Ascities

Hens rule

Songster
Jan 28, 2015
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Nebraska
My hen has a really full belly. It didn't used to be this bad it took almost a year to fill up so much. She had bad fly strike but I removed the maggots and cleaned the area with iodine and antibiotic ointment. She is pooping and she still eats and drinks but she stand like a penguin. Can I still drain the fluid if she is debilitated and has a small hole from fly strike near her vent?

I'm going to drain the fluid with a needle. What size needle should I use? A 20 gadge 3/4 inch length or a 16 gadge that's one inch long? I had 6 ml syringes but I got bigger ones (12 ml) will these needle sizes fit in the 12ml syringe? ALSO: I'm not looking for something to work quickly but rather to work more gently and less stressful for my hen. Thanks!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
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From my understanding draining them is a temporary fix. There is usually an underlying reason for ascites like liver failure. I think any needle in the belly will stress her, so I don't think it matters what size unless the fluid is thick. Hopefully someone else has some better advice than me, sorry.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Sep 20, 2015
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Hi @Hens rule I'm sorry you're having trouble.

You can use 18gauge needle and puncture the skin to drain the fluid. From what I understand it is best just to "draw out" a small amount of fluid slowly then poke a few more holes to let it drain naturally. Drawing out too much at one time can cause stress.

@speckledhen and @TwoCrows I believe have first hand experience in draining.
Their comments start around post#19 of this thread
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/drained-ascites-fluid-and-now-in-respiratory-distress.1119656/

There are also several videos on youtube showing how to drain. As @oldhenlikesdogs draining can sometimes temporarily give relief, there usually is an underlying condition causing the fluid to build up. IF this gives her enough relief to make her comfortable where she can function and have a fairly good quality of life then draining will be successful.

Keep us posted.
 

TwoCrows

Inuit Raven
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X2 on what Wyorp Rock said on the "drawing out small amounts". If you try and draw out too much at a time, it can cause them to go into cardiac arrest, if the ascities is caused by heart failure. The first time I drained a hen, I drew out about a 1/4 cup and the bird did go into cardiac arrest. The bird did recover however, but never again did I draw out so much. I found the "drip method" to work well on most birds.

Look at the belly skin closely. I have found that you can see yellow pockets of fluid and this is where you want to drain. I have also found that some hens bodies carry the fluid on one side more heavily and this is the side you want to drain. What I do is, first wipe the area with an alcohol wipe, then stick a needle, either 18 or 20 gauge (18 is SO big and scary, LOL) into one of these pockets, avoiding blood and darker skin, about 1/8th to a 1/4 inch, no more, and I draw out about 2 ml. I pull out the needle and stick them again somewhere else. I do this about 6 times and you will find that the hen will drain herself over the next 24 hours. Sometimes I only find 4 places to stick, but I never do more than 6 as it does cause them a lot of stress. Put the bird in a very clean place for about 24 hours as she is going to drip heavily for the next day. I have found they pretty much drip themselves dry. This works best when they are loaded with fluid. If only mildly loaded, they don't drip.

This is generally not a cure, most birds will pass from what ever is ailing them. However you can extend their lives and give them some better health for the immediate future. Check the belly in a weeks time, sometimes it lasts only a week, sometimes they can go months.

Good luck! :)
 

Hens rule

Songster
Jan 28, 2015
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156
Nebraska
I drained her about an hour ago and got 48ml of yellowascites liquid. She is feeling better now and is walking and eating black berries from a bush in my yard. Her belly is still draining (I used the 20gadge needle).

Can I do it again a couple of hours after this first time or should I wait until tommotow to drain more? Thanks!
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
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Did you read TwoCrows post above?

X2 on what Wyorp Rock said on the "drawing out small amounts". If you try and draw out too much at a time, it can cause them to go into cardiac arrest, if the ascities is caused by heart failure. The first time I drained a hen, I drew out about a 1/4 cup and the bird did go into cardiac arrest. The bird did recover however, but never again did I draw out so much. I found the "drip method" to work well on most birds.

Look at the belly skin closely. I have found that you can see yellow pockets of fluid and this is where you want to drain. I have also found that some hens bodies carry the fluid on one side more heavily and this is the side you want to drain. What I do is, first wipe the area with an alcohol wipe, then stick a needle, either 18 or 20 gauge (18 is SO big and scary, LOL) into one of these pockets, avoiding blood and darker skin, about 1/8th to a 1/4 inch, no more, and I draw out about 2 ml. I pull out the needle and stick them again somewhere else. I do this about 6 times and you will find that the hen will drain herself over the next 24 hours. Sometimes I only find 4 places to stick, but I never do more than 6 as it does cause them a lot of stress. Put the bird in a very clean place for about 24 hours as she is going to drip heavily for the next day. I have found they pretty much drip themselves dry. This works best when they are loaded with fluid. If only mildly loaded, they don't drip.

This is generally not a cure, most birds will pass from what ever is ailing them. However you can extend their lives and give them some better health for the immediate future. Check the belly in a weeks time, sometimes it lasts only a week, sometimes they can go months.

Good luck! :)
 
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