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feather quills?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by carolinasculpture, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. carolinasculpture

    carolinasculpture Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello All! I have been looking through threads, but haven't been able to find anything quite like this, so any ideas would be appreciated!

    Anyway, here is the situation: Our hen, BokChoy is about 5 1/2 years old and I am pretty sure that might be at least part of the issue. She is a production red from a hatchery and hasn't been laying for a while. When she does, it is just one huge egg and then nothing for about a month. She is eating and drinking, but seems really uncomfortable, is fluffed up and does the penguin walk. The other day I noticed her bum was pretty poopy so today I brought her in to clean her up and found that the poo really wasn't all that bad (not all that good either, but not what I thought). The bulk of the problem seems to be that her feathers have not shed the quills. All the feathers on he belly are the same way. We cleaned he up and then kind of rolled the feathers to separate the quill from the feather. Now she has a fluffy bum again! :) I hope that helps with the poo retention, but also, we noticed that her abdomen is tight, pink and swollen. Her vent is clean, pink and moist. Egg bound?

    Anything we can do to make her more comfortable? Or that would help? Reason for the quills?
    Thank you!
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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  4. carolinasculpture

    carolinasculpture Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! Thank you for your help. My poor hen did pass, and I performed a basic autopsy to see what was going on inside. As you suggested, and I thought was probably the case, she did in fact have egg yolk peritonitis. I was happy to see what appeared to be a healthy liver and everything else inside. Is this issue less common with non-hatchery hens? I am seeing that there is not much that can be done and that is seems to be very common in older hatchery chickens. I believe most of my other hen deaths have been due to this egg yolk peritonitis. I had no deaths at all until about a year ago. (Got first chicks about 5 1/2 years ago.) Then as they have reached about 4 1/2 to 5 years old, I have lost 5 of my original 7. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. They live in a 9'x6' coop with door always open to a 50'x50' run. Are fed layeana and have free choice oyster shells and grit. They get a little scratch most days and kitchen scraps. Started with 7 hens, next year added 2 hens and a rooster. Next year hatched out 2 roos and a hen. (Original roo and one son went to freezer camp) got 3 new hens each spring until current time. Have lost 6 in total, the hen we hatched out had congenital issues.

    Anyway, the quills are still a mystery to me. Do you think that maybe her system was just too taxed to preen away the quills?

    Thanks!
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss. I have been doing a lot of reading over the last couple of years to learn about internal laying, egg yolk peritonitis, egg binding, and prolapsed vent because they are all sometimes connected. I have learned a lot by Googling these terms, but also from reading threads by Speckled Hen, who was formerly a moderator on BYC. She lost a lot of hatchery chickens to internal laying, and has a lot of knowledge. Here is one of her threads: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...and-other-egg-issues-will-this-never-end-long
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014

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