, none of her droppings were bloody.
 
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Apr 11, 2018
55
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Those lesions are something I've never seen. But the poop combined with lethargic behavior, and associated with the other chick that recently died, I'd say the chick has a bacterial infection and it may be secondary to the lesions, whatever they are.

I would treat with an oral antibiotic such as Fish Mox 250mg. Waiting for it to come in the mail from an online vet supply would risk this chick dying before it comes. So I suggest getting on the phone and call all pet stores and feed stores and ask for Fish Mox. Pigeon supply shops also may carry bird antibiotics.

There's a possibility her neck lesions may be caused by a staph infection, and the antibiotic would take care of that, too.
Hi azygous,

Thank you for the feedback!
I do have Fish Mox. If she were your bird, what would you dose for a 1 lb, 4 oz chick? How many times a day would you give it to her and for how long? Does she need to have a certain amount of water intake with it? It's been so long since I've pilled a chicken, I'll have to re-educate myself on it. When I did have to pill, she was an adult hen. It makes Chloe seem tiny by comparison. Thank goodness the Fish Mox capsules aren't "horse pill" sized!

Edited to add: I thought I had a scale for mg, in case I need to give less than the 250mg, but it only measures grams.
 
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azygous

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Dosage doesn't need to be precise. I would break open the 250mg capsul and divide it in half or into quarters. You will be shooting for 125mg per day for ten days.

An easy way to give the powder instead of the capsule is to take a tiny bit of bread and dab olive oil on it, then sop to powder dose with it until all the powder of the dose is stuck to the bread. Then the patient will take the bread readily. If she's too sick to eat the bread on her own, then pry open her beak and shove the bit of bread into her mouth.

For the first day, I would give 250mg over the course of the day to get a lot of the antibiotic into her system to overwhelm the bacteria. Then tomorrow, go to 125mg per day. You can give it all in one dose or divide it into two doses, which is a better practice.
 

6BeachChicks

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I have no advice, other then what wyorp rock and azygous said.
I hope Chloe will be ok!
 

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