Respiratory disease or gape worm??

onthefarmnj

Chirping
Sep 3, 2019
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71
Hi, this is my first post here. I'm hoping to get some advice.

I have 5 chickens; 2 are adults (not sure how old, I got them as adults about 4 months ago) and 3 are 21 weeks (I got them at 12 weeks). About a month ago, I lost a 6th (adult) bird to a red-tail hawk (I have had chickens for several years and never had a hawk attack until this year!).

Until I could put netting over my chicken enclosure, I moved the 5 remaining hens into an extra / empty stall in my barn to keep them safe. There were in there for about 10 days while I secured their pen against aerial predators. I then moved them back outside, where they have been for about 2 weeks.

Just after I moved them back outside, the 2 adult hens both stopped laying (the 21 week old birds are not laying yet). Since then, I noticed that my birds - especially two of them - are making a "chucking" sound, accompanied by a head shake. Here is a video I took of the one who seems the worst. At the end of the video, you can see she looks kind of as if she's trying to clear something stuck in her throat

The birds seem healthy otherwise. No mucous; eyes and nostrils are clear and dry; no mites. Weight seems good. From what I can tell, they seem to be eating and drinking normally. But I'm concerned about respiratory disease or gape worm.

youtube video:

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

Eggcessive

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It sounds like a snick or something similar to a sneeze to clear the nostrils of mucus or drainage, then is followed by the head shaking to cleat her nostrils. She may be showing signs of a respiratory disease or infection. Infectious bronchitis, mycoplasma (MG,) ILT, and coryza are some of the common diseases. Infectious bronchitis is the most common one, and usually involves sneezing and the symptoms you are seeing. It can spread rapidly through a flock, and most chickens recover. There could also be some sort of environmental allergy, dust, or ammonia odor that has set her off.
 

onthefarmnj

Chirping
Sep 3, 2019
53
50
71
It sounds like a snick or something similar to a sneeze to clear the nostrils of mucus or drainage, then is followed by the head shaking to cleat her nostrils. She may be showing signs of a respiratory disease or infection. Infectious bronchitis, mycoplasma (MG,) ILT, and coryza are some of the common diseases. Infectious bronchitis is the most common one, and usually involves sneezing and the symptoms you are seeing. It can spread rapidly through a flock, and most chickens recover. There could also be some sort of environmental allergy, dust, or ammonia odor that has set her off.

Thank you for your response! Does the fact that there is no visible mucous around the nostrils, or that we had previously housed a goat in that barn stall (although it was probably months ago) and the bedding was dusty, help in trouble-shooting at all? Although they've been back in the fresh air for a couple of weeks. Do you think I should do something to treat, or just keep a watchful eye? Another hen is shaking her head a little too, but not as much.
 

Eggcessive

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Well, if there is a virus such as infectious bronchitis, then antibiotics would not help. Sometimes it is hard to tell IB from a mild strain of MG. MG usually causes bubbles in the eye, pinkeye that looks like a sunken eye, and sometimes swelling of the eyelid. MG can be treated with Tylan (tylosin) or oxytetracycline.

I would just watch them and make sure they are drinking plenty of water. You can try to get them tested to identify the possible disease. Mold and dust in a coop can sometimes cause respiratory symptoms. Here is a handy list of common diseases and symptoms:
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
 

dawg53

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It's definitely not gapeworm and I dont suspect a respiratory disease. I believe it's something in the environment as Eggcessive mentioned. Another possibility is mold spores or something fungal. Look inside her mouth for anything abnormal such as lesions.
 

ethmezger

Songster
9 Years
Jul 31, 2012
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You kept them in a stall? Horses around? Very often there are fungi around horses. Their hooves bring in mud, and before you know it you have fungal infections.
 

onthefarmnj

Chirping
Sep 3, 2019
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You kept them in a stall? Horses around? Very often there are fungi around horses. Their hooves bring in mud, and before you know it you have fungal infections.

A horse has not been in that stall for a couple of years; only a goat, and that only sporadically. The stall bedding was pretty dry and dusty when they were in there, but we only kept them in the stall for about 10 days while we were securing their pen against aerial predators (we didn't have any other safe place to keep them). It does seem that the noise initially started when they were in the stall.

According to the link Eggcessive sent, it doesn't seem as though there is a cure for fungal diseases?
 

Eggcessive

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The most common fungal respiratory disease is aspergillosis. Symptoms include silent gasping and increased thirst. I would guess that they are showing signs of infectious bronchitis, but that would need to be confirmed with testing. The snicking and head shaking sound more like a respiratory infection. My flock once went through a bout of IB a few years ago. Sneezing and a little nasal congestion were the signs. A couple of hens laid eggs with wrinkled egg shells. That is common with IB. My hens all recovered in about a month. Survivors remain carriers for 5 months up to a year.
 

dawg53

Humble
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Oxine will treat fungal infections.
Use a regular plastic bottle pump mister from Walmart garden center.
Adjust the nozzle to a "fine mist." Mist over the head of the chicken 3 times a day for 10 days.
Mix 1/8 teaspoon Oxine per gallon of water and fill the empty spray bottle in that manner.
Make a fresh mixture every other day. No need to use the citric acid activator.
https://www.revivalanimal.com/product/oxine-animal-health-ah?sku=15101-801
https://www.shagbarkbantams.com/the-many-uses-of-oxine-ah-animal-health/
 

onthefarmnj

Chirping
Sep 3, 2019
53
50
71
Thank you all for your input. I'm definitely relieved that folks don't seem to think it's gape worm. It seems like I won't really be able to tell for sure what it is though without a vet workup (which I'm not keen on), unless other symptoms develop. Is there any harm to treating with Oxine without first confirming it's a fungal infection, just in case?

They have completely stopped laying. The other adult, which isn't snicking like this one, laid a "mini" egg just before she stopped, but the shell was normal. I haven't cracked it so I don't know if it has a yolk, but I suspect it does not. I don't know if that means anything though.
 

MANNA-PRO

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