I'm hoping someone can help me with this. I have a young hen (she will be a year old in March, I think) whom for the past five months or so has been showing signs of lethargy. I also noticed that her abdomen seems full- between her legs and back towards her vent. Its not full as in mushy or liquidy, but full as in hard and lumpy. When I noticed about 5 months ago that she was not feeling well it was after a respiratory ailment went through my flock. Sometimes she has gotten better on her own yet it never really went away. I took her to the vet about a month ago and the vet took some x-rays as she too was curious as to what was going on. Nothing showed on the x-ray (not a tumor) and she said she really didn't know what was going on with her, but that when she dies I can bring her in for her to do an autopsy. (I still plan on doing that if and when it occurs, but I'd like to postpone that if possible!) Since then, I've been reading (here and elsewhere on the web) about her condition and it seems to me that it might be a case of ascites.. (spelling?) However, when I read some stories, it seems that some hens have like a bag of body fluid dragging between their legs and in other cases I read that it seems like the underbelly is hard. With my hen, her underbelly is hard. She feels heavy too- heavier than her 'sister' hen that I bought along with this hen last year. There is obviously something wrong with her underbelly as it is full and pushes out. She also is labored in breathing sometimes. She is lethargic and lately she is not eating. I treated her with two rounds of antibiotics (vet gave me them) and the first time around she didn't perk up and respond until the very last dosages. This second round of antibiotics didn't seem to help anything at all. She is now seemingly going down hill. My problem and how I need help: I am wanting to attempt to drain her as spoken about in many threads here on ascites. I bought some syringes with needles at Tractor Supply, 18 gauge. I tried to find more information on how to do this draining, but I feel very unclear about doing it and very apprehensive. I'm worried I could kill her or make things worse somehow and I have no idea what area to try to stick her with the needle. Do you just stick the needle in anywhere? And do you have to pull back on the syringe suction thing to drain it out? I'm thinking about just pulling the needle part off of the plastic syringe part, putting it in and letting it drain... then again- what if I hit a vein? What if I go into an organ? I'm thinking now I should have got a smaller gauge needle. I don't want to hurt her! Has anyone done this before and if so, do you think you could take me step by step through it? Also, does it sound like my chicken has ascites? Or do you think its some other internal thing that can't be helped by sticking a needle in her? I am thinking about contacting my vet to help me do this, but I had asked her before if it could be ascites, and she kind of didn't say anything. She doesn't really treat chickens all that much (except mine!) and I would take this hen back in, but I spent too much on chicken emergencies last month (it was quite a month with broken beaks, swollen ears and some cases of bumblefoot). I think I should be able to do this, but I just don't feel like I have the guts right now to try, but I don't want to wait too long because I think she needs it done asap. I just feel like I need a bit more guidance on this. Can anyone help? Thanks in advance for any replies.