Has my hen got water belly????

Crazyabouthens

Chirping
Jun 9, 2021
61
105
96
My rescue chicken, Lottie, has not been herself lately. She’s sitting puffed up, not eating, comb dark and generally just not doing anything and wanting to hide. But I noticed that she felt a lot heavier so I had a feel of her backend, it was soft and squishy and my first thoughts were water belly. I had another hens few months ago that had it and we drained her a few times but she still sadly passed away. I will attach some pictures to see what you guys think. :confused::hit
52117487-5E19-4C4F-9A4E-B153BB410B9F.jpeg
B1BF9EBE-00F0-45AD-BF0B-AE32A6F3ECE7.jpeg
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,630
282,284
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
Poor girl.
She also has a slight penguin stance and what appears to be a full crop.
It certainly sounds like she has ascites. Likely due to a reproductive disorder.
 

OwO

Songster
7 Years
May 26, 2014
190
43
151
What are you feeding her? Does she have unlimited access to layer feed and grit?

From my understanding, if she has a bloated abdomen, this is usually caused by Egg Yolk Peritonitis as I have learnt from many vet visits over the years with the same problem. In every case I have had, draining has done nothing for my hen in the long term and has only caused the EYP to become septic and her condition to worsen. I do not believe there is an easy way to cure EYP unless you want to get her on a suprelorin implant so her body stops producing eggs altogether.

From the look of her stance it reminds me of when mine have had septic EYP. Generally if it is still sterile they may try to act normal but just get tired more easily and waddle around like a penguin when they walk, until it gets bad enough for them to not be able to do so. One of mine who had it septic made a temporary recovery with Lincospectin antibiotics; this only lasted about a week however and she was then back to being ill.

I am just speaking mostly from experience - I am no expert, but I have lost 4-5 chickens to EYP in the past. After making changes to the feed and the feeders I have been using I have not yet had another case of it, so whether or not it is caused by insufficient feeding I am not sure - just my experience.
 
Last edited:

Crazyabouthens

Chirping
Jun 9, 2021
61
105
96
Poor girl.
She also has a slight penguin stance and what appears to be a full crop.
It certainly sounds like she has ascites. Likely due to a reproductive disorder.
Thank you. Yes she has a penguin stance but her crop is completely empty. She hasn’t been eating properly for days. I think it might be ascites too.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
6 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,508
3,327
407
Portland OR
Thank you. Yes she has a penguin stance but her crop is completely empty. She hasn’t been eating properly for days. I think it might be ascites too.

You can drain her. If there is fluid - even if she may not have much time left- her comfort will be much improved. I've had them bounce back and get months of quality time - I've had some that were on their way down anyway - but getting rid of the fluid will make it easier for her to breathe, it will give her the opportunity to have enough room in her abdomen to want to eat and drink again, and again- you might buy her good time.

Here's a video on how to do it. I use a 14 gauge 1" long needle but a 16 gauge needle (1" long) will work too. They can be found at the cattle vaccination area of any farm store. My modification is I don't bother with a syringe anymore. I just poke the needle in where shown in the video - and let gravity do the work, which is also shown in the video towards the end. Then you don't have to worry about pulling too much off at one time. Be prepared- she may jump when the needle goes in - and those first few moments can be really "spurt"-like as the fluid will come flying out as she breathes in, then slack when she breathes out. If you want to collect the fluid for measurement, have a wide bowl of some kind available. Strongly recommend you do this outside. And as soon as possible.

 

Shezadandy

Crowing
6 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,508
3,327
407
Portland OR
For sure whatever caused the ascities can't be treated. But getting rid of the symptom gives remarkable relief. Even if a hen passes a couple of days after from whichever condition, she didn't have to gasp for every last breath with the fluid. Sometimes they surprise me and have great months ahead.
Ascites is just a symptom of a more serious underlying disorder that are not generally treatable.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
6 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,508
3,327
407
Portland OR
As a matter of personal experience, I've yet to have one die from the procedure itself in many drainings- some individuals require(d) regular maintenance. I find that the sooner they perk up, the better they do. If they don't perk up within a day of being drained, generally whatever caused ascities to begin with - egg yolk peritonitis or organ failure - will take them down despite my efforts. But even for the ones who die in a day or two, they're no longer fighting to breathe.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom