Rooster with swollen ear, won't stop drinking

mountaingirl196

Chirping
May 27, 2016
68
57
91
Lamoille, NV, USA
Howdy, all - searched the threads, couldn't find this one addressed so am throwing it out for the brain trust.

My favorite roo (red sex-link, about three years old) showed up at my office door this AM making distressed sounds. It didn't sound like rales, more like he was crying if that makes sense. Was wet all down the front of his body and one of the lobes below his ear was very swollen. I caught him relatively easily and wiped him off a bit, put him in a pet cage in my office bathroom so I can keep an eye on him. Food and water with electrolytes.

He has been in there for about two hours now and hasn't stopped drinking. Literally. So far he's gone through most of a quart of the electrolyte water. He stopped making the crying sound pretty much as soon as I caught him, although (interestingly) I played a chicken video while searching for a solution to this and he started making that sound when he heard the hens in the video. His breathing is quiet.

None of his hens are showing any signs of trouble.

I have about 100 laying breed birds that free range on 20 acres and have free-choice access to food and water and anything else they can chase down. He is the oldest of my roos and has been the alpha in a coop with about 35 hens and a younger roo. There are about eight roos total in this group of birds that range together, out of three separate coops.

Ideas? He must be slightly depressed if I was able to catch him at all, he is NOT a cuddly chicken. But he is active enough in the pet pen for the moment, certainly isn't acting like he is at death's door.

Thanks for help. SUE

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mountaingirl196

Chirping
May 27, 2016
68
57
91
Lamoille, NV, USA
Update - not sure if he ingested some of the water from drinking so quickly, but he is down to about the last tablespoon of water from the quart and now his breathing is sounding somewhat congested occasionally.
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
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35,679
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Southern N.C. Mountains
Have your chickens ever had symptoms of MG since you dealt with it in your Turkeys?

Is he pooping too? He's drank almost a quart of water - is that not spilling back out of his crop?

Look inside his beak - any obstruction inside, any canker, mucous, white/yellow cheesy material?
Look inside his ear - any pus, discharge or debris from mites/lice?
 

micstrachan

Free Ranging
Premium member
Apr 10, 2016
6,178
11,898
737
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Is the water passing through him and coming out as watery poop? Is it collecting in his abdomen? I think he was all wet because he was drinking excessively before he came to you for help. This might be WAY out there, but do you think he could have ingested something that pierced/perforated his crop or another area of his GI tract?

Is his earlobe always that color? It lookas like it could have favus, but I don’t think that would explain his other symptoms.
 

mountaingirl196

Chirping
May 27, 2016
68
57
91
Lamoille, NV, USA
I lost a hen in early 2018 to an upper respiratory infection of some type. 2020 hindsight says it may have been MG, but she didn’t have the characteristic bubbly eyes, nasal discharge, etc. And it took her about three weeks to die, my poor turkeys went from symptomatic to dead in hours. Of course, it is a lot more lethal in turkeys.

This looks very different in that there is no swelling in sinuses, no discharge, etc.

I’ve never noticed his ear lobes before, but I can get hands on one of his sons tomorrow and look at their ears. He has always wanted to be admired from afar, as it were.

He is sleeping now so I will let him be. I saw a normal looking poop in the cage earlier today, we will see what all this water does. Imagine I will be looking at a mess. I couldn’t locate his ear opening earlier today with the swelling, will try again tomorrow.

I hope he pulls through, you’re not supposed to have favorite “kids” but this one has always had a soft spot with me.
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
27,040
35,679
1,182
Southern N.C. Mountains
I’ve never noticed his ear lobes before, but I can get hands on one of his sons tomorrow and look at their ears. He has always wanted to be admired from afar, as it were.
Unless the earlobes are powdery/crusty, then likely the white is color leakage.
It does look like he has a few scabs on the earlobe, but I would definitely try to get a look inside the ear when possible. Look around all of the earlobe (behind and underneath it too) for a source of the swelling - even a small injury/puncture is a possibility.
What does the swelling feel like? Hard or fluid filled?
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mountaingirl196

Chirping
May 27, 2016
68
57
91
Lamoille, NV, USA
There are three widely spaced water access points as well as puddles and snow banks, not likely that he was denied water. No additives.

The swelling is firm. Not bony but you definitely have to push a little to dent it.

At no point has he exhibited pain, including when I was pushing on his ear lobe.

None of the hens appear to have scabs on their combs, etc, just a couple of Roos. Figured it’s from fighting, although I did look up fowl pox when I was trying to figure this out. I have no way of ruling it out but it doesn’t explain the sound or drinking.
 

mountaingirl196

Chirping
May 27, 2016
68
57
91
Lamoille, NV, USA
Just went and woke him up, poor sleepy guy.

Nothing untoward with either ear. A pretty good sized scab on the non swollen lobe.

He does have what looks to be a feather injury on one of his wings, and I’m almost wondering now if he didn’t lose a fight. I almost never see those guys fighting each other, but I’ve been out of town for a week and a half and I wonder if he didn’t tangle with something while I was gone, or if one of the younger Roos decided it was his turn to be the Cock of the Walk. Injury isn’t new, looks a few days old at least.

Poops look normal. Inside of beak normal.
 

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