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Author Topic: Chicken with swollen head  (Read 865 times)


  • Joined Sep 2022
Chicken with swollen head
« on: May 12, 2023, 11:45:08 am »
Hi everyone Ö hoping someone can give me some advice .. I have 3 pol buff Orpingtonís . I noticed today that one of them has a swollen head -her eyes are also looking smaller/ less open .. sheís eating fine & behaving as normal.

Any ideas what this could be ?
Many thanks


  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Chicken with swollen head
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2023, 01:28:34 pm »
Avian flu can present with a swollen head. However if she otherwise ok and still eating and alert then a mycoplasma type infection is my guess - the swelling is from blocked sinuses. Is she sneezing and/or are there bubbles at the corner of the eyes? Presume colour of comb and wattles is normal?

If she goes downhill suddenly and/or dies you should report it as a possible case of avian flu.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Chicken with swollen head
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2023, 01:58:01 pm »
Years ago we had something similar where a hen's head was swollen and stretched her eyes.  It was caused by her eating earthworms (she had been 'helping' in the garden for a few days)  Presumably the earthworms were carrying either a parasite or a bacterium. She died.  Sorry, that's unhelpful really.
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  • Joined Nov 2017
Re: Chicken with swollen head
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2023, 02:36:10 pm »
i only reply cos of the breed. about 15 years ago i had a Buff cock who had a swollen eye- well the skin around the eye (was only one one side as far as i remember) After weeks of mycoplasmand other bacteria related treatments not working the vet took him in and operated- seemed to be a tumor. Sadly he was put down some weeks later as the swelling returned. Maybe any Buff Orp Soc memebers might be able to say if this breed is known for tumors....?


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Chicken with swollen head
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2023, 11:47:07 pm »
A friend of mine had a hen with very similar symptoms - swollen head and eye half closed. Took it to the vet and got some antibiotics, and in a couple of days it was fine again.
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  • Joined Sep 2022
Re: Chicken with swollen head
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2023, 01:56:02 pm »
Thank you for all your responses . This morning I found her covered in blood and  the lump on on one side of her comb has disappeared / burst . The other is still there .   I have cleaned her up and applied purple spray , she seems her normal self .
Just waiting for a call back off my vet as they donít usually see chickens


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Chicken with swollen head
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2023, 03:09:15 pm »
She's very pale, so must have lost a lot of blood. Hope the vet has some answers?


  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Chicken with swollen head
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2023, 08:45:49 pm »
Agree with Chris, she's very pale, and does not look like a healthy hen to me. What is her weight like? Is there any evidence of parasites either on her or in the hen house? (I'm thinking maybe Northern Fowl mite or red mite). Presume the other hens look more normal with redder combs? You say they are POL, did you rear them yourself or buy them in?


  • Joined Sep 2022
Re: Chicken with swollen head
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2023, 09:55:49 pm »
Thank you both for your replies .

I purchased them this year as pol birds and the other two are doing fine . No signs of mites etc .
The picture was taken before I cleaned her up and once I managed to take a good look at her it looks like the cyst or whatever it is had burst and thatís where the blood had come from .
There was as also splatters of blood all over the coop(the roof , walls and on other birds)  so I imagine it must have burst
The odd thing is there is still a lump on the other side of her comb. 
Iíve found a vet who should be able to see her tomorrow .


  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Chicken with swollen head
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2023, 08:27:52 am »
The blood splatters could be from her shaking her head due to discomfort. Anyway, glad you're getting her checked out - do update us once she has seen the vet.


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