Swelling, maybe air pocket?

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8 Years
Mar 13, 2011
I have a 3 week old EE chick with swelling on it's left side. The whole left side looks blown up like a balloon and is pushing the wing out a bit. When I put pressure on the swelling, it gave like a balloon, so I'm pretty sure it's filled with air, and not fluid. When the chick breathes out, it makes a raspy sound. Any ideas on what this could be? I was thinking of taking a syringe with a needle, and trying to suck some of the air out, but if the air is coming from it's lungs, I wouldn't want to hurt it or potentially make the problem worse.
I've had this happen two times. Once with a poult and once with a sick wyandotte.

The poult didnt seem to be sick other than the enormous air bubble. I asked a friend who is a vet and he didnt seem to have any clue what I was talking about - I guess he doesn't know much about birds.
I popped the air bubble with a sterile needle several times and eventually it just went away. I dont know if the popping helped it heal, but it did make the bird more comfortable.

In the second case, the wyandotte had symptoms of a respiratory infection. I gave her some tylan 50 and didn't pop the bubble - and the next day I couldnt tell her from any of the other hens.

With the raspy sound you described, I'm willing to bet your bird has some form of respiratory infection and may need antibiotics to recover. Act quick, because a sick bird can be a dead bird in a day or two if left untreated.
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I'm pretty sure it's not sour crop - the crop doesn't seem to be swollen at all. I will check it's breath, though, just in case. Also, the chick seems perfectly normal, aside from the big air bubble. It's still active, and eating, drinking, and pooping. Here's some pictures, hopefully they will help.


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That looks much like what happened to my turkey. His air sac was so inflated that his wings stuck out. If he seems uncomfortable its OK to drain it - preferably with a surgical knife or some other sterile instrument. You can't just pop it like a balloon due to the elasticity of the skin - you'll need to make a small incision to get the air out. There likely won't be any blood if you cut it in the right spot.

Use alcohol, or more ideally, betadine, to clean the opening and prevent infection.
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