Wheezing bird

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PatS, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    Hello, Everyone. One of my five "teenage" (18 week-old) buff orpington chickens began wheezing badly Friday night. (Very loud wheeze on both the breath in and the breath out, with her mouth open.) She also occasionally made a "hic" sound that may have been a sneeze, a cough, or a hiccup. She was shaking her head, like a swimmer with water in his ear. We were scheduled to leave for an overnight trip the next morning, so we brought her in the house and set up a little pen so she would be separated from the rest of the flock (her 4 clutchmates, 4 birds five weeks older, and seven almost year-and-a-half-old hens). We came back Sunday afternoon and she still had a wheeze, although it was much quieter. We moved her to a pen outside.

    The other birds all free range during the day and sleep in a coop at night. There is a lino floor covered with pine shavings. I scoop out the poop several times a week and add shavings. For a chicken house it is pretty clean, with a slight poopy smell some days, but not ammonia-like. There is a run, but the chickens don't spend much time in it, preferring the big yard. I did add new straw to the nest boxes last week, but this girl isn't laying yet, so I don't think it affected her. They eat lay pellets, with cracked corn and food scraps as treats, plus all the grass and bugs they want.

    There is no sign of a discharge, Her eyes are clear and bright. She has a good appetite. Her energy level seems okay. Judging by the bits of food that end up in the waterer, she drinks, though I haven't seen her do it. The only sign of illness is the labored breathing and wheezing, which seems to be improving. The hiccuping noise is rare now, and the head shaking is almost gone.

    This bird has always has a funny "voice." She honks.

    I've butchered a couple of birds who were several weeks older and did not see anything unusual in their windpipe or throats. (Thinking gape worms.)

    As the wheezing seems to be getting better, I am wondering what I should do. I have given her no meds, just a few drops of GSE in her water when she was in the house for a day and a half. How long should she be kept in the pen? No one else is wheezing. There is the stress of being one of the youngest birds, but she has all her feathers (unlike the molting mamas!) Any advice???
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio

    I've seen this a few times with my own hens. I sucessfully treated them with some Duramayacin in their drinking water, along with some vitamins/electrolites in the drinking water as well. It's a powder, and you can use 2 tsp per gallon of water. It worked perfectly. I believe I gave it to my hen for about 10 days. What you describe sounds like a respiratory illness. Kind of like a cold, but different.

    Good luck to you! I'll bet she recovers nicely.
  3. tryxichicks

    tryxichicks Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 25, 2010
    my 6mo old buff was doing the exact same thing. The vet thinks gapeworms, as do I. Just keep a close eye on her, they can cause suffocation. With my hen who is about 5 and a half pounds the Avian specialist vet told me to treat her with 0.1ml of 1.87% Ivermectin paste. Its very dependent upon weight, so if you want this vets number they are more than helpful with dosing questions over the phone. I'll be happy to give it to you just let me know. Good Luck!
  4. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    She is doing about the same as yesterday. I did put a little doggie carrier in the pen as it went a bit below 40 last night and I wanted her to have the choice between the carrier and a roost.

    I went through a list of respiratory illnesses and her symptoms don't really fit anything -- no facial swelling or discharge at all. So my question is, with duramyacin and ivermectin, what sort of withdrawal is needed prior to eating eggs or meat? A friend uses ivermectin for external parasites, so I am somewhat familiar with that, although she injects. With the paste, how do you administer? Is once enough? Did you see evidence of worms after treating?

    Thanks for your help, Fellow Chicken-lovers!

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