Why Does My Baby Chick Keep Opening Its Mouth?
If your baby chicks keep opening their mouths for an extended time, you have every reason to worry. Mouth opening might seem perfectly normal in baby chicks. However, your baby chicks could be having a health problem that needs a vet’s intervention if they keep opening their mouths.
You should establish why your baby chicks constantly keep their mouths open even when they aren’t necessarily feeding.
6 Reasons Baby Chickens Keep Opening Their Beak
Baby chicks keep opening their beaks for various reasons. For example, your baby chickens could keep their mouths open for hours due to high temperatures, respiratory problems, or possibly because of having an impacted crop.
– High Temperature
Baby chicks go through heat stress, particularly in summer. If your chicks keep opening their beaks in summer, it is apparent they are getting too hot, and they have to keep their beaks open while panting to relieve the extreme heat from their bodies.
Besides keeping their beaks open due to high temperatures, your baby chickens can also spread their wings, develop pale cones and wattles and also close their eyes frequently throughout the day due to heat stress.
Fortunately, you can keep your baby chicks cold during hot weather to stop them from keeping their beaks open. First, provide the baby chicks with plenty of cold water and ensure you have more than one water source to ensure every baby chick in the flock has access to cold water.
You can also purchase a water mister to help keep the baby chicks cool by spraying them with a cooling mist in summer. Alternatively, you can install a fan in your baby chicks’ coop to cool the air inside the coop.
– Impacted Crop
An impacted crop can make your baby chickens walk around with their beaks open. Baby chicks get an impacted crop when their crops get packed with massive quantities of food they can’t digest.
For instance, your baby chicks can have an impacted crop if their crops are full of hard-to-digest materials such as hay and rigid plant material. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to deal with an impacted crop yourself.
If you suspect the baby chicks are keeping their beaks in distress because of having an impacted crop, kindly talk to a vet. The vet will conduct investigations and tests to establish what affects your baby chicks’ crop.
In addition, the vet will decide what they can do to deal with the impacted crop. You can save your baby chicks from getting an impacted crop by being mindful of what you give to your birds. Avoid providing the baby chickens with rigid food items such as hard feed or pellets.
– Throat Irritation
Baby chicks can also keep their beaks open in distress due to throat irritation. Backyard baby chickens are highly vulnerable to throat irritation because they pick up contaminated material while foraging in your backyard. This toxic material could be fungal, bacterial, or food items with corrosive chemicals.
Like us humans, baby chickens can occasionally swallow things that give them throat irritation. Unfortunately, baby chicks and chickens, in general, have a complex throat layout that makes it hard for baby chicks to expel objects that irritate their throats.
As a chicken owner, you can’t reach your baby chicks’ throat and remove the thing causing throat irritation. This is because your baby chicks’ throats and mouths are too tiny to accommodate your fingers.
Therefore you need to make a trip to your vet, where the vet will x-ray your baby chickens to detect the irritating objects in their throats. Your vet will then decide which action they will take to deal with the throat irritation. Alternatively, try giving your baby chickens some olive oil using a dropper bottle to soothe their throats.
– Respiratory Problem
Respiratory problems such as infectious bronchitis can make your baby chicks keep their beaks open. Since baby chickens have weaker respiratory systems than adult chickens, respiratory problems are more common in baby chickens than in adult chickens.
Having a respiratory problem makes it hard for baby chicks to breathe. Your baby chicks will use their mouths for breathing if they have a respiratory problem. They will therefore keep their beaks open as they struggle to breathe.
Unfortunately, respiratory problems are among the most challenging health problems to deal with since chicken owners can’t diagnose a respiratory problem in their baby chicks. Worst still, most respiratory problems are highly infectious, and they can spread from one baby chicken to the other.
The surest solution to stopping your baby chickens from keeping their mouths open due to having a respiratory disorder is ultimately calling in a vet to examine your chicks.
Keep the affected baby chickens away from the rest flock members lest the affected birds spread the highly infectious respiratory disease to the healthy birds. Try buying some antibiotics as soon as you examine any symptoms of respiratory illness in your baby chickens.
Don’t forget to vaccinate all the baby chicks in the flock before they show signs of severe respiratory problems.
– Chicken is Yawning
Whenever your baby chicks keep opening their beaks, it doesn’t necessarily imply your birds have a health problem. It could be because they are yawning. Your baby chicks could be yawning if they are hungry. Baby chicks also yawn when they are thirsty. Like adult chickens, baby chickens also yawn when they want to adjust their crops.
Baby chicks that constantly feed on dry feed are likely to yawn in an attempt to adjust their crops. Yawning is a natural process for baby chicks. The process has nothing to do with illness.
Fortunately, you can identify when your baby chicks keep their beaks open due to yawning. In such a case, your baby chickens won’t show any signs of diseases, and the yawning won’t persist for long.
Chicken keepers can stop their baby chickens from keeping their beaks open due to yawning. Give your chicks enough water and food to prevent them from yawning due to hunger and thirst. Give your baby chickens softer food to stop them from yawning as they struggle to adjust their crops.
If you must feed your baby chickens with dry feed, ensure there is water around lest the birds start yawning as they struggle to free up the dry feed that is blocking their throats.
Gapeworm is a common parasitic infection in baby chicks and adult chickens, although baby chicks are more vulnerable to gapeworm. This unpleasant parasitic infection affects the baby chicks’ throats, making them gape or rather keep their beaks open throughout. Baby chicks with this condition also wheeze and gasp all day.
Initially, this infection doesn’t exhibit apparent symptoms like other parasitic infections. Baby chicks with gapeworm can cough out the infectious worms from their throats and pass them to other healthy baby chicks in your flock. You, therefore, need to treat this infection immediately you recognize it before it starts spreading to healthy baby chicks.
Unfortunately, it is hard to detect gapeworm since most people mistake it for a severe respiratory infection, prompting chicken owners to administer antibiotics to their baby chicks, hoping to eradicate the infection. However, antibiotics don’t eliminate gapeworm since the gapeworm can’t respond to antibiotics.
However, you can treat gapeworm with a liquid medicine or a powdered worming medication from a vet. Although this will help rid your baby chicks of the parasitic infection, gapeworm will persist in your baby chicks’ environment. Gapeworm will most likely reoccur after a couple of months. Continue treating your baby chicks after the initial gapeworm infection.
Mouth opening might be a weird habit, but it is common in baby chicks because they can keep opening their mouths for extended durations. It would be prudent to understand the precise reason why your baby chicks are keeping their beaks open.
Find a way of dealing with the problem, especially if the baby chickens are opening their mouths due to health problems such as respiratory disease or parasitic infection like gapeworm.