Egg-binding/Prolapse

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AprilMayJune, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. AprilMayJune

    AprilMayJune Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2014
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    Oy! Hello Chicken friends. Where to start?

    This is my first set of chickens, 2 Welsummers and 1 EE. At 5 1/2 months old, I didn't expect eggs for another month or two (seemed like Welsummers were sometimes late bloomers). About 2 1/2 weeks ago, we noticed our Welsummer Amelia was not moving much and when we looked, her first egg was stuck and there was intestinal/gut tissue surrounding it. Short story: emergency vet time! (it was night before I was going out of town) she actually got chicken anesthesia and the vet couldn't manually remove the egg, so had to break it : ( she also got a chicken suture and i was sent home with chicken antibiotic injections. she was diagnosed w/a prolapsed oviduct/uterus also.

    i was out of the country for a couple weeks, so had to depend on my friends who never raised chickens either. they did a great job caring for her. it looks to me like she might have gotten a 2nd egg stuck and they tried to push it back in, but the egg broke, so they took her to another emergency vet. she is an expensive chicken! this vet cleaned her out, took the sutures out, put in staples for a day, then removed them the next day. Amelia has been on pain meds and antibiotics ever since. She is eating and drinking well. Poor thing, she is a young chicken too. So we have been thru a lot with our first chicken! a couple of questions, feel free to answer any or all:

    (1) I've read that a lot of chickens like this get culled immediately or eventually, as the condition tends to recur. Does anyone have other opinions/experiences w/this? Like are there any success stories? i think if this happens again, i may have to put her down. or look into a hysterectomy, though i bet that would be expensive. each emergency vet trip has been a lot of $$$ so far. I would love her to be my pet chicken and would care for her even if she doesn't lay eggs.

    (2) I feel bad because the first vet said that egg-binding could be from lack of calcium in the diet. Which would be true, because I was only feeding them Grower food (not Layer), and I wasn't supplementing w/oyster shells. Interestingly, the vet said I should immediately get oyster shells for all the chickens and switch them to Layer food. I did, and one of the positive things in our story, is that Amelia's sister Welsummers laid her first egg the next day! she has been laying ever since the past 2 weeks, it has been exciting. I noticed that chicken downed the oyster shells as soon as I introduced them to it. So for future reference:
    --when do you start Layer feed and oyster shells? i must have been mistaken. I thought it went baby chick feed--> grower--> layer. I thought you switch to Layer and oyster shells once they start laying. but it seems i should have started them earlier?

    (3) Egg binding can occur in underweight, young chicks that start laying early. I think both could be Amelia. She is and has always been smaller/lighter than her Welsummers sister, who is laying well currently. I also wasn't expecting eggs till Jan/Feb even. If someone has insights into this, please let us know.

    (4) Keeping her in dark-- anyone know how long to do this for? I have been keeping her mostly in the dark in the garage, isolated from the other 2. She comes out into the living room in the evenings, and I also let her out in the backyard to free-range. Interestingly, the first vet said to keep her in the dark, and that it would be best if she didn't lay another egg until the spring, so her body could heal. However, this is California, so it is rather sunny here. I think we could only do that if I really kept her in the dark a lot. The 2nd vet said not to worry about keeping her in the dark. but then, I'm pretty sure she will lay another egg soon. Are there any downsides/dangers to watch for in keeping her in the dark too much? She has been in the dark now for 2 1/2 weeks. Wonder how long I should keep doing this for?

    (5) My friend's father was a poultry professor, who said that another way to keep her from laying eggs is to change her nutrition. Don't give her Laying feed or oyster shells. So while I was gone, my friend did this and had her eat cornmeal only. However, I'm concerned about continuing this diet-- it seems like she would get undernourished? also if she does lay another egg, it would be important that she had enough calcium or she can get egg-bound again from the lack of calcium, no?

    (6) Amelia has been away from her 2 sisters x 2 1/2 weeks now. She lives in her own crate most of the time. When I've let her run with her sisters, they both seem to peck at her and dislike her : ( Is this normal, even though they all grew up together the past 6 months? ever since they were baby chicks? i expect the EE to be a little aggressive as she is alpha. but her Welsummers sister has always been docile to her, but I notice not anymore. Will there be problems re-integrating her into the flock? anything to make this easier?

    Thanks for any help/thoughts/suggestions!
     
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    I have lots of things I will post when I'm done with my chores.

    -Kathy
     
  3. AprilMayJune

    AprilMayJune Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok thank you Kathy!
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    You will probably have to slowly re-integrate your hen over a number of days back into the flock. It is safely done with a temporary fence between the two. To stop laying in a hen with a prolapse, a decrease in the protein in feed, plus placing in the dark for only 16 hours a day is usually done until the vent is healed, and it is safe to lay eggs. Generally chickens need about 12 hours a day tro keep laying through the winter months, but new layers may continue laying the first year without the extra light. Most people start feeding extra calcium in the diet between 16 and 20 weeks of age, depending on the breed. Some use layer feed plus oystershell, but some use an all flock feed, especially if they have roosters or mixed ages, and then place oyster shell for the extra calcium. All flock feed is very close to chick grower in contents.
     
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Downside to keeping them in the dark is the lack of D3 that they need to properly utilized the calcium, but it is what I do when I have one with a prolapse. I also cut way back on their food. The combo of keeping them in the dark, and feeding less worked with my last two, which were kept in my bathroom for at least 8 weeks, maybe more.

    Did your vet give you any instructions on what to do if it happened again?

    You might want to check out some of the threads post by DrMikelleRoeder: https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/16189/nutrition-sponsored-by-purina-poultry

    Got to eat dinner now, but will post more later.[​IMG]

    -Kathy
     
  6. AprilMayJune

    AprilMayJune Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2014
    California
    Thank you for the replies! The information is very helpful. Thanks for the info and link to Nutrition threads. I really need to read and learn more. Kathy, we are in the bay area and probably just an hour away :)

    I'm not sure I got any specific instructions from the vets about what to do next time. But I have read about doing things like putting her in a warm water bath, honey, and preparation H.

    An interesting update: yesterday, Amelia laid an egg!

    She laid it even though she is mostly kept in the dark in the garage. It was smallish, but she laid it without problems. I don't see any problems with prolapse. No egg today. Any thoughts on whether to continue to keep her in the dark couple and reduce her nutrition and try to prevent laying another couple weeks? Or does this somehow mean she's ready to go outside and lay eggs again now?

    Btw, my avatar is Amelia's chick pic :p
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    She will probably get pretty lonely in the garage by herself. She could heal more during the shorter days of winter, but it is a pain to keep one inside away from the others. It probably would depend on how much trouble it is to care for her by herself. Also it will be very difficult to reintroduce her as an only chicken coming back into the flock, the longer she is out. You could start letting her go out with the others for an hour or so a day, until you're sure that she won't be picked upon. Prolapse and egg binding can damage the cloaca, so she could have problems in the future, as you probably know. I kind of feel like chickens need to be with other chickens, and I would tend to try it and see. Kathy has more experience with prolapse since she has so many birds.
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    What city are you in? I'm originally from Los Altos, but moved here when the boarding stabe closed. Sure do miss that area.

    What my vet suggested for egg binding is:
    • Hydration first! She has me do subcutaneous fluids, but that's not an option for most, so the next best thing would be to tube them. She also said that often egg binding is caused by dehydration.
    • Once fluids are on board, calcium. Dose she told me to use is 100mg/kg every twelve hours. The calcium I use is calcium gluconate from Tractor Supply.
    • Place bird in warm, steam filled bathroom. Make sure toilet lid is down (I usually make a nest in the sink with a towel and pout them in it, then turn off the lights.
    • She also gave me Meloxicam for pain and inflammation. Dose is 0.05mg/kg as needed. You might want to see if your vet will sell you some.

    Since you have already been to the vet for this, I strongly suggest that you consult with them about all of these things you're reading about. Just curious, what vet clinic did you use?

    -Kathy
     
  9. AprilMayJune

    AprilMayJune Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2014
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    Great, thanks for the info Kathy! We are in the Redwood City/Palo Alto/Menlo Park area and have lived in all 3 places... very close to Los Altos [​IMG] how nice of you to have a lot of chickens and be near stables now though.

    You know, hydration is a good thought-- I had wondered if she was dehydrated when the egg-binding happened the first time. As I think the water had spilled in their coop. re: Calcium, are you giving a calcium injection? or did you give it orally as a solution? And yes, Amelia also got a lot of Meloxicam, twice daily for couple weeks while this was happening. the vets didn't want her to keep straining.

    i am definitely making sure from now on there is always a lot of water and oyster shells for the girls : )

    believe it or not, we have been to 3 chicken vets:
    (1) South Peninsula Emergency Vet http://www.southpenvetemergency.com/

    (2) the emergency vet wanted us to f/u with a regular vet, so she saw Dr. Metzger at Adobe Animal Hospital https://www.adobe-animal.com/

    (3) Wildwood for emergency vet care in Portola Valley: http://www.wildwoodvet.com/

    I followed up with the vets who also agreed, time for Amelia to come out of the dark and rejoin her sisters, since she is laying well now. She has now laid 3 eggs without problems, though it is not every day. So I am trying to learn as much as I can about reintegrating her into the flock. They run around the backyard together an hour/day, though I see them peck at/towards her occasionally, maybe once or twice a day. This afternoon, they are sitting in adjacent coops to get used to each other again.

    Thanks again everyone!
     

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