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Question re Breathing

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Pundamilia, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. Pundamilia

    Pundamilia In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2016
    I have just started keeping chickens. This is week two. Most everything going well but one thing is worrying me...three nights ago I looked in on my three girls in the coop. As usual they were snuggled up together in one of the nesting boxes - they don't use the perches in the coop - I think because they are the same height as the nest boxes - but that's not the problems!!! Anyway, one of my girls, a Sopckled Sussex called Florence - seemed happy enough but was breathing through her mouth - panting almost. I left them alone for an hour and looked in again. Same thing. I panicked an called the couple who supplied the hens. They are local and popped round to check out Florence. By this time she was breathing normally but they had a good look at her for me. Nostrils, eyes and throat all clear. Vent fine. Breathing fine. Looking really well. They left and I hoped it was a one off. Next day she was normal. Eating, active, foraging. That night I looked in on her and saw same mouth breathing, not constantly, just now and again. Next day fine. She really looks great, is very active, was wormed a few weeks ago and shows no symptoms when in the run or out in the garden. Her two sisters are great also. Any idea what is causing this strange behaviour? Could it be that she is panting because she is hot, bundled in with her sisters?

  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Sounds like they are indeed over heating. You can't let them sleep in the nest boxes anymore. Those are for laying only. It is far more sanitary for a chicken to roost on a roost bar. So you need to block off the nest boxes at night and help train them to sleep in roosting bars.

    A 2x4 with the 4 side up is perfect for standard breeds. Don't let them roost in the rafters especially if you live in a cold climate. You will want them roosting closer to the floor out of all the wet frosty air up there. 15 inches off the floor is fine for standard breeds. Too high and they can sprain their legs.

    So for now, stuff towels or something similar in the nest boxes at night, remove these towels first thing in the morning. Go up at roosting time and get them all on the roost bar. They may not understand what you expect of them at first and will jump down, but keep putting them back up there, and turn out the lights immediately. They will be less inclined to come down in the dark. Do this every night for a week, and you will will have them trained.

    Good luck and welcome to our flock! :)
  3. They sound warm and over heating...Check your vents...They need air flow...lots of it...I live in Canada and even when it gets very cold my birds get lots of air at the top of the coop...
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yes, they will pant when hot, just like a dog, and hold their wings away from their bodies(not like a dog haha!)

    Yes, you need to train them to not sleep in nests, block them off until they are close to laying.
    If they are already laying block them off an hours or so before roosting time then uncover after dark when you lock up for the night..or at daybreak the in the morning.
  5. They are over heating.so, keep ice packs and put them next to the nest box.but like said above, block the nest box.

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