I'm so sorry for the loss of Ivy, and how sick Olivia has been, as well. Thanks for posting this here, though. It may help someone alleviate suffering in their flock.
That is a huge amount of fluid for a bird to be carrying. I'm glad you were able to successfully tap that area, and at least take some of the pressure off, for her.
I have what I believe to be an internal layer, as well, though she does not appear to have peritonitis, yet.
Hi Cyn - I'm sorry you are losing your beloved hens. I did want to point out, however, that not all swollen, fluid-filled abdomens are a result of internal laying. I have a Black Sex Link that is 3 1/2 years old and for 2 years I've periodically drained a very filled abdomen - getting about that same amount of fluid out of her. She apparently has some form of Ascites BUT....and I guess it's a big BUT...she's alive, very active and still lays an egg each day.
I too use a large needle to drain her and she's usually good for another 3-4 months. I try to catch her before she gets too big and uncomfortable. In her case, the fluid is clear and looks like water - at most it sometimes has a slight tinge to it but normally just clear. She doesn't even seem to notice I'm draining her - she will even eat if I put some food in front of her while I work. When I finish, looks like I poured a glass of water for myself. Just wanted to point out that there may be "hope" for some hens that, for whatever reason, fill with fluid.
So sorry for the loss of Ivy. Wowzer that's alot of fluid. Has to make her more comfortable tho'. I have lost a hen from this as well, not fun. So sorry you are dealing with this but they know they are loved.
Olivia is still with us. I brought her inside and sat on the couch with her on my lap for awhile today. Her abdomen is humongous so we drained her again, this time another 221 cc of yellowish fluid from her. She easily has that much more, but we were unable to get the suction on the syringe to easily draw anymore out. Of course, it won't matter in the end, but I hate to see her almost dragging her tummy on the ground. She is eating well and drinking and can still go up the ramp into the coop, albeit, with some difficulty. Now, her sister, Tux, is showing signs of internal laying, sadly.
There is no cure, no prevention. It's genetic/hormonal and common in high production breeds. Olivia and Tux are the first non-hatchery girls who've had this here. I've lost 8 to it so far.
It's hard to diagnose--I've just been through this so many times now that I am alert to it- it starts when the bird keeps going to the nest, sits, no egg. This happens over and over--this is happening with Tux right now. Eventually, she quits going to the nest. The abdomen can fill with fluid/yolk/infection and be huge and tight, but sometimes, gunk backs up just in the oviducts,which you won't know unless you open her up when she dies. The hen eventually loses an alarming amount of weight (you have to pick them up to really notice it), then becomes weaker and weaker, then either we euthanize them or they pass away on their own. If you read my thread about Ivy, she rebounded twice, but it is chronic and will eventually kill the hen, no matter what.