Bloody vent/dying chickens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by brokk, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. brokk

    brokk Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 3, 2011
    This is my 3rd winter raising chickens. Every year I get new chicks an change around the flock. Different breeds slightly different numbers etc. Every year trying to tweak and improve on the previous year.

    Despite the changes, each year at various times, I get chickens that keel over dead. Fine one day, dead the next. A few have clearly been struggling to lay. You find them in the nest box straining, then later still there, straining, the next day, usually dead, often in the nest box or just outside of it. I probably lose 2 chickens a year out of 18. No diseases, no parasites, no predator deaths and the two deaths often months apart.

    6 weeks back, I had 18 hens. 9 Americaunas, 8 Leghorns, 1 mystery hen, the whole flock is about 9 months old. I noticed I was getting one Americauna egg with blood on it. It wasn't a lot. It wasn't every day. I didn't think much of it. Then 4 weeks later I noticed one of the Leghorns had a bloody vent and was *struggling* to lay. She was in the nest all day, standing, struggling. I figured she was going to die, like the others had in the past. Again, it happens. I have stopped worrying over it. That night I went to check the coop, and there was a dead hen. Not the Leghorn, but an Americauna. Been dead for hours. Leghorn was still struggling. Next morning Leghorn was dead, just barely.

    That's odd. Never been issues with two at once before. Maybe coincidence?

    This week we were away for the past 5 days out of state. I can't say for sure what happened with any of the chickens. I had someone collecting eggs. Almost every day, for those 5 days there was a bloody Americauna egg.

    Today I collect the eggs as soon as I get home and I notice the older bloody eggs collected during the week, plus a *really* bloody Leghorn egg from today. Also, the Leghorn has a very bloody vent.

    So I come in, look for help here, read about Prolapsed vents and decide I have two chickens that need a bath to start with. So I go down to grab them, check for eggs. One bloody Americauna egg. When I go in the coop to grab the two chickens, I find the Americauna dead. She laid within the last 10 min, stepped out of the nest box and fell dead.

    I took the Leghorn and gave her a bath and cleaned her up. There was a lot of blood clotted all over, but no noticeable damage and nothing hanging out. There was still blood inside the vent.

    A friend came over and dissected the Americauna. Big, healthy, hen. Medium sized eggs. In general, perfect health. Her vent showed clear pecking problems, but no sign of prolapse. Despite laying an egg just before dying, she had a "burst" egg just inside the vent. No real sign of the yolk, though I found one in the pan afterwards, so it might have slipped out when we were shifting her around. Otherwise there was a clear path of yolks down the tract getting smaller as they went. No obvious sign of death.

    She did not show any recent signs of pecking damage other than the vent. Old pecking issues on her lower back, mostly healed over. Would other hens pecking at her vent kill her?

    My friend went to look at the Leghorn, still wet from her bath. She had pooped and was clearly struggling to poop again. She showed definite sign of prolapse when straining to poop. After she stops trying, she pulls it back in.

    I have her under a heat lamp drying. I've read to hold her back from food for a day or so, to stress her and cause her to stop laying for a while. Aside from another bath which might help clear up any pooping blockage, what else would you recommend?

    Lastly I am now majorly concerned. This makes 4 chickens out of 18 that have cropped up with similar problems over the last 6 weeks. Three have passed away. Any thoughts about what might be causing this or contributing to it?

    There have been no overly large eggs laid by anyone in recent weeks.

  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Capillary worms could possibly be a cause. Worm your birds with Valbazen liquid cattle/sheep wormer or Safeguard liquid goat wormer.
  3. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2013
    Another thing to look into Coccidiosis,cocci is a parasitic infection of the intestinal tract and is spread by dropping which get into feed/water via droppings,but it can also be spread by bringing in new birds to your flock or new birds having an overload/outbreak due to existing birds(birds are only immune to the strains they have had prior exposure to)your own hands/clothes/shoes/feed utensils/wild birds,etc.

    Some symptoms of cocci are: runny/watery poop(may or may not contain blood,depends on which strain it is)fluffed feathers,lethargic,not eating/drinking/weight loss/look of unwell. Unfortunately if not familiar with parasite,symptoms may go unnoticed until you find birds dead or dying. Cocci kills very fast.

    If symptoms match(even just one or two)purchase Corid(amprolium) or might be called Amprol(amprolium) depends where you live. Dose for Corid/Amprol 9.6% liquid is 2 tsp per gallon of water,dose for Corid 20% powder is 1-1.5 tsp per gallon of water,medicated water should be their only source of drinking water, Treat ALL chickens for 5-7 days,do not give vitamins during treatment as they interfere with the ability of the coccidiostat to work,give vitamins after treatment is complete. Treating with amprolium for coccidiosis will not harm birds,but not treating(if they have cocci)will result in deaths.

    Corid can be found in most livestock/feed stores in the cattle section,will say for cattle,but is safe for poultry and is one of the best coccidiostats for coccidiosis. If you live in Canada,it has to be purchased through a vet.
  4. Sarevan

    Sarevan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2013
    White Swan, WA
    I agree with ten chicks. Have another question, how many nesting boxes do you have? As there was pecking damage done they may be fussing over who is using the box. If the hen turns away from her tormentor and has her vent out there while trying to lay an egg they may be pecking the vent as she is trying to expel the egg. Causing damage to internal tissue that is around the egg as it is layed. They have favorite spots they like to lay may need more boxes?

    My girls do this when trying to lay an egg they will turn away having butt toward tormentor protecting the head. When more than one wants to use the same box even if another is empty. They don't have vent pecked but seeing it is bright red as laying an egg it is a possibility. One of my welsummers always has blood on her egg when laying, I've examined her and can find no damage so must be somewhere further internally that makes it bloody. She is healthy otherwise and head hen.
  5. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    Hi. When you see the birds straining to lay you can help them by giving them calcium. I have a injectable calcium called theracalcium which is calcium glutenate That I inject. But you can also use a human calcium pill. The calcium will help them pass the egg. Hope this helps. Best wishes
  6. brokk

    brokk Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 3, 2011
    I generally have 1 nest box for 4 hens, as is recommended. Right now there are four boxes and 15 hens. They tend to sit in the box, facing outwards towards the rest of the hens. Their butts are towards the "back" of the box. The eggs tend to be bunched up at the back. More often than not, they lay most of their eggs in one box. The leghorns like to lay in the morning, so I collect the eggs between 8am and 10am. Otherwise the later layers get curious about all those eggs just laying there, and then eggs start getting eaten.

    I have separated the leghorn with the bloody egg, bathed her, taken away her food for 24 hours, and kept her separate while her butt heals up. She is quite confused about the commotion.

    The hens generally get an extra boost of calcium in the form of egg shells. Any eggs we use, we toast the shells, crunch them up and add them to the feed. I tried using oyster shells the first year, but no one would touch them unless I added them directly to the feed. Then I started with the eggs shells and haven't had any issues with weak eggs ever since.

    Cocci: You say it kills fast. How quickly would it work its way through a flock? All my birds are housed together. The last exposure to the old flock was back in July or so. Thus I wouldn't expect it to crop up now. The previous dead birds were pretty random and many months apart. I took it to be something wrong with their laying system. A blockage or such. Currently I lost two a couple weeks ago within a day of each other and then another just a couple days ago. I am watching this leghorn to see if she also drops, of it taking a break from laying prevents it.

    The water is relatively clean, as I use a nipple system, so there is no way for feces to get in the water. However dust can be all pervasive and it is winter so I have to keep a heater in the water, so it's possible for things to grow in there. I try to give it a good cleaning when I notice it's starting to look dirty again.

    The food used to be completely clean as well, but I have one or two leghorns that have figured out how to get into the feeder box. They have been laying eggs in it and of course leaving other little presents behind. I am working to stop that, but haven't managed to prevent it completely yet.

    I will watch for more bloody eggs/dead birds. If anyone else keels over, I will treat the whole flock for Cocci. How does that sound? Or do you think I should be more aggressive and just start treating everyone now before I lose more birds?

  7. cindy1976

    cindy1976 New Egg

    Feb 25, 2014
    quick question this is what is happening to me also but i have a rooster that has a bloody rear. wasnt sure if the other hens were pecking the sick ones and then decided to pick on him or if it was coccidiosis. every thing that is being described sounds more like a laying/egg problem for me with the exception of the rooster.

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