I will chime in too, I have just had to cull my beautiful Golden Wyandotte hen this evening after the same story that you tell. She was 12 months old, recently started laying with the arrival of our southern spring and overnight turned into a penguin. We soaked in warm water, did an internal inspection for egg bound and found nothing but a puffy abdomen that seemed to hang out the front of our new penguin - we suspected some gut infection; the vet concurred and prescribed abitbiotics and a course of worming medicine. Neither helped. We put her on probiotics and seaweed vitamin supplements too. She became our pet, because she no longer scratched she was given full access to the garden. She would happily sit as close as she could to the other hens on the other side of the wire and chip away at the grass. It has been over a month now and after some intial thoughts she might be trending upwards we had to accept she was in a slow decline. Through this who period she has continued to lay eggs every two days and with a few exceptions has had normal stools. Today her vent/intestines prolapsed so that a small soft shell was ejected along with 10 cm of innards. She looked miserable and we finally despatched her. I noticed this morning she was twitching her left leg upwards, as though to scratch her face, but she could not get it more than a few cm off the ground. I see in other blogs they talked off puffy abdomens filled with fluid that they used needle/syringes to extract with positive outcomes.
Originally Posted by Mayflower girl
One of my Rhode Island Reds was recently walking like a penguin. After a couple of weeks getting worse, she finally got to where she could not stand up and collapsed at the water can. Did some checking on BYC and here is what I did. First, I didn't think she had a egg inside because the large bulb between her legs felt like a water balloon. I sat her in a bucket of warm water for 15 minutes and that really relaxed her. I had a small syringe and put her on my lap and started inserting the needle and withdrew yellow fluid from the "balloon" - I lost count after 50 needle sticks! Fluid was not smelly or anything and sick chick did not seem to be in any discomfort. I thought "what have I got to lose - she was probably going to die if I did nothing". Most of the needle holes were leaking the fluid. Most of the fluid was out of her at this point and she was able to walk around and leaked fluid all day. That evening I soaked cotton balls with antiseptic from our medicine cabinet and quarantined her. I put poultry antibiotics in her water for 4 or 5 days and she had a hefty appetite. That was about 3 weeks ago and sick chick is getting fat and sassy. She thinks she deserves special treatment now and demands to be hand fed her morning scratch. She is very tame all of a sudden and is doing just great. Well worth the effort. If the fluid returns, I have since purchased larger syringes so I won't have to stick her as much. Hope this helps anybody with a sick chick that walks like a penguin.