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Hen with infected vent?

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
I recently came back from vacation and my friend was watching my hens. One was recently exhibiting stand-off behavior where she would stay in a corner all day and not eating as much by their accounts. Then she started behaving normally. I returned today and saw them for the first time in a month. Her vent (butt?) features a big red ball (size of an egg or bigger) under her tail. It looks like she recently molted too as she has some of the fuzzy feathers falling out and new spines coming in. I don't think it's an impacted egg because I've read they typically die if the egg isn't removed within two days and she's been like this for several weeks. Also, she is the one hen that used to sleep in the nesting box (started about 3 months ago and stopped doing it last month) for a period and her butt is very "poopy" because of this. I was thinking infected vent because of this. Recently my friend told me she has diarrhea too, but it didn't look bloody I'm disappointed that I wasn't alerted to this earlier, but are any of these signs making anyone think egg-bound, worms, infection, etc? thanks in advance If I need to, I can bring her in the house in a dog crate and monitor her.
Edited by mendozer - 7/28/13 at 8:59pm
post #2 of 51
Hi there! We have had this problem with 3 of our 16 hens. We think 2 of them had a prolapsed (turned inside out) vent and 1 seemed to just be constipated. On all 3 of them we moved them into the laundry room in a large dog crate with nesting material and of course food and water. Then came the fun part!! Give her a nice warm bath every night to clean the area and apply preparation H around her vent. This is an anti inflammatory and seems to help. Neosporin is fine to. Let her float in warm water and splash her vent to clean it. We also (with advice from our vet) put on gloves and pushed her vent back in gently. But KEEP IT CLEAN! No yucky stuff pushed inside. They each took about a week or so to heal and as soon as they laid an egg or two and looked healed they went back outside. Don't let the other girls peck at it for too long or it will get really messed up. Hope this helps! Good luck.
post #3 of 51
Thread Starter 

so fill up a bathtub and literally let her have several inches of water? I thought chickens hate getting wet

post #4 of 51

Yes chickens actually enjoy a warm soak once they get over the excitement of being picked up.  She has a prolapse of her vent (or cloaca actually.)  The longer the insides stay out, the harder it is to get them pushed back inside.  This happens sometimes with an egg getting stuck, and may happen again.  Each time she poops or lays an egg, she may prolapse again until it heals.  Also, there can be necrotic or dead tissue there if you see any blackish skin.  Some people recommend honey to shrink things, some recommend extra strength PreparationH.  Here is some info:

post #5 of 51

I've dealt with a couple bad butts lately. There is a possibility that there is some related issue, so do a little investigation. 


The birds do seem to respond well to a soak in warm water. I like to put some epsom salts in the water and change the water in the middle of the bath. I think gently massaging and cleaning the area also helps.


I wear disposable gloves when cleaning the bird and especially wear clean disposable gloves if I'm correcting a prolapse or probing inside the vent. 


Second, if I'm going to probe inside the hen, I use water-based lubricant. They sell this lots of places, but make sure to get the plain kind. As scary as it was the first time, I once found a quantity of soft egg shell inside one of my special hens. The poor dear had been working so hard to expel the soft shell that she'd prolapsed her vent. It took more than one "sweep" to find the stash of broken shell, but once I got it out I could see instant relief in the poor dear. I now know to keep an eye on her bum.


Using PreparationH does seem to help shrink the swelling in the area and bring the bird some relief. 


If the backside of the hen smells funny or her poo is especially nasty, there may be an infection. If the infection is a fungus, then treating the area with an anti-fungal like athletes foot cream should quickly clear it up. That's where I would start because using an antibiotic would make a fungus infection worse -- so I wouldn't use anti-bacterial creams just in case.


That said, some infections are bacterial and those *are* treated with antibiotics. 

Visit the Oregon Delawares Facebook page for information about our Delawares. 


Visit the Oregon Delawares Facebook page for information about our Delawares. 

post #6 of 51
Thread Starter 





upon closer inspection, her vent is not as easily seen compared to the others, but it's not prolapsed as I can see it and I even used some lubricant to slide my finger inside and feel around.  She doesn't seem to be in pain, but as you can see, she's molting as well and doesn't look well.  She isn't eating and is much thinner than usual. 


That bulge is located under her belly on the way up to the vent. It doesn't feel like a hard egg, more like one of those gel stress balls.  Slightly hard in the middle but squishy all around. I've tried manipulating it up to her vent assuming it's stuck poop but nothing.  I may not have been hard enough but I don't want to force anything since I'm still not sure what it is. 


She's soaking in epsom salt now and trying to get her to eat some oatmeal with olive oil to lubricate her insides. 




post #7 of 51

Mineral oil is a much better way to lubricate intestines, olive oil gets digested, mineral oil does not.



Edited by casportpony - 7/29/13 at 2:07pm
post #8 of 51
Sounds like to me she's moulting. I have a similar thing going on as well my red hens butt is red and swollen. And she has laid 4 oversized eggs. That's when I noticed her rear end.
post #9 of 51
Thread Starter 

In the dog crate, she's not drinking or eating anything.  I gave her some water with bragg's ACV but no interest, although she was pecking at the water on the rim of the wash basin. 


So this giant ball under her belly is normal with molting? The others don't have it at all

post #10 of 51
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by casportpony View Post

Mineral oil is a much better way to lubricate intestines, olive oil gets digested, mineral oil does not.



So feed her this from a dropper?

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