Silkie with Swollen Lump on Face - Any Ideas?

Enchanted Sunrise Farms

12 Years
Apr 26, 2007
Fair Oaks, California
My silkie hen Morgan has a swollen area under her right eye. It's only on one side. i noticed it two weeks ago for the first time. i took her to the vet and she wanted to put her under anesthesia and do a biopsy to see what it was. She said it is in an area where the sinuses run, so could be an infection, except it is not squishy but more solid. The problem is, the estimate to do this exploratory procedure is almost $500 and we just do not have that right now. i would spend any amount of money i have on my pets, but times have been so tight lately.

i understand my vet wanting to sedate Morgan. What if she starts to bleed and they have to cauterize to stop it. Hard to do with a chicken flipping around. Anyhow, she told me to keep an eye on her and try to save up the money. i'm working on it.

From the time i first noticed the lump until now, i don't think it has changed size or shape significantly. She is eating and drinking and acting normal. i don't see any other symptoms and no other chickens have developed anything similar.

i was reading another thread about someone who purged a lump on their chicken's face. They saw a mark or plug on the bulge - i don't see one on the lump on Morgan's face. So i don't see a spot where i might poke or pick a tiny scab off and access what is inside.

Does anyone have any ideas? Should i treat with some kind of antibiotic in case it is a sinus infection? Any help or advice would be appreciated. i have attached photos below.




There are air filled sinuses all around the eye in most birds, including chickens. It is probably (but not certainly) a plug of bacterial infection (abscess). In birds it is not usually squishy, but more cheesy & hard. She probably need this opened, cleaned out and packed with antibiotic + put on systemic antibiotics to clean up the microscopic infection. Ideally for the bird, yes it is done under anesthesia or sedation, but if you can't afford that route, but still want to work with your regular vet- ask them to aspirate it. If it is an abscess which should be easy to ID on aspirate, it can be opened and cleaned. A silkie can be adequately restrained to do this safely. If your vet works with birds, they know how to restrain safely parrots- which are much more dangerous than a chicken.... if your vet is unwilling to try without general anesthesia (and the expense involved) I recommend seeking a second opinion if you can find another vet willing to take a look at your silkie. If it is a tumor of some sort, then a biopsy is the answer, but external tumors in birds are relatively rare.
Hello all, I have a rooster ~6-7mo. old who recently went through a bout of dry avian pox. His pox are all gone now and he is seeming to feel alot better but his face/comb/wattles are really pale and he has a large, white, hard lump on the right side of his face right near the "jaw" where his upper and lower beaks come together on his "cheek". Any idea what this is and what I can do to help him?
Enchanted: Did your Silkie's swelling ever go down? Did you ever discover what it was?

I have a hen who has exactly the same problem in exactly the same place (came up suddenly about two days ago)-- the swollen place looks just like your hens. My better half is a nurse so we tried lancing it and draining it and in case it was something like staph, I have her on sulfamethiozone (in her water) -- I isolated her. It did not bleed much ( I had a septic pencil waiting), and we got got it to drian some. I held her tight and we did it to her ourselves with her fully conscious. We cleaned it with some alcohol swabs and I applied an antibiotic ointment. Today though, she still had the swelling & I can't tell it is much better but no worse.

She is acting normal otherwise and I haven't noticed any other symptoms.
i took her to my vet. They put her under anesthesia and lanced it. It was an infection in her sinus cavity. They cleaned it out, stitched her up and put her on antibiotics, Baytril to be exact. My vet said she probably could have done it without knocking her out, but wasn't sure what it really was until she got in there. Anyhow, Morgan is doing fine and it hasn't come back.

It sounds like what you did was the right thing, and much cheaper, i imagine.
Hope she does well and recovers completely.
I know this is old but did the vet say what caused this? I had a hen with the exact same thing. We lanced it ourselves and cleaned it out but apparently didn't get all the infection out. Probably due to inexperience. But she eventually died. I searched the internet for solutions and found this today after the fact. I didn't know what else to do nor do we have vets where I live that treats birds.
Even though i answered your question via PM, i'll post here in case anyone else comes searching. My vet believes that Morgan got some substance up her nose, like dirt, and it went into her sinuses and that is how the infection started. So she didn't have a respiratory infection and she had no other symptoms. After the vet cleaned it out and stitched it up, she put her on Baytril for either 10 days or two weeks. Morgan lived three more years then died of cancer. She was a very sweet little silkie and i miss her every day.
Thank you so much for posting this. I am having a similar problem with my pheasant. I am going to try antibiotics.

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