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GillC

Swollen ear/cheek but otherwise happy

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Nutmeg is my oldest hen, aged about 5 years. Traditionally queen of the flock, I noticed today that Amber was pecking her as they competed for treats that I had thrown down. This was unusual.

 

Her ears look odd, swollen.the left one is definitely bigger than the right. I posted some photos in my hen blog http://connectedpeasant.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/nutmet-swollen-ear.html. She seems perfectly happy otherwise.

 

I've read through the Chicken health handbook by Gail Damerow but can't see anything obvious that would match. I plan to have a closer look tomorrow in daylight, but I wondered if anybody had had something similar. I have seen chickens peck ones who are a bit poorly which is why I was concerned.

 

Nutmeg has recently moulted and was looking very pale but is improving after a few days of chicken spice in the feed.

 

Has anybody any idea what this might be?

 

Thanks :)

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Could she have a cold? I had a chuck recently with a definitely puffy face - couldn't tell exactly what was puffy :oops: could have been eyes or ears, she also sounded a bit rattly - but like your chuck, perfectly well in herself - I added citricidal to the drinking water (I think an Omlet first aid kit essential!) and also put a small amount of Vicks on her beak (in case of blocked sinus - or the chuck equivalent) ... anyway, the swelling went down, and she is fine now. I'm sure someone more experienced than me will be along to help soon ... good luck!!!

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Thanks,

 

I hadn't thought of the citricide, tho I do have some. When the current downpour stops, I'll pop out and put some in. Made the mistake of letting them out to roam while I tried to clean during a too short sunny break in the showers :doh: and now they are all out in the rain. Great if Nutmeg has a cold (not)!!! :shameonu: . Hopefully she'll have the sense to shelter under the bushes and keep dry.

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It has now been over a month with no sign of improvement. I started reading other forums and read about myco and various other ailments. Nutmeg still seems in fine condition but the swelling looks bad. Also, upon close inspection, she seems to have a swelling on the top of her head and down a bit on her neck.

 

I took her to my vet and blogged it with photos here http://connectedpeasant.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/nutmegs-swollen-face-worsens.html.

 

She has been on Tylan for nearly 4 days now with no change. I've isolated her from the others to ensure that she gets the medicine and the correct dose. What else could it be?

 

My vet has a contact who specialises in chickens (but who lives far away) and took photos of Nutmeg when I was there to email to her friend. If there is no improvement by the end of the course tomorrow, and there is no change whatsoever now, I'll ask her for more advice.

 

Does anybody have any ideas?

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Ah bless poor Nutmeg, that swelling does look pretty bad :(

 

I have no ideas I'm afraid, but I do hope it goes down soon. 5 years is such a good age and she looks like such a lovely chook (I do have a soft spot for our gorgeous black feathered friends :)

 

Sorry I can't help, but didn't want to just read and run as I know how worried you must be.

 

Let us know what the vet comes back with x

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Many thanks for your support. I will phone my vet tomorrow to see if she thinks baytril (stronger than tylan) is worth a try or if I would be best seeking a poultry specialist. Nutmeg is perfectly happy (apart from being a bit lonely to be separated from her two pals, Maud and Amber, who are in an adjacent eglu). But she does look rather misshapen :(

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Not an abscess then? Sort of thinking Wisdom teeth swollen type of thing? Perhaps if she ate something spiky that's caught in her mouth but possibly now healed over apart from the swelling?

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Thanks for the suggestions.

 

Latest update - By Friday she was still no better, so I phoned and was given metacam anti-inflamatory. By Sunday no change so decided to try to find a poultry vet.

 

Took Monday off work and followed up links from forums and phoned around. The closest was 18 miles away. I piled Nutmeg in the car in a cat basket and headed off. The vet gave Nutmeg a very good examination. By this time the lumps on her head and on her neck were definitely prominent. This vet is experienced with exotics and poultry and offered to take an aspiration (suck some stuff out with a needle) and have it analysed. She took samples from all the lumps/swellings. She pointed out that Nutmeg's comb looked a little puffy and looking back over the photos I've taken over the years, she was right - I just hadn't noticed.

 

She's going to phone me tomorrow, Wednesday, with the results. Nutmeg is a good age (5 1/2 yrs). Although it is proving quite expensive, I don't feel that I can just give up on her simply because I don't know what she's got. I need to find out and with luck it will be treatable and she'll be back to her normal robust and healthy self. In herself, she seems absolutely fine. She's a good weight 2.5kg and is eating, drinking and behaving normally. She's a bit irritated that I've got her isolated from her pals, but hopefully that won't be for much longer.

 

Thanks for the kind words and advice. I'll keep posting to the forum because it is always useful to read what happens.

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We have a Buff Orpington of the same age with similar symptoms GillC. Checked the ear for mites or signs of infection. Ruled out a sting and now think it might be an allergy to local conifer tree pollen. She is fine, well normal anyway, otherwise. Not the first time we have had a possible allergy problem. We had the same with an Orpington cock and a Cream Legbar hen. They were all about the same age at 5-6 years old. The Cream Legbar developed scaly skin as well which was treated with E45 cream successfully. Anyway they all went back to normal after a few weeks.

 

I'm interested to hear the results of the tests.

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It is very odd isn't it. At least she is OK in herself and seem too affected by it. Lets hope the vet comes back with a definite diagnosis tomorrow then. Its always better when we know exactly what we're dealing with.

 

Fingers crossed here, let us know when you can x

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Fingers crossed the vet comes back with good news.

 

Well, yes and no.

 

The vet was supposed to call me back on Wednesday with the path lab analysis from each of Nutmeg's 4 lumps. She apologised on Thursday for the delay, but explained that the path lab wanted to run the tests twice to be absolutely sure there had been no mistake. Apparently, there are "reactive lymphocytes", but that they are different in each of the lumps. We chatted on about various things it might be, but really they'd need to open her up to check for tumours inside to be sure. The next step would be a biopsy.

 

Nutmeg is nearly 6 years old. The lumps do not seem to be causing her any problems eating, drinking or breathing. Her comb is bright red and she is behaving totally normally. The most likely scenario is some sort of tumour that is unlikely to respond to treatment, and I don't really want to put Nutmeg through more invasive investigations at this stage in her life.

 

So I decided to leave things as they are. It has already been a few weeks and Nutmeg remains absolutely fine. She even laid an egg! Not sure if the lumps are changing particularly, she certainly isn't. The Vet asked if I would let her have Nutmeg if/when she eventually dies as the path lab are really keen to find out what on earth she has got.

 

I've reintroduced her to her flock and they are happily scratching around in the earth outside. I'm giving her plenty of treats but otherwise treating her the same as all the others.

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Think you are right GillC. Our Buff Orpington still has a swollen face but is laying now. I haven't tried any kind of treatment as that just stresses her out. She must be happy or she would't lay.

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Thanks for the support,

 

I'm happy I did the investigations just to ensure that it wasn't one of the usual suspects, e.g. Myco. I keep an eye on her to be sure it isn't interfering with her eating, but if you could see the speed with which she gulps down treats so s"Ooops, word censored!"s or sweet corn, you'd never believe there was anything amiss :D

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I have a 8 moth old rooster who has a swollen ear lobe so I stumbled on this forum. Have you tried adding oregano, turmeric, a little garlic, and cider vinegar to their water? Oregano is good for chickens in many ways.... turmeric and garlic are anti inflammatory, and cider vinegar is a probitic. They are all safe for chickens, and garlic scares away some mites. My oldest girls are 8 years old, and I love them very much!

 

goodluck!

Laura M.

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When in doubt, please always visit a vet, and don’t start meddling yourself. Any pet owner has a obligation to care for their animal, in sickness and in health.

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I agree with Cat Tails.  I’ve learned enough over the years to be able to cope with minor issues but wounds, respiratory problems need a vet.   The reason is that chickens are flock birds and at risk of attack by predators.  The other members of the flock and predators will seek the weakest out for attack.  So they hide pain and illness till they are on death’s door.  We have to be aware for them and get help for them.   I’d get the vet to check over your rooster if his problem continues for more than 48 hours.  

Edited by Patricia W

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