Hen with encrusted vent, underweight and not laying

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ctrl-alt-doll, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. ctrl-alt-doll

    ctrl-alt-doll Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2016
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hello

    This is my first time posting. I was hoping to find an answer to this problem with a search, but nothing seems to come up and I don't know what it is.

    History - this is my first time keeping bantam chickens, or any chickens. We live on small acreage near Brisbane, Australia. We started with 5 bantams, 3 silkies and 2 Pekins, 2 started laying not long after I brought them home and have been the healthiest. The other three have had respiratory problems which we treated with antibiotics but I eventually culled them (I couldn't do it, so took it to the vet). I'm left with 2 Pekin Bantams and 1 Silkie and have not had any respiratory problems since. We have also had an infestation of mites which we have successfully treated.

    One of the Pekins is not laying, never started, so I checked her vent and found that she has a build up of white and black hard stuff that I can't remove. I have no idea what it is or how to help this hen.

    What I have done so far:

    - Removed as much as I could with wet paper towels and trimmed the feathers around the vent
    - Soaked her in warm, soapy water baths for about 15 minutes each time, and then rinsed her, over 3 days
    - applied olive oil to her vent daily hoping that it has an emollient effect

    The stuff is not budging and this poor hen is all skin and bones. She is not lethargic or segregates herself from the others but is definitely not as lively as the other two. She gets around with them in a normal chicken stance, just not as lively and doesn't feel right to me. She should be laying and her bottom should look healthy like the other two.

    Could you set me on the right path on finding out what is wrong with this hen and help her, please?

    Many thanks.
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Pictures are always helpful.
    The hard stuff could be poop (dingleberry?) or left over mite/lice feces (these can become encrusted).
    It is blocking the vent? You may have to cut the thing out or as someone suggests in one of the links, take a pair of pliers and see if it can be broken up. It's not a tumor is it? Have you wormed them?
    How old is she? What kind of food and treats do you feed?

    First link is about poop being stuck:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1064945/dingleberry

    This one shows feces build up of lice/mites:
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/08/poultry-lice-and-mites-identification.html
     
  3. ctrl-alt-doll

    ctrl-alt-doll Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2016
    Brisbane, Australia

    Yes, I will take some photos today.

    It doesn't look like anything in the pictures at the mite/lice link.


    No, but it is partially in the vent.

    I don't think it's a tumour. I haven't wormed them, she's less than a year old, the chickens just get the layers grains (to which we add granulated garlic) and water with vinegar. I haven't found a treat they like other than prawn (shrimp) tails they had at Christmas.

    I'll be back with photos.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
  4. ctrl-alt-doll

    ctrl-alt-doll Out Of The Brooder

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    1
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    Jan 18, 2016
    Brisbane, Australia
    This is my hen's vent. She is upside down.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    I'm really sorry, I just can't bring myself to have a good look at that to see what's going on there, but have you considered fly strike?
     
  6. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Oh My! I was thinking she had hard poop stuck to her feathers. That is not the case, poor thing.

    Soak her again in warm water with maybe a little epsom salts. ( a long soak)
    You are going to have to get that gunk out somehow.
    This is going to take several soaks and several attempts.
    Try picking/pulling any that is loose/softened out with tweezers, q tips or whatever you can get at it with.
    She is impacted. Try whatever lube you have olive oil, vaseline, etc. and see if you can start softening it.

    I did find a thread that sounds close to your problem :
    The original poster had to sort of pick away at hers. Post 5 & Post 13

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/146561/help-rooster-has-hard-vent-impacted-with-poop
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I agree with everything Wyorp Rock has said to do. It looks a bit like there could have been a prolapsed vent where the prolapse has dried out and become necrotic or dead. Keep up the soaks, but take a rag toward the end of each soak, and rub st the black tissue. It may bleed, but that means you have removed the dead part. Then lube it up with some ointment or coconut oil.
     
  8. ctrl-alt-doll

    ctrl-alt-doll Out Of The Brooder

    23
    1
    27
    Jan 18, 2016
    Brisbane, Australia

    Thank you both.

    I'm glad we're on the right track with the baths and oils.

    How long should the baths be? So far, we keep her in warm water for 15 minutes. We time it. She seems to like it and it is hot here at the moment so she probably likes it.

    As per thread, I will try the baby oil.

    I don't have an attachment to this hen. It is not a friendly hen and difficult to catch. I know this sounds mean but is it worth considering culling her and replacing her?

    On catching her... does anyone have suggestions on how to do it other than chasing her? Throw a sheet over her? She is subdued enough once we have her and is not aggressive, but chasing chickens gets old very fast.

    Thank you again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  9. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    You can get pretty big bird nets, I got one for my cocky "just in case". They might have chook-sized ones.

    My new young chickens aren't 'stand there and get picked up' (yet!) but they are easy to pick up if they run up against an obstacle. They don't have the logistical knowledge to do U-Turns. Do you have a "dead-end" you can use? Create one? Dinner dish with a cardboard barrier behind it?

    While she's having her treatments, can you just lock her up in a small area or coop so that you don't have to chase her?

    As for culling her, if there is necrotic tissue, you might not be able to sort this out yourself, but I'd give it a good go before making any decisions. If that is just poo then it might be more easily dealt with than anticipated.
     
  10. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    15-20 Min. soak time is good. I would soak her at least twice a day if possible.
    If it is possible (as suggested) isolating her will eliminate the chasing. If you have a small dog kennel/crate or can even block her off an area in the coop or garage, leave her with food and water. It will be less stressful for you and her both.

    With an issue like this, treatment and recovery will take some time, then you will have to try to build her back up nutritionally, etc., before she begins to lay.
    If it is prolapse, it is possible (not always) that it could reoccur. I know there are a lot of variables in this situation, sometimes there may be another underlying condition. She may not ever fully recover and have to have special care for her lifetime or she may do just fine. You never know.

    That being said:
    I do not consider your comment of culling as mean. It is reality. It is something that all of us who keep chickens (or other animals) have to address at some point and time.
    What is best for her and you in this particular situation is what needs to be done. Whether you continue to treat or put her down, I will support you either way.[​IMG]

    Please keep up posted.
     
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