Eggs damaging hens' vents

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by acrossland, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. acrossland

    acrossland New Egg

    Feb 15, 2014
    I have recently lost two of my girls in December/February because they seem to have laid large eggs which damaged their vents. The first one never seemed to have any problems with it; we found some blood in their house one day, but she looked fine so looking back she must have sorted herself out temporarily, because the vet said the damage can sometimes get worse once it's happened once. She prolapsed and got an infection, presumably because her droppings clung to the area around her vent, and my family decided to have her put to sleep because the only antibiotics available would mean we could not eat her eggs for about 6 months, meaning she would have to be separated from the others for a very long time. The other hen must have laid a large egg too because we found a blood-streaked egg that morning, but she looked fine, and then when I got home at around 3:30pm they must have pecked at her already damaged vent, as nobody was home to prevent it. We took her to the vets immediately, because we didn't want to let it get infected and lose another, and we were given Baytril in a liquid form, which we were to put in a plastic syringe and slowly let her drink it from the side of her beak. She was incredibly reluctant to taking the antibiotics, and we couldn't get any of the methods offered online to get her beak to open; we were also very worried that we would hurt her because she was in a lot of pain and we haven't had them for very long, so we are quite cautious with them. We put some Baytril in her water, and she drank it all. We also gave her many warm baths and did our best to clean the area around her vent as instructed. This morning, we found her in her cage and she has very sadly passed away. We thought she was recovering because yesterday, she had laid an egg and tried to jump out of the bath after she'd had enough, but we must have been wrong. We kept radiators by both of them constantly but the second hen did seem to have a little bit of frostbite on her comb, so I rubbed some vaseline onto it. She was drinking plenty, but she didn't really want to eat anything.

    The reason I'm posting this is because I'm wondering if there is anything we're missing that could be causing their vents to be damaged. Should we put some form of heater by the nesting box? It doesn't seem very practical as their house is in our back garden. They don't seem to mind it in there. We have 6 hens now and I don't want to lose three to the same problem. They were both hybrid hens (Black rock and Sussex star). Thanks.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2013
    Using a bath tub used by humans is dangerous. Even if you rinse it, we carry a LOT of bacteria etc which birds should preferably not be exposed to even when healthy. (On our feet, our hands, orifices, etc). Bathing a bird in a human bathtub would carry via water some dangerous bacteria etc straight into the body via her vent and other orifices. If the bathtub is in a bathroom that is also sharing a toilet, even more dangerous. When a female has damage to the reproductive tract, toxic shock syndrome or septic shock can easily result if bad bacteria gets where it ought not to, in fact it's quite likely.

    I've had a few hens who lay massive doubleyolkers, and it's for good reason that it's usually considered wise to cull these hens rather than breed them. It is genetic in most cases, and heritable.

    Boosting the amount of natural oils in your hen's diets will give them enough lubrication to lay easily; in fact when I was first starting with poultry, I read a vet's book saying that olive oil in their diet can totally prevent egg binding; a tall claim to make, but I decide to test it and used it regularly in their diet as well as other natural cold-pressed oils, and have never had an egg-bound hen despite having owned hundreds, so there is possibly something in that. The oils she receives in mash, crumble, or pellets are all cooked, and often synthetic, which is a recipe for disaster and a short life, if that's all the protein and oils they get. It's the very reason so many chickens suffer liver and heart disease; we often keep them on the same diet doctors tell us is unhealthy for heart and liver, lol! We're not that different.

    Giving them raspberry leaf in their water, or as a tea, or simply mixed in with some soaked grain, will help too as it tones the whole female reproductive system and can actually prevent many hemorrhages. If her laying tract is as healthy as it can be, she stands a better chance of surviving an abnormally large egg. With mammals, raspberry leaf tea comes close to guaranteeing a swift and easy birth, and even dogs will drink it eagerly when whelping. No forcefeeding necessary. I would give it to the chooks free-choice if you choose to put it in their water, though. Fresh water is also necessary and tea leaves can biodegrade quickly, making them choose to not drink plain leaves in water. Making a tea, and adding a little honey, will get them all drinking it happily enough I'd bet. But adding finely cut dried leaves to their grains, preferably soaked, is probably the easiest method.

    Another thing which should help is kelp. Dried, granulated, powdered, whatever, a pinch per hen per day mixed in with their feed will regulate their endocrine system and will help if a hen is a double yolker layer because her timing between two-a-day egg laying is messed up.

    Giving overnight soaked grains, or even fermented, is a great thing to do if you're not already doing it, as it makes all the nutrients readily available so they eat less but get more out of it, thereby costing you less, and they are soon noticeably healthier; it also makes it easier to add natural medications to their feed, like raspberry leaf, kelp, olive oil, etc.

    Other things specifically indicated in problems with anything to do with the normal female reproductive functions (also applies to males for the most part) include vitamin A and magnesium which should always be fed in the correct mix of calcium, as the two should not be considered to be separate in the diet nor fed separately. Like most minerals and vitamins (nutrients) they rely on others to be utilized/synthesized etc.

    Best wishes.
  3. acrossland

    acrossland New Egg

    Feb 15, 2014
    First of all, thanks a lot for replying already!

    We weren't sure what to do about the bathing situation; the vet simply told us to give them "warm bum-baths" a few times a day, and since we didn't really have anything else to use, we just put them in the bath, after having cleaned it as well as we could without using bleach or anything. Since we are new to the whole idea of keeping hens, we grew very attached to them (haha), and we aren't going to try breeding them or anything, we just want a couple of eggs each day and they make fantastic pets as we have discovered.

    I will certainly see what I can do regarding your information, thanks a lot! :)
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Unfortunately many of the hens that are sold today in feed stores and hatcheries are these high production hybrid egg laying machines. They are very prone to laying double yolkers, jumbo-size eggs 7 days a week for 2 years straight. Those are the hens who are prone to egg binding, prolapse, and internal laying/egg yolk peritonitis. You might try to find some heritage breeds, or ones who lay often, say 3-4 days a week for more years, and who might have less reproductive problems.

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