Apr 17, 2018
Last night (about 9 pm) when locking up my birds I noticed one Hen (golden comet) was laboring to breathe and had a little bit of a rattle. She had no discharge from her eyes or nose, no swelling anywhere, her wattles and combs looked nice and red. She coughed one good time and the rattle disappeared but she still was breathing heavily. I separated her from the other chickens and figured I'd get to work treating her in the morning. Well she died in the night (kinda figured she would). No other chickens are showing symptoms or acting off in any way. Does this sound like a respiratory infection or does it sound like aspiration of some kind? Gapeworm?? I originally thought IB (Infectious bronchitis) but now I don't know because she died very quickly. Other chickens have rooster booster and ACV in their water today and I'll be getting Vet RX to help them out, but does anyone have any experience with this? With the Covid pandemic I don't think Cornell will take her for a necropsy. Thanks for any info you have!


Premium Feather Member
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
I would contact Cornell about a necropsy just in case. They be able to email you a prepaid label for overnight shipping. Sorry for your loss. A necropsy is the best way to know what was gojng on with her. Some conditions, such as ascites or internal laying, can cause labored breathing in hens. If you cannot get a necropsy, I would try to do one at home. Take pictures of the organs if you do one, and post here. Gapeworm is very rare, and your bet could do a fecal test on some droppings to look for that. Infectious bronchitis causes frequent sneezing, and usually affects a number of the flock at once.


Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
California's Redwood Coast
Hi there, sorry for your loss. :(

Labored breathing is a sign of organ failure and not respiratory illness in SOME instances... so knowing all your symptoms, you can decide what you think. Doesn't sound respiratory to ME.

Skip the VetRx.. its just vicks vapor rub and will do nothing to heal a bird. It MIGHT in some instances offer relief.. Meh!

Rooster Booster is a brand and they make many products with hugely different formulations and purposes.. Poultry Cell will support immune health while electrolytes *may* only benefit a dehydrated bird. B vitamins are always a bonus. NO supplement should be given more than 10 days in a row.

Sex links are known for their early onset of reproductive disorders including cancerous tumors and more. Depending on where she was at and how she was acting... even egg binding.

Gape worm is very rare. I would NOT suspect it.

Things to consider.. her age, any recent additions of new birds or how long have you had her and where she came from, when was her last egg, regular diet and treat amounts?

Are you able to consider doing a home necropsy? There are many knowledgeable folks who will look at all the photos and help detect what COULD have been the issue or rule out certain things. Some things like liver issues or internal laying can be very obvious.

Make contact with Cornell instead of presuming they aren't taking birds for necropsy... IF it's important for you to know what she passes from.


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