Sick Wheezing Chicken


Can you tell me what's going on with my sick wheezing chicken:

Her comb has turned dark red, which makes me think she isn't getting enough oxygen. She doesn't eat much and is lethargic. She's had this condition for over a month, and is getting progressively worse.

She now makes a nasty "throat clearing" sound, and her breathing is more and more labored; she's wheezing with every exhale.

I felt along the front of her throat and where I think the crop is, but didn't feel anything bloated- in fact, she feels really thin.

Is this an impacted crop, or a respiratory disease? the other chickens haven't gotten it, whatever it is.

I don't know what kind of chicken she is- white with a red comb!

There are 16 chickens in the flock. All the chickens are almost a year old.
We use raw, not-all-the-way-composted compost as litter on the coop floor.

We feed them a mixture of grains from a local grain distributor plus food scraps from the grocery store and from home.

We try not to give them moldy stuff, and clean out their coop when the floor gets a little gross. We clean out their water every day or so. What do you think?

A darker red comb could be a sign of fever and increased blood flow. Lack of oxygen would cause
a more pale red or pink.

It does sound like a respiratory infection. She should be separated from the flock and kept warm with a poultry heat lamp. At this point she should get an antibiotic. You can find one at the feed store.

Look for one that best matches her symptoms. Follow the directions. Give her probiotics as well, available at the feed store, to re balance her digestive system and help her absorb nutrients from her feed. Antibiotics can kill good digestive bacteria.

Using raw compost in the coop is not a good idea. Chickens produce enough raw compost on their own with clean litter.

The coop should be kept as dry and clean as possible, changing floor litter when it becomes more wet than dry.

Raw compost can cause a build up of gasses as it decays, which can irritate airways and result in infection.

Dirty litter from the coop floor makes excellent compost and fertilizer. There is little danger in chickens scratching through this, or other composting materials, in the open air.

She is a strong hen to have survived a month with this condition. I hope you can act quickly to treat her or get her to a vet to determine exactly what is causing this.

Breathing problems are life threatening, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Return to Raising Chickens Home Page

Comments for Sick Wheezing Chicken

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Maybe Gapeworm?
by: Anonymous

Sounds like she may have worms - gapeworm shows all the symptoms you have described. I would worm all your flock with the correct medication for gapeworm.

by: Anonymous

Can humans catch sickness from wheezing respiratory chickens

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Chicken health questions.

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.
Custom Search