'dumpy butt'


9 Years
Jun 28, 2010
I just noticed today that one of my welsh harlequin hens has a 'dumpy butt'. Her lower abdomen area is almost dragging on the ground and she may be walking slower or more carefully to keep her hiney from dragging on the ground. I thought maybe she was egg bound so I caught her, but it is soft. It didn't seem to hurt her, and her vent looked normal.

It almost looks like the fatty parts on adult female geese, but she's the only one of my hens that has this. The other three hens and the drake in her group are the same age (hached summer 2010 if I remember correctly), and the group of birds I hatched here this spring are also all normal looking.
I will try to get one. She's really not THAT old, and she's drastically different than her age-mates. Hatched 2010, she's maybe a year and a half or so at most, depending on when in 2010 she hatched.
Is she "sloshy" at all? If something causes organ failure (heart, kidney, liver), poultry will fill up with clear, yellowish liquid in their abdominal cavity. I've had that happen in a couple of ducks, they get puffy, soft and eventually "sloshy" and when I put them down, they were filled with serum. It could be from an infection, a toxin in the environment that causes organ failure or other causes. Really large breed chickens tend to get this when they grow so fast their heart can't keep up. It's called "water belly" if you want to look it up. Since I had the problem in an adult duck that I'd had for years as well as a youngster the same summer, I suspect toxins here. Never did figure out what though.
Water belly is also called ascites. A hernia can produce very similar symptoms. I had a chicken with a hernia once. It'd take an avian vet to tell the difference I think.
I'll have to get pictures to see what people say. These birds are enjoyed, but our birds are not pets and if she's suffering she'll be put down, not taken to a vet. She doesn't seem to be in pain and I'm pretty sure she and her friends all started saying mean things about me behind my back just as soon as I put her down and she ran back to her group, lol. It didn't seem like a fluid filled sac, it was more tissue-feeling, if that makes any sense.

I have seen water belly in broiler chickens before, but have never seen it in any other breed/species here.
Here's dumpy butt (I didn't notice but she seems to still be moulting too, everyone else is done for the year...) She is standing with her feathers fluffed on her butt, which makes her hiney touch the ground. Of course, she's also standing in a little snow which may also be a bit decieving...




Here is her sister (darker) and a hen that is actually a year older (lighter hen on left).


Dumpy butt farthest to right, other two are the two pictured above:


The younger ducks (this spring's hatch) for comparison:


I did notice that when any age duck was relaxed (IE, not moving) it almost seemed like their fuffy butt feathers touched the ground. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm worrying over nothing. She is STILL acting just fine.

Sorry for dark pictures - it's a gloomy/snowy/rainy day and the camera insisted on using flash at too long of distances, lol.
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Her butt does look extra saggy. But if her behaviour is normal and she has a good covering of muscle (eg doesn't feel bonier than the others) then I'd leave her to it. She looks bright and alert enough in the photos. I wouldn't worry right now - just see how she goes.

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