HELP! Peritonitis and gurgling


In the Brooder
8 Years
Oct 31, 2011
Hi all, I've been doing my homework and going through many threads to try to help my chicken. I lost a red a couple months ago to what I thought at the time was a bound egg gone terribly wrong. Now I think she has what her sister has which is perotinitis (or however you spell it).

I quite nervously drained her with the help of my husband. I didn't even take out half it seems, but the liquid came out pretty much apple juice colored. What does that mean?

She's about 3 years old. I think its so weird for this to be happening so close to the other hen and I've never had this happen before that.

My plan WAS to drain her some more in the morning and then maybe half the day later do some more until I eventually got it all out. I've got her on some antibiotics. BUT - I was considering doing another draw from her when she began gurgling. Now I'm really concerned. I was beginning to feel I could take care of the fluid filled belly, but now she's making gurgling noises and trying to sneeze it out.

Now what?!
I do want to add that her crop is empty - so no sour crop. I think it is in her lungs.

Come on guys, I could really use some help. She is still with us. Still has a little bit of an appetite.
I drained her some last night. I think its ascites now, not EYP. This morning she doesn't seem quite as full as she did when I left her. I got some antibiotics into her. I guess we are doing the wait and see but I really think she needs some water!
We have dealt with this several times. Unfortunately, as Dawg mentioned, there is usually only one end result. The outlook is grim whether the ascites is related to internal laying or whether it is caused by some other problem. It can result from heart/circulatory problems or problems with other major organs such as the liver/kidneys etc. You can drain her and treat with antibiotic's but there is some serious, underlying problem that is causing it all. I have attempted in the past to treat these hens and give them whatever life expectancy they may have as long as they are comfortable but I have since stopped doing so and I put them down when they get bloated up like that. Chickens hide it so well when they are ill or in any kind of discomfort and I just have not liked what I've seen towards the end with these birds.

If the fluid you are getting out of her is clear, yellow fluid that usually means there is no infection at the moment. When it gets infected it turns a cloudy yellow, brown or greenish color.

If she is making gurgling noises I would think she may not last long. Either the fluid in her body cavities is making it hard to breath or she's now got fluid in her lungs as well, probably the latter.

Wish I had a better outlook for you but these hens generally just do not make it.
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I don't want to give anyone false hope, because this case was the exception, not the norm. Someone recently posted that they took their hen to the vet, started on Baytril and steroids and several days later the hen passed a nasty, necrotic looking egg. My experiences have all ended the same way - DEATH.

This is what I usually get out of my hens:

Well and I will add that I do know someone who had a hen with ascites that was known to be caused by internal laying. The owner works for an avian vet and she had him do basically a spay surgery on her. Much more difficult then a typical dog/cat spay but he was able to do it, get everything out and she survived. This bird was also an exception in that she was able to have treatment before she got terribly sick and that she in fact survived the surgery itself. Often by the time these birds get to a vet they are not well enough to survive surgery or there is some other cause other then internal laying and sometimes you don't know until you get inside. It's a very expensive and very iffy option. The first time I had a bird develop ascites I had a necropsy done on her after she passed, the cause was a heart defect that affected her circulation to the point that her body was just not able to get rid of the excess fluid. No surgery would have helped that particular bird.
I lost one young peachick to ascites last year, he also had a heart defect, so no surgery would have saved him. FYI, someone in the peafowl forum was quoted something like $1500 to spay her peahen that had EYP due to a *stuck* egg and was told there was a good chance the hen wouldn't survive the surgery. Like cafarmgirl said, many things, even cancer can cause ascites.

Thanks for your responses, I really appreciate it. Out of all the reading I've done, it seems like a lot of the birds will get suddenly better before passing. I have to leave in two days and I guess if she is not looking exceptionally better, I might put her down so she doesn't have to deal with being miserable at the end. I dunno. She munched on some scratch grains but I don't think she's drinken anything yet.

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