Hen puffed up and listless

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kimmie6067, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. kimmie6067

    kimmie6067 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)She is a EE will be a year old in May, about four pounds she is small
    2) What is the behavior, exactly. Lets me pick her up that is strange
    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? Two days
    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?No
    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma. NO
    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. Nothing I know of.
    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. Water and laying mash
    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. Not pooing much but her butt is a mess, runny
    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?Gave her a bath in case she was egg bound but I don't think thats what it is. Tonight her crop is huge but will check in the morning.
    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet? Treat myself
    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

    [​IMG]She is all puffed up and has her head under her wing now. I had given her a bath and tried to dry her good then I wrapped her up she she wouldn't get cold from the feathers being a little wet.

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use Right now she is on straw, in the coop it's leaves and wood chips
  2. kellypepperk

    kellypepperk Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2012
    Delaware County, NY
    I started a thread this morning - very similar symptoms... poor girls. [​IMG]
  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    She needs to be in your house where it's warm. I will post more when I'm done with my chores.
  4. kimmie6067

    kimmie6067 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I got her in the house in a dog kennel
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Perfect... you might want to put some hot water bottles under a towel for her. No straw, no shavings, poop samples need to be examined.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  6. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    I can't be sure based on the information, but here are a few remedies that may help.

    Sour crop/botulism?:

    If it doesn't seem stressful to the bird, gently massage the crop and feel if it's grainy or watery. I've relieved impacted crops before they got sour in the past with crop bound capsules, gently massaging the crop, withholding solid feed, and allowing constant access to water. If it is watery you can gently hold the bird upside down by her legs against your body. I put my two middle fingers between the legs so I don't stress the joints. With your other hand gently milk the crop downward to expel the liquid out the bird's mouth (do it over a receptacle to catch the vomit). Give the bird a break for awhile and observe breathing and behavior. You can use 1 tablespoon of Epson Salts in 1/2 cup of tepid water and get as much as you can down the bird's throat 2x a day. I use a soft rubber aquarium hose, if the bird refuses to drink, and attach it to a large syringe to get the solution gently down the throat and into the crop. You can induce vomiting again if the bird's crop doesn't empty in a couple hours, but I wouldn't induce vomiting more than once a day. Don't do it for more than 2-3 days. The bird will need nutrition as soon as the crop starts emptying normally. This is commonly used for botulism/sour crop.

    No crop impaction and maybe Cocci?:
    I've used Sulfadimethoxine in the water for Coccidiosis in the past with fast results.
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    How did you check for a stuck egg? To do it properly, you need to get some latex gloves, KY Jelly and insert your finger. Feel around gently, because if she has an egg, you don't want to break it.

    This is always what I do when mine are feeling off:

    • Bring inside and do thorough exam.
    • Get bird warm.
    • Place bird in warm, quiet spot with access to food and water.
    • Dust for mites/lice with poultry dust even if I cannot see any. DE does not work.
    • Weigh daily on digital kitchen scale.
    • De-worm with Safeguard for Goats/Cattle (fenbendazole 100mg/ml) 50mg/kg by mouth and repeat in 10 days.
    • If not drinking and crop is empty, tube feed fluids until hydrated.
    • Once hydrated, if not eating and crop is empty, tube feed baby bird mixed with fluids.
    • Poop inspection.
    • Depending on what I observe, I *might* give antibiotics or other medications.
  8. kimmie6067

    kimmie6067 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Update on hen, her crop seems to be fine she is eating and drinking now, standing up and even pecking at me. She seems to be skimny. So to feel for a egg I have to actually stick my finger up the vent and if there's an egg and it is stuck then what? She is a very small EE. She ate some bread so now I know she is better I couldn't get her to take anything.
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    From: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/07/chicken-egg-binding-causes-symptoms.html

    Jul 20, 2012

    Chicken Egg Binding. Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
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    Calcium or other nutritional deficiency
    Excessively large or misshapen egg
    Hen began laying eggs before her body was fully mature
    Lack of sufficient nesting areas, resulting in intentional egg retention
    An overview of a hen's reproductive system is important in order to know where an egg may be stuck.*

    A hen's uterus (aka: shell gland) is the muscle responsible for squeezing the egg out of the vent. Since muscles require calcium to contract properly, if a hen has a calcium deficiency, the egg can get stuck in the uterus.

    • Loss of appetite
    • Disinterest in drinking
    • Shaky wings
    • Walking like a penguin
    • Abdominal straining
    • Frequent, uncharacteristic sitting
    • Passing wet droppings or none at all (egg interferes with normal defecation)
    • Droopy/depressed/pale comb and wattles
    This photo is on the internet as a funny hen, but the likely cause of this posture is egg-binding.​


    • Infection
    • Prolapsed uterus
    • Damage to oviduct
    • Bleeding
    • Death
    • Avoid supplemental lighting with young pullets to avoid premature egg-laying
    • Feed layer ration, which is carefully formulated to provide balanced nutrition to laying hens
    • Make available oyster shell (or another calcium source) free-choice (never add to the feed)
    • Avoid excess treats that can interfere with balanced nutrition in layer ration
    • Avoid treats in the summer heat when feed intake is reduced & supply additional oyster shell containers

    Calcium (injection, liquid or via vitamins & electrolyte solution)
    Warm bath
    Apply KY jelly
    To assess whether a hen is egg-bound at home, gently feel on either side of her vent with one hand (think: squeezing the cheeks of a cute kid). If an egg is felt, giving the hen calcium is the first course of action. Absent liquid calcium, vitamins and electrolytes in the water contain calcium and can help. Even if she's not interested in drinking, try to get some into her with a dropper or syringe carefully. If she is too weak to drink, don't try it. The calcium may be enough to get her to pass the egg on her own within a half hour or so.
    Put the hen in a tub of warm water for 15-20 minutes, which will hydrate her vent and relax her, making it easier to pass the egg.

    After a warm bath, some KY jelly applied to the vent can also help hydrate the cloaca to allow for ease of passage when the egg gets to that point (don’t use olive oil, as it can become rancid). Massage the area around the egg gently towards the vent, being careful not to break the eggshell.

    At this point, put her in a crate in a darkened, quiet room. If a truly egg-bound hen does not pass the egg within an hour of these measures, the egg may need to be manually removed, which can be dangerous but is possible but proceed at your own risk.

    "If she still hasn't expelled the egg, and you don't think she's going to on her own, then you can move to manual manipulation. This only applies if she is still bright and not in shock. Palpate the abdomen to find the location of the egg and gently manipulate it in an effort to move it along. GENTLE is the key word here. If manual manipulation fails and you can see the tip of the egg, another option is aspiration, implosion, and manual removal.

    "First, get someone to help you hold the bird very securely while you work (preferably not upside dwn). Then, using a syringe and a large needle (18ga.), draw the contents of the egg into the syringe. After aspiration of the contents, gently collapse the egg all around. You want to do this gently in order to keep the inner membrane of the egg in tact, which will keep the eggshell fragments together.

    Last, gently remove the egg. (Copious amounts of lubrication would be good here.) Go slow and try to keep the shell together (although broken). If all fragments do not come out, they should pass, along with remaining egg content, within the next several days."

    Additional reading and resources:

    *Anatomical illustrations and photo reproduced for educational purposes, courtesy of Jacquie Jacob, Tony Pescatore and Austin Cantor, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. Copyright 2011. Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, M. Scott Smith, Director, Land Grant Programs, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Lexington,and Kentucky State University, Frankfort. Copyright 2011 for materials developed by University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension. This publication may be reproduced in portions or its entirety for educational and nonprofit purposes only. Permitted users shall give credit to the author(s) and include this copyright notice. Publications are also available on the World Wide Web at www.ca.uky.edu. Issued 02-2011


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  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Egg Binding​

    Egg binding refers to a common and potentially serious condition where a female bird is unable to pass an egg that may be stuck near the cloaca, or further inside the reproductive tract. Even though egg binding can occur in any female bird, it is most common in smaller birds such as lovebirds, cockatiels, budgies and finches.
    The potential of an egg breaking inside the tract is high, which then can result in an infection or damage to internal tissue; and - if left untreated - death.
    The bound egg may be gently massaged out; failing this it may become necessary for a vet to break the egg inside and remove it in parts. If broken, the oviduct should be cleaned of shell fragments and egg residue to avoid damage or infection.

    Suspected causes for egg binding include:
    • Low Calcium Levels or Hypocalcaemia Syndrome associated with low calcium levels in the blood. Supplementing the breeding hen with a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D is an important factor in preventing this problem
      • You could provide a dish filled with crushed egg shell (from boiled eggs to kill any bacteria) and/or attach a calcium / mineral block to the cage.
      • In areas where access to natural sunlight is limited (such as in the northern hemisphere during the winter months), full-spectrum lamps can be used to provide UVA and UVB rays.
      • Please click here for natural food sources rich in Vitamin D
      • Potentially discuss supplementation with your vet. Supplementation needs to be carefully screen ed and supervised by a vet since an excess of vitamin D (in the form of a supplement) causes kidney damage and retards growth.
      • Relevant Article: Natural Calcium for Birds - Sources and Absorbability
    • Malnutrition caused by seed-only or low-protein diets. Please click here for information on bird nutrition.
    • Sedentary lifestyle: Often the case when birds are kept in enclosures / cages that are too small for them. The lack of exercise causes poorly developed muscles and obesity.
    • At particular risk are sick and old birds.
    • Pet birds can also develop this problem, as birds don't need a mate to lay eggs. (Obviously, solitary egg-laying females won't produce fertile eggs.)
    Also refer to Chronic Egg Laying and Thin-shelled, soft-shelled, no-shell, porous, misshaped / deformed eggs

    Clinical Signs:
    Loss of appetite, depression, abdominal straining, and sitting fluffed on the bottom of the cage. Some hens may pass large wet droppings while others may not pass any droppings due to the egg's interfering with normal defecation.

    If you suspect that your bird is egg-bound, she should be seen by a vet immediately. The veterinarian may be able to feel the egg in the bird's abdomen. An x-ray may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Sometimes medical treatment will enable the hen to pass her egg. Occasionally surgery is necessary.
    Complications from being egg bound can be swelling, bleeding or prolapse of the oviduct.

    If in doubt as to if the hen is egg bound or not, a few vet sites recommend separation, warmth, warm bath and calcium to all hens in lay that seem distressed.
    This is a life-threatening condition and should be addressed by a qualified avian vet. Your vet may discuss:
    • Calcium shots - immediate solution to help the egg shell harden allowing the hen to hopefully pass it
    • Lupron shots to stop hens from going into breeding condition
    • Spaying your hen as a permanent solution

    The following are samples of actions that have resolved this problem for some birds (please note: not all hens can be saved, especially if it's critical by the time the problem was discovered and no vet is available or can be reached in time). Egg-bound hens go into profound cardiovascular collapse and may not be able to put in the effort to push the egg out without intervention.
    • Place the bird into a steamy room, such as bathroom with shower on until the bathroom mirrors and windows steam up. Desired temperature: 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit / Humidity: 60%. Place bird on wet towel. The warmth relaxes the hen so that the vent can dilate more allowing the egg to pass.
    • A warm water bath can also be of great help (shallow water, of course, you don't want to drown the hen). This relaxes her muscles and often the hen will pass the egg into the water. Make the water as warm as you would like to take a long soak in.
    • Massage the muscles in that area with olive oil. In many cases, this lead to a successful passing of the egg. Note: there is a risk associated with messaging this area. It could cause the egg inside to break - which is life-threatening. Be very careful! If in doubt, it's always best to have the vet take care of it ...
    • Even if the cause is not hypocalcaemia in this hen’s case it will not hurt her to have more calcium.
    • Applying a personal lubricant, such as KY jelly to her vent may also be helpful.
    • To reduce swelling on her vent, some breeders reported success in applying Preparation H to her vent.
    • Successful Passing of the Egg: Following passing of the egg keep the hen in a warm and quiet area separate from the others, until she is out of shock and back to eating and drinking well.
    • Prevention: Provide bird with high-calorie, high-calcium food to help strengthen future eggs and prevent egg binding. Click here for information on bird nutrition.

    Avianweb Visitor Allen McRae, whose Cordon Blue Finch was egg-bound, followed some of the instructions above and wrote back:
    "It worked! We're not sure which suggestion worked. My wife gave her some calcium as well as bath water, and when I went home for lunch she had passed the egg and looked 100% better. My wife gives them water to bathe in daily, so I'm not sure what exactly helped her pass the egg. It was lying in the water, the shell was cracked in half, with one side still containing the yolk."
    Great News!​
    1 person likes this.

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