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Heavy, laboured breathing?

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Hope someone out there can ease my concerns.


My 'top chick' (Posh) has not laid an egg now for around 3 months - pretty much coincided with our move to a new property that hadn't had time to stock up on 'pickings' for the girls in terms of insects, bugs and general foraging opportunities in the garden (old house garden was established).


Have tried to supplement everyones diet with mixed chickengrit, but they are not keen. Have tried to incorporate same in a mashed potato 'treat' which was partially successful - but much of the grit was left over when the ash was done (it also included crushed eggshells).


Pecks also has had a non laying period (about 3/4 weeks) but is now back in production - albeit with very thin shelled eggs.


Chooklyn (the youngest by 6/7 months - and not Omlet supplied) has shown no signs of restricted egg production - Posh & Pecks are summer 2005 chooks (estimated on basis of delivery from Omlet December 2005). Chooklyn was hatched on 6th July 2006).


Have taken Posh to the vet (not - in my opinion - au fais with poultry, although not totally without knowledge). His recommendation was pretty much that it is difficult to know for sure what is wrong with a chicken until you do a post mortem!!


Not wanting to kill the girl in order to find out what is wrong, if anything, I feel somewhat frustrated.


So to the symptoms. As I have said, no eggs for some time. Her vent looks a little 'raw' and feathers in that area pretty soiled. There seems to be a slight prolapse, though I could be wrong. She also seems to be 'plumper' than her buddies and almost as if her rear end is permanently lowered as if to poop.


I have inserted my own inexperienced finger into her regions and cannot find any suggestion of a blockage - but have to state I'm not sure I would know what I had found if I did find anything.


She is otherwise eating normally, though perhaps not as 'energetic' or mobile as her siblings.


She rests - it seems - more than the others, and this is where the thread started, whilst resting there is a noticeable 'heaving' of her poor frame - complete with opening mouth - as if she is struggling for air. Almost asthmatic!!


So two requests. Firstly does anyone know of a good poultry vet in Buckinghamshire? Secondly, anybody know what might be going on with the poor girl?


She is a pet, so notwithstanding no eggs, I have no desire to end her life. I just want her to be well and enjoying her life, but I am concerned that she might be in pain or suffering in such a way that would mean that I would be helping her if I were to end her suffering by death??

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Hi Gaz


Does it feel as though her abdomen is full of water like a hot water bottle? She sounds very much like Clarry used to be with the laboured breathing, dirty bum, no eggs and fat abdomen. My vets wasn't sure what it was but thought that it was probably sterile peritonitis where the abdomen fills up with non-infected fluid (as opposed to egg peritonitis where the fluid is full of bacteria) for no apparent reason.


Does her comb go dark blue around the edges when she's struggling to breathe? Clarry used to have regular "blue" sessions when there was a lot of fluid in her abdomen as it was squishing her internal organs and putting a strain on her heart. However, she lived through this for 3 years before finally having to be put to sleep after the vet discovered a tumour.


I found this vet in an old copy of Practical Poultry who might know one end of a hen from the other as he's listed in their poultry savvy vets section.


David G Parsons

Poultry Health Centre,

77 The Down, Trowbridge,


BA14 7NG

email:- dgp@poultryhealthcentre.com

mobile and text:- 07811 155387



Good luck with her, Gaz. If she's anything like Clarry, she's a tough old bird and even at the very end when we realised she was going downhill, she didn't seem to be in pain and was still running for treats 2 days before she was put to sleep.

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my hen (like Kates Clarry) also has sterlie peronitis.


She has a swollen bit under her vent (almost squishy balloon like) which is very pink and looks low to the ground and some days it looks more swollen than others. My chook is also prone to a dirty bum sometimes. Her comb goes purple when she lies down (as she is pressing on the swollen area), and she appears to be breathing heavier when she is lied down.


your symptoms sound similar, :think: . My Ella has good days and not so good days, just recently she has been very perky. We tend to give her extra TLC. Believe it or not she very much enjoys a warm bath :lol: which we do in a shallow tubtrug (I think the warm water helps her bum) and then we dry her with the hairdryer. We always keep the vent area clean when she dirties it and use purple antiseptic spray on the swollen bum area to avoid pecking and infection. I've always used poultry spice so that helps aswell. On her "down" days I occasionally put some Avipro into the water and that really helps.


If your hen does have sterile peronitis, with care she should lead a pretty normal life. We dont intend to get our Ella treated at the vet as if they drain the liquid she could get infected and die. So we are carrying on as we are for the time being until the day she's shows us she's not enjoying chicken adventures anymore.


Good luck with your girl. :)

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Yes, although very sad I do think it was the kindest thing to do in the long run. I guess I had better get in touch with Omlet to see if they have any more POL chickens in the next few weeks.


Two new babies might take my mind off the one I lost.....

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I lost one of my chicks today too. Florence the Japanese Bantam. Over the last couple of days. She seemed to be struggling for air and resting alot. Very sad!! Does anyone know where i can get another bantam not necessarily Japanese (but would be nice). Florence's friend Gracie(pekin bantam) who used to be our house chicken, up until a couple of weeks ago as she was hand reared, needs a new friend. Would very much appreciate it if someone knew where to look.





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Hi All


I lost one of mine today too - Vanessa. Same symptoms as listed above. Vanessa stopped laying about a year ago, then lost a lot of weight over Christmas. So took her to the vet where she had some antibiotics, got a bit better, even laid two mini egss (no yolks though) and seemed very happy. But over the last couple of weeks, she put on a lot of weight, which felt like fluid and got a bit unstable on her feet, then over the last couple of days her tail and comb dropped and then started laboured breathing, so took her to the vet this morning fearing the worse. She had put on 1kg of weight since she had been there earlier in the year -all fluid, and the vet said that it was unlikely that she would get better. If they drained the fluid, the cause would still be there, and if she had an operation to remove the blockage, she would most likely not survive the aneasthetic, so reluctantly, I had her put to sleep. So i now have a lonely chicken in the backyard - Karinda, wondering where her friend is and trying to work out what we should do about finding a friend.


If anyone in Worcester needs a good vet for Chickens, Brentknoll surgery was excellent.

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Does anyone know where i can get another bantam not necessarily Japanese (but would be nice). Florence's friend Gracie(pekin bantam) who used to be our house chicken, up until a couple of weeks ago as she was hand reared, needs a new friend. Would very much appreciate it if someone knew where to look.






So sorry to hear about Florence :( . Have you tried emailing Barbara@omlet.co.uk to ask about bantam breeders? She may know of someone in the area where you can find a new friend for Gracie.

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