2yr old RIR w/ blue comb, swollen belly

Dave Z

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 29, 2009
I have a 2 Yr old RIR that is looking pretty bad. Gasping for breath and her comb and wattles are blue. Her belly is swollen and has been for a couple of weeks, but she's been eating and laying, though she's not as active as the others. Today, I found her laying on her side in the egg box. When I disturbed her, she got up and joined the rest of the flock, but I caught her to take a look, and that seemed to drain all her energy. Now she's just sitting on a towel and kind of leaning to her right, gasping. I also noticed she has some rooster damage under one wing - not too bad, Ive seen way worse. I don't have much hope, but this forum has helped me save chickens before.

Any thoughts?
Thanks, I found that thread and a couple of others. Her belly is soft like a water balloon. I have a needle, I'm going to go see if I can drain anything out.
Well, I drew about 18ml of a clear yellow fluid from her before it started getting dark. She was continuing to drain a little, but already seemed a little perked up, so I let her go to bed. I'll check her in the morning and drain some more and see how she does. She has lost a lot of flesh around her breastbone.
Peritonitis is an infection often resulting from a blockage in chickens (often from being eggbound). The infection is most often bacterial or fungal. I would recommend warm baths to help her pass the blockage and give her Oxine in her drinking water. Revival Animal Health seems to be the best source, cost-wise, for the Oxine at this time. There is a chance you can find it locally and not have to pay shipping, but that's a long-shot in most areas. Call feed stores, janitorial suppliers, and even HVAC specialists (it's approved for disinfecting HVAC systems) to see if you can get it locally.

DO NOT use the activator (citric acid) around animals!! The only time you use Oxine with activator is if you are cleaning an EMPTY building with no animals around. Without activator, Oxine is perfectly safe around your animals.
Update - she drained more overnight and looks much better and is acting a lot better. I haven't caught her for an examination yet, but her belly is much smaller. Based on what I've found in this forum, I'm pretty sure it's ascites. I'll look into additional treatments to address a possible root cause. And I'll try the Oxine.
There is certainly infection involved. You can do a round of penicillin injections along with draining and that may help, but if it's peritonitis/internal laying, it will return. Draining does make them more comfortable as it did my Olivia and well worth doing, but in the end, it won't save the bird, I fear.

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