Today my chicken is wheezing and she has a sort of tick like movement


In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 4, 2010
Yesterday I noticed she was coughing or sneezing. So today I managed to catch her (she is fast) and seperate her from the rest of my girls. I noticed she has a sort of wheezing to her breathing and also she shakes her head alot. I tried to look for lice or mites but could not really see anything plus she was not very happy about being captured. I got this chicken about 6 months ago, she was rescued from a forclosed farm and that started my chicken habit. I am still very new to this whole chicken thing so any advise would be greatly appreciated. I'm totally loving my new chicken life and worry that she will get worse. I went to the feed store and they told me to put tetracycline in her water, but I'm not too fond of using antibiotics especially when I dont even know what I am treating. Please help if you can:(
My gut reaction is gapeworm, which can be cured quickly with Ivermectin (easy to get at feedstores). It is a worm that attaches itself to the trachea (breathing tube) in the chicken, and causes gasping and head shaking. I'm not sure of the dose to give her, hopefully you can search this site for it, it is a relatively common problem.

Are her eyes and nostrils clear? No discharge from them? No swelling in the facial skin? You didn't mention it, so I assume it's not happening. That's why I thought of gapeworm. Good luck!
I replied to your other post on this bird, but wanted to respond to this post, specifically regarding your statement:

"I went to the feed store and they told me to put tetracycline in her water, but I'm not too fond of using antibiotics especially when I don't even know what I am treating."

I can tell you that there are a lot of folks on BYC who espouse a similar view. However, there are others (like me) who weigh the risks of doing nothing and ending up with a dead bird over giving antibiotics that may just solve the problem. I have a wonderful Vet that I have turned to countless times over the past 40 years to treat my pets and he's been very frank in explaining that fairly often his making a diagnosis is a matter of educated guesswork. Those times when he has not been able to say with confidence what is wrong with my pet, he has administered what he calls his "magic shot." It consists of a broad spectrum antibiotic and a steroid. It never ceases to amaze me how often that resolves the symptoms and neither he nor I ever do figure out exactly what caused them to begin with. That doesn't really matter to me. All I care about is getting my pet well as soon as possible. So, while I respect your more conservative viewpoint on the use of antibiotics, I don't think it hurts for you to consider a different viewpoint and a more aggressive approach to treating your ailing bird.

On the other thread I suggested worming (based upon the conditions in which your hen was living) and also suggested that you give your hen a course of antibiotics if she didn't show pretty rapid improvement after worming. The another option is to seek a professional diagnosis from your Vet. Whatever you do, you can help others here on BYC learn from your experience by posting updates to this thread.

I hope all goes well for you and your hen.
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Thanks for your response. It is so frustrating to not know the correct course of action. I just want her well. Last night I went to check on her and there was what appeared to be an egg sac (very thin egg shell) and she had what looked like egg yolk on her face. I have never seen this before either. I put some Ivomec on some scrambled eggs earlier in the day but she is slow to eat. Would it be a bad idea to use the antiobiotic in her water even though I have put Ivomec on her food? I dont want to over do it but I dont want her to be sick either.
I would draw up the required dose of Ivomec in a syringe (no needle) or an eye dropper and put it right into her mouth so that you can be sure she's getting an effective amount of wormer regardless how much she eats or drinks. As to whether or not you give antibiotics at the same time...I would make that judgment based upon the condition of my hen. If she's still eating, drinking, and moving around, I think I'd wait for a couple of days to see if the wormer takes care of the problem. If she's off her feed, lethargic, sleeping a lot, and clearly going downhill, I would probably give her antibiotics, too, sort of the double barrel shotgun approach. If you have this hen separated, you might try substituting Pedialyte for her water supply for a few days and add the antibiotics to that.

BTW: laying a no-shell egg adds another dimension to this situation. Do a search on "internal lay" or "no shell egg." Antibiotics are often used for chickens going through this because they can easily become infected if any of the egg contents remain in the cloaca. And, you are so right, it IS extremely hard for all of us when our animals get sick and we have to go through this guessing game. We all worry that we're not doing the right thing. If you can afford a vet bill for a pet chicken, you might get more peace of mind seeking the advice of a professional.
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Thanks for the info. I gave her the Ivomec and I did start her on the antibiotics. I put it in her water and she seems to be doing okay although I can still hear a wheezing sound. It has only been 2 days tho, so I am keeping her away from the rest of the girls. I was unlucky enough to also find what I think are lice, so I am also treating everyone for that. She is eating pretty well and seems active, tho she is in a pretty small cage right now. I'll keep you all posted.
Does anyone know if she did have gapeworm would she poop them out once they died? Her poop is not runny or anything and I guess looks as good as chicken poop can look, not abnormal. I heard Eucalyptus oil diluted in water is a good home remedy for lice so I'm gonna try it. I also heard diatamaceous earth is good to sprinkle around the coop. Ill try that too. So much to learn, my head is spinning. It seems the more I read the more I think she must have some other ailment. I think patience is in order here!
You've got too much on your plate to mess around with remedies that may or may not work. Pyrethrin powder and Sevin (carbaryl) dust are proven effective in treating both lice and mites. Save your time, save your money, and save anymore stress on your bird by using what is tested, tried and proven. Here's a link with info on lice and mites that you may find helpful.

Be sure to treat your flock at least twice, the second time about 10-12 days later.

ETA: I use DE liberally in and around the coop and dust bath areas as a preventative, but if I see any infestation, I go for the products noted above.
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This morning I went and checked on her and she is still wheezing pretty heavily. She is eating and standing and overall looks pretty good. She did lay another egg, and this time it was perfect, unlike the soft shell egg she laid the other day. I have been putting antibiotics in her water dish for 3 days now. How long does it take for the drugs to work? I also gave her some Ivomec. This is the second time I have given it to her in 5 days. I am hoping for some improvement in the next day or so. I dont want to put her back with the other girls till I know for sure she is well. Any ideas on how long this may take?
My 6 year old bantam cochin hen started wheezing suddenly this morning. I took her to the vet, since I was concerned about contagion. He did a throat culture and an exam and will have the results back on Monday. He started her on Baytril, an antibiotic. She is wheezing on inspiration and expiration. She may have a piece of corn or something stuck in her trachea. The wheezing got really bad tonight, and really labored, and so I took a chance and gave her a very small amount of my little dog's prednisone, thinking that if a foreign body was in there, it would ease the swelling and maybe allow her to get rid of it. Within a few hours, the wheezing stopped and she is eating and looking normal. Of course, if something is still in there, it will probably worsen again. I also gave her a few drops of invermectin by mouth, as I do a couple times a year anyway. I have not had a sick chicken in almost 20 years! They die of old age, one lived to be 15. I have a small flock, and the reason I was worried about contagion is because I am taking care of a couple of new silkie hens for a friend. They are in a separate pen, but who knows? Hope you all keep posting about your outcomes. Glee in Calif.
Could someone answer a question for me?
I am brand new!
We have chickens, lots of them, but are new to keeping them. Only had them a few years and have never really faced sickly ones.
Our favorite bantum hen, Gracie Mae, had a tick on her face/neck area. My son removed it and noticed her face and neck are swollen and she was sort of gasping, like she had something in her throat. She has plenty of spunk, and has stopped the gasping after he gave her water. I have never known of chickens having ticks on them. I know they will cause a dog to swell up, so I am hoping that since it is removed, she will be fine. Any advice or anyone who has experienced this before? Thanks a bunch. She is a fine hen, I would hate not to take care of her. She has provided many chicks for us to enjoy and admire! Thanks, Audrajean

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