Ascites in Pullet Chicks

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by redemptionfarms, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. redemptionfarms

    redemptionfarms New Egg

    Apr 2, 2012
    Corner, AL
    My Coop
    Just wanted to share my recent experience with my newest batch of 25 chicks (hatched 2/21). I ordered the production pack from Meyer as the demand for our free range, pastured eggs is growing.

    A total of 27 arrived on the morning of 2/23. By the end of the day on 2/24, I had lost 2, which is not uncommon. Usually, those that make it past the first 48 hours continue on to adulthood.

    At two weeks of age, as I was cleaning the brooder, I noticed one of the pullets had a swollen abdomen. No pasty butt, seemed to be eating well, pooping, drinking, etc. so I just continued to watch her. Integrated some ACV into their water over the next couple of weeks, but she got worse. Her broodmates (a mix of RIR, Australorp, Barred Rocks, and Golden Comets) were feathering out nicely and adding to their stature. This one (a Golden Comet, I believe) was bald on her abdomen, waddled a good bit, and feathering was sparse and breathing was more rapid than the others. Last week, I made the decision that if she got to the point where she couldn't eat, drink, or keep up, then I would put her down.

    That occurred yesterday as I was freshening the coop, changing water, feeding, etc. I placed her out on the ground and she took two steps and face-planted. This repeated itself over and over. I couldn't stand the suffering so I quickly culled her. When I picked up the carcass and shook, it sounded as if 1 or more cups of fluid was sloshing around. I originally thought ascites when it first happened, but didn't think it was found in non-broilers. I was is far more common in the hybrid broilers, but not uncommon in other breeds. Since the Comet is a hybrid/production breed, I believe that's what happened. The other 24 (including some other comets) are thriving.

    I've posted pics in an album so you can see the swelling. On a 5 week old bird, it was borderline tennis-ball size in shape. I'm guessing it was hypertension and the inability of the heart/lungs to purge fluid in an efficient manner, thus causing it to accumulate in the body cavity. Hopefully, this will help anyone else who may encounter "water-belly" in their flocks.



    Redemption Farms
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Very interesting account; thank you for posting this.

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