bald bottom, seems swollen


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 16, 2014
Petaluma (Northern California)
one of my hens has lost the feathers on her bottom, and when I touch it, her bottom area seems swollen, as if it's filled with fluid.
She's about a year old. She seems otherwise healthy, eats.
She had some poop stuck there a few days ago, I soaked her in warm water and washed her off. Did it again today, which is why she is wet in this photo.
I do not know if she's laying, as I have a few hens.

Apologies for the uncleanliness of the photo.
Any advice would be gratefully accepted.
Try to give her another cleanup and get the poo off, it can be irritating to the skin and if she is outside, flies are prone to lay eggs and she could develop fly strike.

A swollen abdomen that feels like it has fluid in it, makes me think Ascites or possibly Egg Yolk Peritonitis.

Either of these are internal laying/reproductive orders that are hard to treat and the outcome is usually not possitive. Sometimes the fluid can be drained to give relief and antibiotics can be given to help keep them going for a short period of time. If you have a vet that can assist in draining or perform an xray to rule out cancer or tumors that would be best.

If you want to try to drain her yourself, there are numerous threads here on BYC and videos on youtube to show you how. Usually it's done with an 18gauge needle to puncture the skin, draw some of the fluid then let gravity drain the rest.

Try to keep her hydrated, offer poultry vitamins in her water and encourage her to eat.

Let us know how she is doing.
Well a few days later, I washed her but today she took a turn for the worse. Wings drooping. Same balloon in her rear abdomen. Luckily I keep some odd things around the house so I had a huge syringe, took out 80cc of yellow fluid. She seems relieved but I doubt she will survive another day.

If I had antibiotics I'd give her a dose.
Do you need a vet to prescribe antibiotics for a chicken?
Poor dear. I would suspect Ascites then.

Most antibiotics (water soluble) need to be prescribed by a vet. Some things you can get online - like Baytril. Penicillin(s) you can usually find at the feed store, but I don't know how effective they would be. Tylan50 injectable is also usually at the feed stores too, again, I'm not sure how effective it is with this type of infection.

I'm sorry, I wish I had better answers for you, sometimes even after draining, they don't make it too much longer, but it can give them a bit of relief short term.
Well I am sorry to report that the chicken passed away last night. Drawing out the fluid made her happy for a couple of days, but did not resolve the problem. Yesterday she stopped eating and this morning she was gone.

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