HELP! 1hen not eating, seems unwell, other has HUGE red butt/abdomen:(


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 16, 2010
my 2 and a half year old hen seems down and generally unwell - she's not eating, not her pellets or the corn (which she usually loves), just took up some strawberries which she ate but didn't seem too interested (she usually comes right up to get food, especially strawberries) she keeps sitting down and just sitting there for ages. She's recently been laying eggs that have been breaking in the nest box, but the last couple of days they've been fine (could be because of a calcium supplement we bought that you put in their water...), but she seems so down. She's not eaten any pellets - the feeder has been full for a week now, which implies the other one isn't eating either!
The other one seems more lively and normal, but she hasn't been eating the pellets, and hasn't laid an egg for weeks. She's had a big red bottom / abdomen whatever it is.... just below the vent? It's really big and round and looks really sore. She doesn't seem to mind it - not pecking at it or anything, there's no discharge or blood or anything, but it looks so bad like it might pop soon? I'm not sure if it's an egg - it's been like this for some weeks now so I would've thought if it was an egg she would've had some sort of prolapse by now? She is lively though, and ran around for the strawberries, although she's not eating the pellets either. We've not changed pellets, they've always had the same ones and always eaten them...
I'm really worried about both of them, and we're going away Monday - Thursday, and my neighbour (who is very good at looking after them) is going to take care of them, but I'm panicking that we'll get back and something will have happened.
I'm not sure which one I should be more worried about - the one that's not eating or moving but is laying..... or the one that is moving and half eating but has the big red swollen thing and isn't laying!!! :'(
Please help asap, anything!!!!! We lost one last year due to an egg breaking inside of her and it was horrible, since then we've been worried that something will happen again - we upped their calcium intake because we were told the one that died could've been because of a calcium lack. They have access to grit and oyster shell, not sure if they're eating that either!!!
I'm not sure, because wouldn't something have happened after a few weeks of being like that? I've been looking around regarding the big butt thing, and some people seem to think it could be a build up of water, in which case we should use a syringe (but I really really don't want to do that....what if it goes wrong...
), or egg peritonitis? if you look at the drawing of the chicken with the red thing, that's what it looks like, but the person didn't reply and say what it was!!!!
Please please someone help! Might suggest we take her to the vets... but here in the UK our vets don't seem to deal with chickens much....
And some people say it could mean she's an internal layer, but I don't know what that means.....?
Could be acities. I just had a hen die and I thought it was from this. I opened her up immediately after she died and fluid just poured from her abdominal cavity. I had another which had this too and I drained the fluid from her day before yesterday. I drew about 2 cups off her. She immediately felt better and mixed with her chicken friends. Before she was lethergic and nonsocial.
I think she's egg bound. Lost a hen to that a few weeks back because I didn't act fast enough. Do a search here for the remedies and try them. I know one thing they recommened was a warm bath for about a half hour to help pass the egg. Another was to lubracate the vent. I forget the rest. You have nothing to loose by trying. Good luck!
So it seems there is no cure for internal laying? It's strange though because it's been like this for weeks, but she's perfectly normal in all other areas - eating, poodling around, seems happy and normal! (apart from she's not laying and the swelling...)
Is it anything we've done which has caused it, or is it just something that happens regardless?
Might suggest we give her a warm bath, to clean her up a bit if anything... I'm just really worried that I'll go up there and it'll have burst! Sounds silly I know... But it's big. Would a photo help?
Internal laying is genetic/hormonal in nature and nothing you caused. There is no cure. It's common in the most common hatchery stock and high production breeds like sex links. There is no cure, unfortunately, though one study has implied that the addition of flax seed may help avoid this. I have given my hens flax seed on occasion, though, and have lost 9 hens to internal laying/egg peritonitis.

They do eat and drink normally almost till the end, but they lose massive amounts of weight in spite of the abdomen being enlarged. Sometimes, the abdomen doesn't even enlarge, though. They just lose weight and become weaker and weaker until they pass on. I've opened up hens and found the same congealed masses of infection/egg yolk in hens with no abdominal swelling and hens with massive abdominal swelling.

So how long could she go on for? Can they live any length of time like this? And is there a chance it could be something different and curable?!?
We got ours from a poultry fair, but I think they are probably some sort of hatchery stock, even though the guy said they were from a small home reared flock (one had worms within about a week of getting her home...and they were all a bit small and puny).
This may sound silly... but can it burst? Or like split?


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