So she pooped. And it's huge, and hard, and one big long string of tough fibrous stuff. It almost looked like a hair ball a cat might pass! All I can think of is it might be hay - there is a small amount of hay in their nest boxes. It hasn't caused any problems before. But in passing this long, giant string, she appears to have given herself an anal fissure, or a prolapse - or a bit of both. I just know there is red puffy tissue at her vent, and I have no idea what to do! How are these things treated?? Can we put her on strong antibiotic? The closest vet is an e-vet 1.5 hours away. Should I take her there?? Or should we just put her out of her misery? I'm completely lost here.
Emergency!!! Update on sick chicken!! Prolapse?? Anal fissure?
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I reached out to a friend who's an exotics vet, who advised applying raw honey to the wound as an antimicrobial. So we will be trying that, and also started duramycin as preventative.
I'm still not sure why the hay caused her this problem, if that's what it is. Eggs are much larger in diameter than this poop was, so it still doesn't quite make sense. Not enough water intake? Not eating the oysters for calcium? I did watch her scarf a large pine shaving, so perhaps she's eating too much foreign material? Or has a bowel disorder that's preventing passage? Oy vey.
Either way, she's acting much happier, and we'll just monitor and see what happens.
Edited by Rime - 2/5/16 at 4:01pm
Could you post a picture of her vent area? If you can bring her inside where it is warm, you can give her a warm shallow bath in Epsom salts to her vent to help clean and soothe the tissue. Honey is very good for a prolapse or cut, and can help reduce swelling. You may want to place her in a darkmcage for 16 hours every night to stop her from laying eggs for awhile. If you see internal tissue hanging outside the vent, it is important to try to push it back inside, but keep it moist with honey or plain neosporin so the tissue doesn't dry out and die.
Thanks Eggcessive! I went to apply some honey this morning and see if I could get a picture, and much to my surprise her vent looked normal. After a bit more inspection I was able to see that it's actually an anal fissure just inside her vent, definitely not a prolapse. It was just protruding yesterday from all the straining. My only worry is I can't tell how far back the fissure goes - hopefully it is fairly small and with some time will heal on its own. The good thing is it's not external, now that she's not pushing so hard. So drying out will not be as much of a concern.
In applying the honey though, I did have to push my finger into her vent a bit, which I'm afraid opened the lips of the wound a bit more. Should I keep applying it then? Or let it heal on its own in conjunction with oral antibiotics? I will definitely follow the suggestion of keeping her from laying, though I don't think she is producing since this began. She lost a lot of color in her comb and wattles originally (6 weeks ago), and was just beginning to get red again when this happened. We have not seen her in the nest boxes in that period.
For now she's in a dog crate in the garage, for close monitoring. Today she is eating and drinking very well, and acting much more lively. No more standing around in pain. Her night poop was fairly normal in appearance.
Although the other chickens don't have this problem, we plan to remove all hay from the coop. There is not much in there, but it's clearly enough to cause her issues. My hope is her intestines have not been damaged in this process, and she'll recover and be fine once we remove the hay.
Good news. You may want to switch to plain neosporin or polysporin oinment, since the honey is to help reduce swelling. That may be a little less messy. I would just smear a small amount around her vent. You may want to give her bottom a warm epsom salts bath daily for a couple of days, just to help clean the vent and heal the fissure. She might benefit from probiotics in her diet if your feed doesn't contain them. Let us know how she gets along.