Hen with swollen abdomen, treatment suggestions please

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sunny Side Up, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    My 3-year-old Barred Rock hen Layette is not a happy camper. The first symtom I noticed was her gasping a bit while breathing. I just culled another hen last week who was really wheezy & hoarse, so I thought Layette might also have some respiratory ailment. She wasn't wheezing, but breathing hard & slow, and holding her head up and breathing in & out of her mouth.

    I separated her & have been giving her Vet Rx and antibiotics/electrolytes/vitamins in her water. Her gasping has stopped and her face looks good, nice bright red comb & wattles, clear eyes, no more gasping.

    But her abdomen is really swollen, heavy & solid-feeling. She's been making small poops and there's some sticking to the feathers below her vent. She hasn't laid anything in her cage, but I wasn't expecting it from this older ill hen.

    I'm going to start treatment as if she's eggbound, something I haven't yet done on any of my hens. I'm going to give her a good long soak in warm water, take a feel inside her vent, put some veg oil in & around it. I'll give her soft foods to eat. I'll darken her cage.

    What other symptoms should I be looking for?
    What else should I do to treat her?

    Thank you for your input!
     
  2. meriruka

    meriruka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    Sounds like you are doing everything you can.
    It's possible the swelling is pushing her lungs, making it harder for her to breathe.
    When was the last time she laid an egg?
     
  3. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    She has so many flock-mates I cannot tell when/if she's still laying. Her breathing is easier, but her abdomen is still so bloated. And little tight poops in her cage. I've got her soaking in a bucket of warm water right now, came online to see if anyone else had some other advice.

    Anyone? Please chime in!
     
  4. meriruka

    meriruka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    If her abdomen is hard, odds are good she's laying internally.
    There really is no cure.

    If it's squishy like a water balloon, you can drain the fluid, but from your description, it sounds like you feel hardness there.

    I haven't come across any cures for internal laying, but I hope someone has some suggestions for you soon........
     
  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    She sat in warm water for about a half hour. I put her in a plastic feed bucket, set it in the bathtub, filled it halfway with warm water, & left her in it in the dark. Afterwards I dried her off & felt inside her with an oiled gloved finger. Couldn't feel an obstruction, or an egg. Her vent was a tight line when I put my finger in, after I took it out it was bulging out with a red center. Perhaps she was trying to push something out? I poured veg oil all around & tried to get some in her vent. Then I carried her out to her cage, made her a bed of soft hay to lay in. A little later I looked at her & saw her setting more upright, the way they do when they try to lay. Poor old dear!

    I'd like to hear more ideas/theories/suggestions. Her abdomen isn't rock-hard, but not squishy & pliable either. Just rather tight & firm. I don't want to push on it too hard anyway. If there's fluid in there that needs draining, is it worth doing, is there a good chance it will make her recover? What is internal laying, is it caused by damage to her egg-laying apparatus so the eggs fall inside somewhere instead of being laid outside?

    Where there's life there's hope, and as long as an animal doesn't seem to be suffering, I like to try as much as I can do to remedy the ailment. I love my Barred Rocks, they're my favorite breed for their classic good looks, and Layette & her sister Dinette are two great dignified grand old ladies. I'm hoping to be able to make her well again, if I can.
     
  6. meriruka

    meriruka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    I'm not saying you should give up........hopefully she's just having a few bad days and will recover.
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
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    I made Layette a couple of scrambled eggs this morning and she ate them with a good appetite! Her color still looks good, nice bright red comb & wattles, clear eyes. But her abdomen is still swollen, no tighter or looser than before. I was away from home most of today, & didn't have much time to observe her, but tonight I've got her soaking in warm water again, & will oil her vent again before putting her to bed.
     
  8. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Keeping her comfy in a nice clean temp stable (warm) place as general support measure is the right thing to do... could be so many things.... older hens have a lower protein recquirement (TOO much protein is also not good)...
    Give her a crushed TUM (one) cant hurt and might help if an egg is stuck somewhere up in the duct (you dont always feel it... I really dont advise you "feel" in there anymore... it will not help)
    Keep an eye on her... if internal /false laying there is little you can do (except an expensive surgery) ... keep her comfy and watch for more symptoms.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
  9. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    This morning she was standing on the roost in her cage, I thought that was a good sign that she was feeling limber enough to climb up on the branch -- it's only about 6" above the floor, but still, if I had such a heaviness in my bottom I wouldn't feel like doing any amount of climbing!

    I soaked her last night and dribbled veg oil all around her vent. After her soak she pushes her vent out some, but nothing is coming out. This morning I gave her some more scrambled eggs and some bread with olive oil drizzled over it. Again, she ate heartily.

    So perhaps I should offer eggs less often? More grain, like oatmeal? Or just warm wet layer pellets? More fruit, like applesauce? Or canned pumpkin? The crushed TUMS would be for calcium, right? Would some oyster shell grit, or crushed eggshells give the same benefit?

    Layette & I appreciate all your input & advice on her behalf, thank you!
     
  10. I'M On Island Time

    I'M On Island Time Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2008
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    You could always stick a needle in the bottom of her tummy and see if anything comes out. I had success draining my hen's belly after she had symptoms like the ones you describe, except she did feel like she had a water balloon between her legs.
     

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