2 dead hens and a wet butt

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Parkerchick, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Parkerchick

    Parkerchick Hatching

    Nov 19, 2011
    Though my subject one liner could be taken as funny....I have a serious issue. I am a new mother of a 4 chicken flock(3 hens and 1 rooster) and I have quite the dilemma. I got up yesterday morning and 2 of my hens were together in one nesting box breathing deeply and acting very lethargic. I woke up this morning and 2 hens are now dead. (1 in the nesting box and the other in the bottom of the coop in the corner). I have not changed anything in their diet. They get scratch and feed and fresh water daily. I also clean poo every day and put fresh straw in atleast 2x a week. They get fresh fruits and veggies every day atleast once a day. My other hen does appear to have a wet butt due to diarrhea.
    I am honestly at a loss. They have been producing well up until about 2 days ago. I know that weasels have a tendancy to come in and slit necks....but I checked both dead chickens and they are without a scratch. I am going to out local feed store to treat my last hen and rooster with antibiotics...but I would like some answers. Anyone have any direction or suggestions?
    Thanks for your time,
    Concerned Chicken Mama
  2. sunnydalefarms

    sunnydalefarms Songster

    Jul 8, 2011
    Sturgeon, MO
    I think it would be wise to have a necropsy done. Contact your state vet or a poultry vet in your area.
  3. Chicken_Pauper

    Chicken_Pauper Songster

    Mar 8, 2011
    Southern California
    How old are they? You said "new mother", when did you get them? Are they the only chickens you have? Have there been chickens in the coop and run you are using before them? When? What happened to them if there were?
    If they are young, what about eggbound? This would not effect the rooster of course.

    Depending on the age, have they ever been wormed? With what, when, and how many times? If you have not had them long, the place where you got them... no "alarm bells", it was clean and healthy looking birds? Not overcrowded?

    Use the Search here on BYC to search each symptom to find more info... "lethargy" and "droopiness" are so common and general that you get eggbound, disease, or worms.

    Worms and parasites, look for mites, can cause numerous symptoms and build to a point as to kill a chicken.

    Good luck. Search "Worming with Valbazen".... if they are old enough, and if you find out if or when they were already wormed by the previous owner / breeder.

    Take care...
  4. Chicken_Pauper

    Chicken_Pauper Songster

    Mar 8, 2011
    Southern California
    This was posted to another question..... (not my answer. I just copied it, and saved it, great info...)

    Some info for
    Egg bound hens

    A hen is said to be egg bound when she fails to lay her egg
    This is a common condition, and may result from inflammation of the oviduct, malformed or double yolker egg, or a too large egg in a young pullet

    The bird seems very restless
    She will drink little and eat little
    She will tend to stand all hunched up
    She visits the nest regularly in an attempt to lay her egg
    Hew oviduct may end up protrude due to excessive pushing by her to eject the egg; internal haemorrhage or exhaustion may occur and the fowl may die
    She may smell badly
    Her vent will look quite red and protrude
    She may have faecal matter that has built up behind the egg, if you see white liquid that will be her urates trying to pass (urine in chickens)

    Sit her in a tub of warm soapy water
    Make sure the vent is submerged for about 30 minutes, this may seem like a long time, but you have to relax the vent area and make is subtle for the egg to pass through, it really does help the hen, 85% of the time this will be all that you will need to do for her and the egg will pass out with a little push from her
    You can rub some lubricant around the vent area if you think that may help too, KY jelly, petroleum jelly, Vaseline or Olive Oil all work fine.
    Make sure you isolate her from the other hens, or they will peck at her vent causing more damage

    Put her into an isolation cage, put plenty of news paper down first and then put heated towels down they will act like a heat pad for her, no drafts when she is wet or she will catch a chill
    You can heat up towels in your microwave, works a treat
    If you have a heat pad that would be even better, put plenty of towels over it or it will get messy
    Leave her for a little while to see if she passes the egg, if not, repeat the warm water and soap again

    Some people just use the heating pads, this sometimes seems to relax the muscles and allow the egg to slip out

    If this doesn’t work, you may have to resort to removing the egg manually, not a nice task, and she will complain about what you are doing bitterly, you will need two people to do this task

    Using KY jelly, Petroleum jelly or Vaseline, insert your finger in the vent
    With your other hand you can press gently on her abdomen moving the egg down the oviduct towards the cloaca
    Once you can see the egg, if it won’t pass, then rupture the egg and gently remove all the shell
    Some have suggested you use a sharp instrument, I would not recommend this at all it could result in causing the hen internal injuries
    The shell of the egg will be very sharp when broken and could also damage the chicken internally
    Once you have broken the shell, make sure you remove every particle carefully
    The cloaca should then be washed with a weak warm water/salt solution, this is to make sure all the egg contents and shell has been removed from inside the hen, if it isn’t it could cause bacteria to start growing inside her, and then you’ve got an even bigger problem to solve

    Once the egg has ejected you will want to keep an eye on her for a while
    There may be another egg backed up in her oviduct system, especially if she lays an egg every day or every other day

    Sometimes they absorb the egg, but this is very unlikely and very unusual
    If you can’t find the egg and it has gone from the hen, more than likely she has eaten it shell and all

    If it has ruptured inside her, you should look for small pieces of shell, or evidence of any cuts around the vent area
    Just remember while your looking and sticking your finger in places she would prefer you didn’t, the egg shells can be quite sharp and may cut you and her
    If you do find any cuts around her cloaca, rinse with hydrogen peroxide
    Watch her for listlessness, dull eyes, and signs of fever
    Infection can come on pretty quick

    Keep a close eye on her, this could happen again to her and she will need immediate action to fix the problem

    How to help prevent the hen from laying any more eggs
    If there is any small prolapse gently push it back into the chicken with your fingers.
    The chicken should then be put on a maintenance diet of wheat and water and put in a dark cage.
    Leave the hen there for a week.

    However, it is important to restrict the chickens diet to maintenance only for possibly a couple of months. This does work!! Alternative to maintenance diet is feeding the chicken enough to keep it alive, moving and keeping warm plus enough extra feed for it to produce eggs.

    You may find that by reducing the feed it brings on a forced molt

    By reducing feed intake so that the bird has just enough feed to keep it alive, moving and keeping warm you are feeding for maintenance only. The chicken will not lay eggs and so give it the best chance of recovery.

  5. Parkerchick

    Parkerchick Hatching

    Nov 19, 2011
    We got them about 2 weeks ago. They looked very healthy. We actually had egg production 2 hours after we received them. They coop is new. It is 8x8 for 4 hens so overcrowding is not a problem at our house. We have had normal egg production so I don't think that being egg bound is the problem. I bought some tetracycline hydrochloride powder to put in the remaining hen and roosters water. I also bought permethrin powder to help with fleas/mites.(Though I have not seen mites on them) I believe about 3 days ago...all of my hens produced an egg.
    Thank you so much for your feedback!
    And lastly, they were wormed recently and from what I understand, they are wormed on a regular basis.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
  6. petyanca

    petyanca In the Brooder

    Jul 30, 2012
    East Bay, CA
    Parkerchick, were you able to find out what happened to your hens ? I just lost one hen, she was lethargic with green diarhea for one day, I thought she was egg bound, I treated her for that, but there was no egg. I put her in a box for the night, and in the morning she was gone. I need to find out what it was.

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