Ascites caused by too much protein in laying pellets?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Stumpy, May 5, 2017.

  1. Stumpy

    Stumpy Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Several months ago one of my FBCM hens, about 3 years old, developed Ascites. I extracted fluid a few times and then one day noticed that she had fly strike, so we ended her suffering that day. My remaining FBCM hen now has it and I am having a difficult time getting any fluid out. I have two hens who are older, an Australorp and an Easter Egger, neither of which has developed this, and they have all been on the same food, Purina Layena layer pellets.

    Is it really true that too much protein causes this or is it more common in some breeds than others?
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Free Ranging

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    I'm sorry to hear about your hen [​IMG]

    I can't really answer your question. In broilers,the main cause of Ascites is pulmonary hypertension when raised at high altitudes, one way to help correct the problem would be to monitor or restrict food intake - so I would assume that a "lower" protein feed (16-18%) would be provided compared to a normal "meat bird" diet which would be around (20-22%) protein. In laying hens, I suspect that infection from Clostridium perfringens would more likely be the cause.

    It's so hard to know without having a necropsy performed, what the exact cause of death would be. Internal laying/reproductive disorder like Ascites, Egg Yolk Peritonitis, Salpingitis, cancer or tumors can have similar symptoms - swelling of the abdomen, sometimes fluid that can be drawn out, difficulty walking, lethargy, weight loss, poop that looks like egg matter, etc.

    I don't see where you are located, but if you lose this other one, then sending her to your state lab for testing would be a good idea. This will hopefully give you more information to the cause and possibly how to prevent it. Unfortunately, it seems that any of the conditions, mentioned above are fairly common and most can't necessarily be prevented.

    With the different people I have helped here on BYC with these conditions, I have not really seen a correlation between feed and illness -I have not kept exact figures - but thinking back I don't recall there being a pattern with certain feed types - these conditions can affect a hen on store brand pellets just as well as one being fed the most expensive designer feed on the market (and in between). I have found that some breeds seem more prone to problems - sexlinks and hybrids seem to begin having problems between 1 and 2yrs of age.

    Just my opinion and observations. I wish I had better answers for you.

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