Why does a chicken make gagging movements with mouth?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ellen J., Sep 28, 2010.

  1. Ellen J.

    Ellen J. New Egg

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    Hi all,
    My two chicks sometimes make gagging motions with their mouths. It looks similar to yawning, but they keep doing it over and over again, so it looks more like they are gagging. They don't do this very often--just once in awhile. They act healthy, and I wonder what this means.
    Also, anyone know what it means when a chick twitches it's head when you talk to it? Either I've got bad breath or the chicken is telling me to be quiet! I've had other pet birds do this too, and always wondered what it meant.
    Ellen J.
     
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  2. Yazzo

    Yazzo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Ellen and [​IMG]

    I don't know of any studies about that behavior, but from personal observation, I have a few theories. Don't worry though: it is perfectly normal and doesn't indicate that the chicken is sick. [​IMG]
    There are two kinds of 'yawns' that I know of: the one you're describing, and a sort of yawn-stretch that young roosters do when they're getting ready to crow. Both, I think, are simply stretching. If they do it repeatedly, they may have something stuck on the top of their mouth, or the back of their throat (think of the ol' peanut butter on the top of your mouth thing). They usually stop after a little while, but I would recommend taking a look if they do it for longer than normal.

    As for the shaking head thing: it's something all birds seem to do, and I think you are pretty much on the mark when you say it's telling you you have "bad breath or the chicken is telling me to be quiet"! It's just something they do when it's too loud, or they have tasted something they don't like and are trying to get it off their beaks. Since they don't have hands, they don't have much choice when it comes to covering their ear holes. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  3. Boo-Boo's Mama

    Boo-Boo's Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've read that what looks like yawning (gagging) might be them rearranging things in the crop. FWIW
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Yes, the little feathered piggies are rearranging what they've eaten and is stored in their crops. Perfectly normal behavior.

    I have no clue about the head shaking because I don't think I've seen that behavior.. or noticed it, anyway.
     
  5. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

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    Boo-Boo's Mama :

    I've read that what looks like yawning (gagging) might be them rearranging things in the crop. FWIW

    x2 I think when they yawn like that, they are adjusting food in their crop.​
     
  6. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    You could all be correct in that it's a yawn (and I know you're correct about yawning being a way to rearrange the crop) but sometimes they do something that isn't a yawn and now that I think, does kind of look like gagging. The mouth isn't open very wide and it almost looks like panting (which they also do when really, really hot). But even this is normal.

    Birds can do a head shaking thing when they have something going on in their ears but also when your breath is "tickling" them. Not the smell (hehe) but I mean the very faint breeze that comes out of a person's mouth then they talk. Or nose when not talking. Not sure if I'm making myself clear but try talking to them from a little further away and see if they still do it.
     
  7. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    Boo-Boo's Mama :

    I've read that what looks like yawning (gagging) might be them rearranging things in the crop. FWIW

    Do you know, the cockatiel I use for my picture here is named Boo-boo? hehe I'm Boo-boo's mom too!​
     
  8. Yazzo

    Yazzo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Boo-Boo's Mama :

    I've read that what looks like yawning (gagging) might be them rearranging things in the crop. FWIW

    Really? Interesting.....I was actually thinking somewhere along those lines, but didn't think that was actually what was going on!​
     
  9. LaurelRidgeDreams

    LaurelRidgeDreams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had something similar going on with our pullets this summer. At first, it was just one chicken and then seemed to slowly spread. I thought it might be gape worm. I planned to worm my chickens before they started laying, talked with the vet about what to use in case they did have gape worm, and the vet prepared powdered ivermectin to be mixed in their water. The yawning/head shaking stopped after this.
     
  10. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    What is gape worm?
     

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