Respiratory Infection? HELP!

Chickenlover8814

In the Brooder
Jun 20, 2018
19
10
37
Hi everyone,
I just went outside to water our flock of seven hens, and noticed that our 4 year old Dominique hen Star, was breathing unnaturally loud and hard. I am extremely worried as I've never had this problem with any chickens before. I have absolutely no ideas as to what can cause this and/or how to treat it. She is currently still outside, as I didn't want to stress her out. She is drinking normally and otherwise looks fine except for the loud rasps. She is mid-molt right now and I don't know if this can cause symptoms? This seems very recent to me but maybe I just haven't noticed it for a few hours. If anybody know how I should proceed with this situation please let me know! Thanks in advance! :fl
PS- She is the hen in my profile pic
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,293
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Colorado Rockies
If this came on very suddenly, it could be she swallowed something that is stuck in her throat or tongue or crop. So the first thing to do is to bring her in where it's light and have someone hold her firmly while you pry open her mouth to look inside with a flashlight for a foreign object. Is her mouth clear inside or do you see yellow waxy buildup?

You'd be surprised what chickens can end up swallowing. But next, feel her crop. Is it full, or lumpy, or do you feel anything that shouldn't belong?

Next is the possibility of a respiratory disease. Check ears, eyes, and beak for any runny or bubbly discharge or waxy substance.

Another possibility is a crop disorder. You need to check the crop first thing in the morning to be sure it's flat and empty. A full crop in the morning before a chicken eats or drinks can back up into the airway and cause wheezing and rattling.

Last, an avian virus can cause tumors on lungs, heart and other organs and cause pulmonary/cardiac problems. Is her comb a normal red or pink or is it grey or purplish? Have you ever had any chickens die for mysterious reasons?

The best thing for you and your chicken is to bring her inside so you can examine her and monitor her overnight and tomorrow. You need to report back here on her poop and overall behavior and anything you've discovered in your exam of her. We might then be able to help you to help her.
 

chicknmania

Free Ranging
14 Years
Jan 26, 2007
5,845
1,215
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central Ohio
Above is all good advice. Make sure you keep her separated from the flock until you know what's wrong, in a dog crate or separate cage or pen. She needs warmth and privacy. As I always say, if you can keep her somewhere where she's warm and quiet and separate but can still hear or see her friends, that's the best, because I think it's a lot less stressful for her to know her friends are nearby.

A nasty avian virus that can cause loud breathing is called ILT (infectious laryngeotracheitis) (sp). Fortunately it's not too common but it's very contagious and is often carried by migrating birds. Make sure that her eyes are clear and bright and that there's no swelling on her face or eyes, and no noticeable odor on her breath. Look in her mouth for lesions too, yellowish patches in her mouth or throat, which might be canker. Lastly, SOMETIMES she might resolve it herself, and of course, that's the best case scenario. We had one chicken a year or two that sounded like that; it was very scary, but in a few hours, or less than a day anyway, the problem was gone, so obviously it was just something caught in the birds' throat that it was able to dislodge itself.

Please keep us posted with what you find.
 

Chickenlover8814

In the Brooder
Jun 20, 2018
19
10
37
Earlier today, when I first found the problem, I checked down her face. She had no discharge or noticeable swelling. I did not check her throat, as she started breathing harder and seemed to have louder wheezing, and I did not further want to stress her out. She currently is in the coop, and managed to get up on her favorite high perch, she was still wheezing although it was quieter than earlier. This afternoon I also felt her crop, it felt mushy, with no particularly lumpy feel to it.

Unfortunately, in early October one of our other older hens died, we still are unsure as to what happened although we strongly suspect the dog accidently did it :hit. When I ran outside, I found her frantically trying to get up with blood coming out of her mouth, she died within 10 seconds or so, and the only signs of trauma I could find were a small cut on her back and a handful of missing feathers. I don't know if these are deidies symptoms, but all the other birds have been healthy since. I will update again in the morning! Thank you for replying so fast!
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
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Southern N.C. Mountains
Earlier today, when I first found the problem, I checked down her face. She had no discharge or noticeable swelling. I did not check her throat, as she started breathing harder and seemed to have louder wheezing, and I did not further want to stress her out. She currently is in the coop, and managed to get up on her favorite high perch, she was still wheezing although it was quieter than earlier. This afternoon I also felt her crop, it felt mushy, with no particularly lumpy feel to it.

Unfortunately, in early October one of our other older hens died, we still are unsure as to what happened although we strongly suspect the dog accidently did it :hit. When I ran outside, I found her frantically trying to get up with blood coming out of her mouth, she died within 10 seconds or so, and the only signs of trauma I could find were a small cut on her back and a handful of missing feathers. I don't know if these are deidies symptoms, but all the other birds have been healthy since. I will update again in the morning! Thank you for replying so fast!
I would re-check the crop to make sure it has emptied by morning.
Also was she laying eggs normally before she started molting?
Feel her abdomen for any bloat/swelling or feeling of fluid and while your at it examine for for any lice/mites.
Photos of your hen and her poop or a video may be helpful.
 

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