Hard and enlarged bellie.


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jul 11, 2011
I have a Rhode Island Red that has a stomach that's a little larger than a softball; and it's hard. She seems to be still eating and drinking, however, she's really slow and doesn't do a lot. While she still gets around (very slowly), she somewhat isolates. Probably because she's moving so slowly. I've felt around and it doesn't feel like she's egg bound, however, I've never felt one that is. Any suggestions as to what her problem may be and/or solution thereto? PLEASE!!
Has she been laying lately? When you say her stomach is enlarged, I assume you mean her abdomen down under her vent, not her crop? Some chickens can have internal laying problems. Some can develop egg yolk peritonitis where the belly can fill with masses of eggs and egg-laying material. Some can even have what is the equivalent to an ovarian cyst which can fill up with fluid. You can insert a gloved lubricated finger into her vent 1 1/2 inches to gently feel for an egg if it is stuck.
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Thank you for the reply. First, I don't think she's been laying for quite a while, however, not a lot of them are. I have 10 and only get 2 or 3 eggs a day. Nevertheless, when I said stomach, yes, I mean abdomen, not the crop. I just checked her with a lubricated gloved hand, and feel nothing like an egg or cyst. My finger went up about 1-2 inches, and then it's like it hits a hard wall. She seems to be eating and pooping, however, I don't know really how much.

Any suggestions as to what to do. If it's not an egg, as I didn't really feel one, and it's possibly one of the other options you mentioned, what does one do next?

Thanks again for your help.
High production birds can typically get these problems with their reproductive tract. They can get fluid filled abdomens (ascites) that need to be drained with a needle and a syringe to relieve pain and pressure. They can get cancer, or keep laying internally. There are many threads on BYC to read about this problem, but most don't have happy endings. Many people choose to cull them if they get into too much pain.

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