Bulge between legs and vent


10 Years
Jun 9, 2009
My 4 year old "Barbara" has a large bulge betw her legs and vent; rather like a tennis ball. She is eating and drinking seemingly normally, although walking like a penguin. The skin is rather red with only a few feathers missing and no signs of injury. Help!! I don't want to lose her but don't want her to suffer, either. Any insight anyone?
see pic
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She could be eggbound. Has she layed recently? Does the protrusion feel squish like fluid, or firm? If you're inclined, you can check her vent with a gloved, oiled finger...inserted gently while pushing gently on her underside to see if you can feel an egg. (Be gentle - you don't want to break the egg). You can also try placing her in a warm tub of water to see if she passes the egg (if she is indeed eggbound). We need more info.
Good luck, Lynn
I just did the oiled gloved finger test and did not feel anything hard like an egg. Suggestions?
If it feels "liquid" and feels like a water balloon, it is probably Ascites, a filling of fluid. I have a hen who had it and looked like your picture. She had gotten so bad she could no longer walk. I was going to put her down but then decided I had nothing to lose by trying to drain out whatever it was.

I drained her "balloon" using a regular needle and syringe and got out a cup full of clear water. I placed her on a stack of folded towels in a bin and she continued to drain for an hour and soaked the towels. After that she was as good as new. I had to repeat the draining about every three months but haven't had to do so in several months now so maybe she's over whatever was causing it. Through it all she continued and continues to lay an extra large brown egg every day. She's a two year old Black Sex Link.

I did learn that if I used a needle with a large syringe I wouldn't have to stick her as many times but she actually never seemed to mind or feel being stuck. She would even eat/drink if I put food/water in front of her while I "drained" her. Just insert the needle in the bottom of the baggy part hanging down - there are no vital organs or anything you can hit.
this strikes me as excellent advice. Can't hurt and might help.

Let us know how it turns out.
I agree with Ruth...draining it or at least taking a sample of the fluid will be helpful. Hens can collect fluid there for a variety of reasons, all related to reproductive issues. With these types of things, there's not alot you can do short of surgery, and even that is no guarantee. We've had a couple of hens with this problem and they lived normal, albeit shortened, lives. Good Luck, Lynn

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