Distended abdomen,feather loss, acting normally

la babs

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 22, 2013
My rescue legghorn is acting completely normally. She is about 2 1/2 years old (guessing). She stopped laying any eggs at all last April when it appears that Mereks hit my flock (lost one chicken, necropsy was possible Mereks). She often still sits in the nesting box, I thought out of habit. I'm just fine with her not laying because she was laying very thin shelled eggs, no calcium would fix, and I was afraid one would break in her. She started losing feathers about a month ago, which I attirbuted to molting.

I got a glimpse of her underside to today. It looks distended and is a little warm. No feathers! Her abdomen is firm but not hard. I had another chicken die being egg bound and it is a different feel to the abdomen. Here the distention is generalized. No egg to be felt. Here are photos. Any advice would be appreciated.

She may be laying internally, has egg yolk peritonitis, and has developed ascites which is a collection of fluid. Some people will themselves or have a vet remove the fluid every so often to relieve pain and pressure. Un fortunately there is no cure. Do a search at the top of the page for internal layer or EYP for some info.
Thanks for the response. I took her to the vet, hoping to have the liquid extracted. No liquid. By x-ray she has inoperable tumors. :(

Upon seeing my hen, who laid eggs up until April, the vet announced that she was a rooster..... Don't know about these vets....

I hope to figure out how to euthanize her when the time is right. Right now she's eating like there is no tomorrow, thanks again.
Yes those leghorn hens can have big combs and wattles that most roosters would envy. Sorry to hear about the tumors. Sounds like she still has some life to enjoy, but you will know when the time comes what to do.
I'm sure you hear this a lot, but I'm very grateful for your input. . I've researched euthanasia here too, and I'm so lucky to have the info at hand. I don't think I would have chickens without this forum to help...
Thank you. Sorry that you have to deal with this decision to euthanize. Another person today had a 10 year old hen with the same problem. Take care.

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