5 day old chick, internal mass near vent


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 10, 2014
Up until yesterday this looked to be the most healthy and rambunctious chick out of my hatch. I noticed yesterday something was up, and thought maybe the start to a little pasty butt, so I took it out to clean it up. There was a very small amount of poop on the vent, but what I noticed was a large mass on the left below the vent.

It's internal, mostly squishy and I can move it and push it in. When the chick is standing and chirping the whole thing pushes out like a balloon.

I thought it might be a blockage so i massaged it hoping to break it up, added some apple cider vinegar to their water and checked again today. I'm not sure but think it was looking larger so I attempted a half-hearted enema (I don't want to make matters worse, but if it is poop I want to loosen it best I can)

It's almost impossible to see in the pictures. It's inside, large and round, squishy, when the chick is chirping it pushes out further

Any ideas? I've searched and search the forums but can't quite figure it out
I've been searching more and I stumbled on ruptured air sacs. I'm wishing I hadn't fiddled with it hoping to break up poop
I hope I didn't do any damage

There is a definite crackling sound when I push on it.

Do you think that's what's going on?

I read a bunch of articles on how to relieve it with a needle, but I'm not comfortable with that (I might be if it gets worse, but for now I'm worried about doing more harm than good!)

How long do I have before I need to do something? What's the chance this will clear up or remain a non-issue. What complications am I looking for ?

Thanks for your help, BYC is the best!
There are 9 air sacs in a chickens body, from head to toe. I suppose it could be a ruptured air sac, but it also could be an abdominal hernia from your description. I recently had a chick with a leaking air sac, and when it breathed, there was a click with each breath. The chick worsened the next day, so I deflated the air sac with a small needle, and pushed as much of the air out as I could. This seemed to help.

I would suggest if your chick is not in major distress, to just leave it alone. A small air sac leak will probably seal up on it's own and the air will reabsorb into the body. I would try to stick my finger to reduce this sac, and hold it for several minutes, since it could be a hernia, just to see if it stays in. Most hernias need surgery to repair them, but I once had a young kitten who had an abdominal hernia. I reduced the hernia for 3 days in a row with my finger, and the 3rd time it stayed in, never coming out again. The cat lived to be 18 years old.

So I hope this helps, but I would try to figure out if it is a leaking air sac or a hernia.

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