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Hen with flystrike and hard belly- don't ignore these signs!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Clucky42, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. Clucky42

    Clucky42 In the Brooder

    Jul 18, 2012
    Well this post is going up here for two reasons. One to help those with similar issues and another to see if any knows exactly what this is called.
    Young hen, Easter egger recently of laying age always laid ginormous eggs. Way too big for her little body. We adopted her from a friend who was planning to sell her house and didn't want to market her home with an illegal coop. Her hens were very healthy and did well here for several months. This one, Knickers, always had a slightly poopy butt. Extra fluffy, we supposed it was hard to keep clean? Well that's a wrong assupumtion, possibly a mistake. I wish we would have brought her in and cleaned her up to see why this was happening... Maybe we could have helped her then. But she seemed fine so we left her and her poopy butt.
    One day I brought them some spent grain- which is like chicken crack to them. All 30+/- chickens were at my feet except Knickers. She was on the roost in the coop - at 3pm? Weird. So I bring her in and inspect her extra poopy butt. She felt meaty and was fairly alert. No one was picking on her...but on further inspection I found a sore under her vent and maggots living there- flystrike. So we plucked all the maggots gave her sea salt baths for a couple days and treated her wound. She lived in the laundry room in a dog kennel. We hand fed her Greek yogurt, chick started mash with bananas. We mixed up electrolytes in her water. Each day she ate less and less her poop went from watery and white to dark green goo in a couple days. Every time we see neon green or dark green poo with a sick chicken- we know its near the end. Even though she was eating she still was pooping bile. Her crop would fill up- from tube feeding but what came out, didn't look right. She still looked starved. That was a second clue. By day 3 of flystrike treatment we noticed a hard lump in her belly area. It was hot to touch. So we gave her tylan 100 injections for 2 days. We have a leghorn who occasionally suffers from "lady problems" where her giant eggs cause inflammation and sometimes infection- we've treated her issues successfully when her belly gets like that- with Tylan. We keep thinking one day she'll kill over laying her huge eggs. But she doesn't seem to miserable except when her belly swells a bit or it gets infected occasionally. I've felt slightly guilty for not culling her but she seems happy and healthy...
    Anyways Knickers seemed to be responding to the antibiotics and was taking in more food by the 2nd day. Some of the swelling went down and the flystrike was almost completely healed. Last night she was looking good. This morning she was dead.
    Curious, my husband did an autopsy and found her filled with at least 3lbs of "cooked" rotting egg yolks. All of Her organs were pushed in a tiny tennis ball space inside her body. Ultimately the food she ate last night probably did her in, I guess? It wasn't digesting because her intestines were bound up with all the rest of her insides. Sadly she had a likely painful last few days. When I was feeding her last night her eyes seemed to beg me to put her down. I should have.
    Any one know what she had? I guess my point of even sharing is for information only. Sometimes it's nice to have a reference of things when a chicken is ill. There were signs from the beginning she was having issues. I'm not sure we could have even saved her...
    If any one is curious or for more reference I can post photos of what was inside her.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015

  2. Egg Yolk Perintonitis (sp) is always fatal. Antibiotics will work for a while. But, eventually the infection will overcome her.
  3. casportpony

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

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Sorry for your loss. Often birds, animals and even people will have a sudden burst of energy and look normal right before death.

    1 person likes this.
  4. KayTee

    KayTee Songster

    Sep 21, 2012
    South West France
    I'm sorry for your loss, but Enola is right - it was internal laying or egg yolk peritonitis (EYP), which is always fatal. Even if caught early and treated the best you can hope for is to prolong your girl's life by a few months.

    You shouldn''t feel too bad about what happened - you did the best that you could at the time given your knowledge and experience. Although you may think that you could have done better for her, what's done is done and you can't go back. All you can do now is go forward, knowing the signs and symptoms of EYP, so that should another of your hens suffer with it in the future you can identify it earlier and treat it better.

    Don't think that I'm being hard - every girl that I've ever lost has affected me enormously - it's just not worth beating yourself up over something that is impossible to change - better to move forward with the positive outlook that you have more knowledge and are better informed than before, which means you can do a better job for the rest of your flock.
    1 person likes this.
  5. None of us were born knowing all about chickens. . .

    Sorry about your loss.
  6. KayTee

    KayTee Songster

    Sep 21, 2012
    South West France
    So true enola, that's why BYC and the wonderful members that make up this community are such a fantastic resource. [​IMG]

    It doesn't matter if you don't know what to do or how to do it, there is always someone around who will help you! [​IMG]

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