What is wrong with this poor silkie?


5 Years
Jul 28, 2014
Tampa Bay Area, FL
This poor thing just came into the ER where I work. The owner doesn’t have much information to offer and isn’t sure how long the bird has been sick. It does have red mites and it’s respirations sound wet and gurgley. Periodically, it stretches its neck and gasps. It’s left eye is almost completely shut and the right eye looks pretty rough, too. There is some stool caked on it’s rear, and it’s quite thin. The overnight doctor doesn’t typically see chickens, we typically work with parrots and the like, so while we have some thoughts on this, any input from you pros would be great :)


Jan 1, 2017
Coastal NC
My Coop
I am not a vet!

I have some thoughts though they aren’t all connected.

Question: what do the legs look like? If they appear as though it has scaly leg mites then My first impressions are
Overwhelming mites.

Spread from feet to Ears then face.
“Scaly face mites”
Treat with ivermectin.

Secondary bilateral ear infection (-hardened pus needs to be softened and dug out)
Secondary Eye infection possibly permanent damage from scratching (needs flushing and tx with terramycin ointment)

Needs hydration and electrolyte balance

Is the bird gaping or gasping in that photo?
Does the chest sound clear?

R/o mycoplasma gallisepticum? CRD? Then mite infestation was opportunistic?
Last edited:

Wyorp Rock

Premium Feather Member
Sep 20, 2015
Southern N.C. Mountains
One thing I notice is ear infection. Whether that is from the mites or respiratory disease, it's hard to know.
Any lesions or canker inside the beak?

Hard to know which direction to go. Treat the mites. Ear infection, the pus needs to come out. A couple of drops of peroxide in the ear and work on getting what you can out.
Saline flush the eyes and apply an ophthalmic ointment.
I would go with antibiotics too. Since you don't know the cause, Baytril is probably your best bet on that.

Hopefully someone else like @Eggcessive or @casportpony will chime in too.


Premium Feather Member
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
That poor bird looks in rough shape. I agree with trying to clean the gunk out of the ears. Ear infection can be related to a respiratory disease, ear mites, or fungus. That can be removed as Wyorp Rock has said. The face looks to have either favus, a fungal disease that affects the face, comb, ears, and can spread over the head. But scaly leg mites can be similar as stacyj has said. I would suspect that the legs might appear scaly. Ivermectin is a usual treatment for face mites, and will treat body and leg mites as well. Coconut oil applied to the face may help treat face mites, while miconazole or clotrimazole will treat favus fungus.

Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) a chronic respiratory disease, can be treated with many antibiotics including Baytril, tetracyclines, tylosin, and denagard. Rales and gasping can be signs of that and other diseases, such as coryza and ILT. I would probably use Baytril to cover most anything.

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