HELP! Inexperienced and need to diagnose ILLNESS!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by patty007, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. patty007

    patty007 New Egg

    Aug 14, 2008
    near Roseburg, Oregon
    Hello, am new to message board, have had a flock of backyard chickens for about 1 1/2 years now with relatively few problems. We have them for eggs only, and they all have names. This morning we had to put a rhode island red down when we noticed she had become very ill. She had lots of feces around her bottom, and her cloacae, hope I spelled that right, was bulging and dilated, with the start of small maggots around the area from flies. We had no idea if it was a stuck egg, or an internal infection, or something else. It looked like it looked if you've ever seen a farm animal with a prolapsed rectum, to try and better describe it. She was in a high level of distress, and we made difficult decision to put down. We need HELP, to see if anybody knows what likely caused this, we are relatively inexperienced like I said. We will treat ALL chickens(about 20) with a antibiotic if anyone thinks it might be a contagious infection. PLEASE HELP IF YOU CAN!!! Thank you very much!
  2. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    I think the prolapse was likely the start of the problem. After that, the droppings stuck, which attracted the flies, which laid their eggs, which hatched into maggots which ate at her flesh.

    We usually check the flock at night when we lock up just to make sure everyone is behaving normally and not showing any signs of illness.

    I would suggest you check the rest of the flock just to make sure everyone appears in good shape.
    You may see some jostling now, as they readjust their pecking order in the flock. Just keep an eye on them.

    Sorry about your hen. Even though it had to be a tough decision, it sounds like you did the right thing.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  3. tiki244

    tiki244 Flock Mistress

    Jan 1, 2008
    Also make sure that your hens are not too fat, for that will cause more eggboundness. They probably are not though. These things happen. Sorry for your loss. [​IMG]
  4. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Quote:I agree. It's not always an easy decision but, it sounds like the right one in this case. [​IMG]
  5. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Sounds like a prolapse in your hen. That's quite a common problem with egg laying hens. Basically the egg laying apparatus gets pushed inside-outwards when the egg is laid. Sometimes that tissue that should be tucked inside gets stuck and swollen on the OUTSIDE. That's a prolapse, and it looks exactly as you described:

    cloacae, ..., was bulging and dilated,

    If you catch the prolapse early, you can try some techinques to get the tissues to reduce swelling and go back inside. Some common are using preparation H on the protruding tissues to shrink the swelling and then pushing the tissue back inside. Sometimes these techinques work, other times the hen will just continue to prolapse over and over again, at which point euthanasia is probably the most humane course of action.

    Sounds like she prolapsed, and then her feces couldn't 'eject' correctly which made them stick around her vent and then you get the fly problem, etc.

    Sorry about your girl - I think you made the tough but right call on ending her suffering.

    I would NOT administer antibiotics to the rest of the flock. Prolapse is a mechanical/physical problem, not any sign of infection, etc in and of itself. The maggots and inflamation in this one hen was most likely just a side effect of the original prolapse, not a sign of any communicable disease...​
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  6. patty007

    patty007 New Egg

    Aug 14, 2008
    near Roseburg, Oregon
    Thank You all for your replies! It is very kind of everyone to take time out for words of wisdom to us inexperienced chicken owners, both about the illness, and also words of comfort for the loss of our hen. I will keep you all posted after we follow your advice, thank you all again!...[​IMG]
  7. sammi

    sammi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    it would be a good idea to have some saline solution, betadine and Preparation H on hand in case this ever happens again..

    sorry for the hen and that you lost her.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008

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