Hen eating, drinking, and somewhat active but with a bloated stomach not able to walk without using

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mariejulianna, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Mariejulianna

    Mariejulianna Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello! Sorry for the long thread name... I didn't know how to describe her symptoms in one breath...

    My hen is about 2 years old. She is a Rhode Island Red that has been an excellent layer. For about 2 weeks now she has been under the weather. I thought at first it was heat exhaustion because it has been triple digits. She was passing bright yellow dung that smelled really bad, like rotten eggs. I then thought maybe an egg broke inside of her (peritonitis) but she has not died yet. I thought I read somewhere that they die rather quickly from that. Well, now I have moved her into the house during the day when it gets hot, otherwise she manages to get under the lowest nesting shelves and tries to burrow in the wall to keep cool... When she is in the house I give her cold water and a mash mixture of oatmeal and raw egg. She loves to chase pieces of bread if I drop them into her water dish. She does eat throughout the day. However, a big issue is that she does not walk normally. She can stand if she wants and take a few baby steps if she wants. But 99% of the time she walks by using her wings--if you know what I mean. She can move pretty well if she has to. NOW, I have given her corid in her water for 5 days as I originally thought she might have some sort of coccidiosis. Nothing changed so she is now getting Wazine17 in her water.... I have noticed her stomach is somewhat bloated looking. Her dung is no longer bright yellow, but is often a brownish with green. The green may be from her lack of eating as much as she used to .... I am now down to one last thing: her inability to walk without using her wings. Everybody keeps telling me she is just enjoying "chilling in the cool house" but as her "mother" I think there is still more to it.... BTW, her pupils are a normal shape (mareks). I am now stumped... Help!!

    EDIT: Mesa (my hen) breathes really heavily, too. I have also wondered if she has a respiratory illness?

    Thanks in advance! Sorry for rambling....

    --Marie
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  3. Shabana

    Shabana Chillin' With My Peeps

    If she is suffering with internal laying there is an implant they can have (for dogs and ferrets but also works on chickens) which stops them Laying for a period of time.
    Different strengths are available.

    You can help to limit her Laying by reducing the amount of light to no more than 8 hours, although sometimes this is less than practical.

    They can absorb the fluid but if they are laying constantly internally it's a loosing battle.

    Hope she goes on ok.
    Best wishes x
     
  4. Hanna8

    Hanna8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like internal laying. There is some confusion on the difference between internal laying and egg yolk peritonitis. Internal laying is simply when egg material is deposited in the abdomen. This rarely, if ever, fixes itself. Hens can carry on indefinitely with this, provided it doesn't build up too much and put pressure on their organs (in which case, draining is an option- but be careful, this increases chances of infection). The problem is when/if it develops into peritonitis- when that eggy material sitting around in the abdomens causes a raging infection. This is extremely likely to develop eventually in a hen who is laying internally. This infection is what wipes them out so quickly. I highly recommend that you talk to your vet about hormone implants so you, hopefully, never have to see your hen develop egg yolk peritonitis. Once they get that, chances of recovery become slim. If you can, find a good avian vet. Other vets should be familiar with the hormone, but it is only really used for this sort of thing in birds. So an avian vet is ideal. I hope she pulls through! My biggest piece of advice: act quickly. You never know when infection might set in, and though it may not happen for months, it is entirely possible that one day will make all the difference for your hen's chances of living through this.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  5. Hanna8

    Hanna8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Forgot to say that the heavy breathing is likely a sign that fluid is building up and making it more difficult to breathe.
     
  6. Mariejulianna

    Mariejulianna Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you all for the replies! My vet won't see chickens.... and there is none around that does... any kind of home remedy this chicken mom could do? I am not afraid of operations if there is something I can do. Could this be genetic? It seems to me this hen's mom had the same symptoms for about 3 weeks before she died. I never knew what it was. Just thought it was something with "that hen." I never saw the solution online... I just don't want her having a horrible death like her mother...ugh! that was sad.

    Thanks again.

    --Marie
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  7. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The only 'home remedy' you can do is to drain the fluid that it is building up inside her. This will relieve the pressure on her internal organs, and allow her to stand and walk more normally. Although it isn't too difficult to do, you have to be careful not to puncture anything vital by sticking the needle in too deep, and you also have to clean the area thoroughly to avoid potential infection.

    If you search on youtube for "draining hen abdomen" you will find several videos showing how people do it. I also advise you to study the anatomy of a chicken before you start - I for one didn't realise that they have air sacs in addition to their lungs, and you don't want to be piercing one of those by accident. One good image showing the position of the air sacs can be found here.


    I tried it on a chicken that I believe has been laying internally (she had the 'scrambled egg' poo for a few days, and is walking like a sumo wrestler!) but I couldn't draw any liquid out, so I didn't force it. I may have had the needle in the wrong place, but I think it is more likely that she has a solid deposit in her - it does feel very hard, not soft and squishy like many people describe. For the moment she is moving around ok and eating well, but drinks gallons of water and produces watery diarrhea. I think it is the only way she can get the solids out of her, as she is very swollen inside. I know her days are numbered, but as long as she is not suffering I will let her enjoy the time she has left.

    Internal laying seems to be such a common problem in production breeds of chicken. I never knew that before I got my girls, and I think that it has put me off getting any more production reds in the future. I will stick to breeds that may lay less frequently but which aren't prone to such problems in later life.
     
  8. Hanna8

    Hanna8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As far as home remedies, all you really can do is drain her. This will make her more comfortable and hopefully give her more time. It is risky though, in that it can cause infection. If she gets an infection, she will need major meds that you probably won't be able to get on your own.
     
  9. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    It may be internal laying or it may not be. The swollen abdomen is often caused by ascites, fluid buildup in the body cavities. This can be a complication of internal laying but it can also be caused by heart/circulatory problems, cancers or other tumors, problems or diseases of the liver/kidneys and more. None of these things are fixable. It is true that if you can drain off some of the fluid, if that's what the swelling is, it does make them much more comfortable and makes breathing easier. But the fluid always returns due to whatever the underlying cause is. We have dealt with this quite a few times and when they get to the point that they are obviously uncomfortable and having trouble getting around we put them down. I've tried treating them, draining them and giving antibiotic's if it turns into peritonitis but the outcome is always the same and too often they end up suffering in the end so we now end it before it gets to that point. Chickens are far to good at hiding their illness and especially their discomfort so by the time they showing signs that are obvious and visible to us they are very sick birds indeed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Mariejulianna

    Mariejulianna Out Of The Brooder

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    Should I post a picture? It is so hard since I think many symptoms are shared by many different illnesses...

    --Marie
     

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