Hen with swollen abdomen walking like a penguin

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by JimboOtta, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. JimboOtta

    JimboOtta New Egg

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    Jun 23, 2014
    I have recently noticed that one of the older hens in the flock has began to develop a swelling in her abdomen and has now begun to walk awkwardly in a penguin like way. The bulge in her abdomen feels quite solid. I have done research online and at the moment I think that she could either be egg bound, although she is eating fine and doesn't seem to be in too much pain at all, or a build up of fluid, I believe it is called ascites, and I am unsure what to do with her. Any help would be great thanks.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm sorry this is happening to you.

    Are you sure she is still laying? Ascites is often caused by internal laying, also known as egg peritonitis. Unfortunately, what you describe is not uncommon in this condition -- but these hens do not lay eggs, as the eggs all migrate into the wrong place internally, inside the abdomen. I'll give you a couple of links on the subject.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/79443/tell-me-about-your-internal-layers/80_20#post_6235380 (see post 92)

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...sy-photos-of-cause-of-death/0_20#post_5028516 (GRAPHIC)

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...ng-sharing-my-experience-benedicts-story/0_20
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    It does sound like internal laying or egg yolk peritonitis. Oviduct cancer is also common in older hens. For egg yolk peritonitis, many people treat with penicillin or amoxicillin to buy some time and keep them more comfortable. Many people will put these birds down when they get too uncomfortable. Here are a couple of more links to read:
    http://www.chickenvet.co.uk/health-and-common-diseases/egg-laying-issues/index.aspx
    http://simplelifeainteasy.blogspot.com/2012/03/egg-yolk-peritonitis-diagnosing-sick.html
     
  4. JimboOtta

    JimboOtta New Egg

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    I'm pretty sure that she has been laying up until she started to develop these symptoms. Thanks for the links to the other articles, really helpful. My hen is an ISA Warren and it said that these conditions are more common in hybrid birds designed for laying and older birds, both of which she is.
     
  5. JimboOtta

    JimboOtta New Egg

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    Thankyou also for the links provided. Very helpful. I think that it could be egg yolk peritonitis. Do you think it would be worth trying to get some antibiotics for her or not as she seems to be quite comfortable except that she is walking awkwardly?
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Speckled Hen is quite experienced with this, as well as Casportpony, and may have more advice on that subject, as I haven't had experience. I'm sure antibiotics would not harm her if you decided to use them. Baytril is illegal to prescribe in chickens, but many vets will still prescribe it for birds not to be eaten, since it is the best antibiotic to use on most anything in chickens. In this link there is enrofloxacin injectable which is similar to Baytril, and can be given orally: http://uspigeons.mercasystems.com/index.php/enroxina-pigeons-products-6989.html

    Procaine Penicillin G 1/4 ml given 1/4 inch into the breast muscle once a day for 4 days, is a fairly common drug from feed stores in the refrigerated medicines. Use a 20 gauge needle. Here is a good link on giving injections or shots: http://www.browneggblueegg.com/Article/AfraidOfGivingInjections/AfraidOfGivingInjections.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    You could try a round of antibiotic's, you certainly have nothing to loose. If you have access to an avian vet who could take an x-ray it would be very helpful. Then you could know if there is a solid mass in there, ie tumor or build up of eggs or if it's fluid/ascites. The outlook isn't good no matter what it is but with some things you can make them more comfortable and extend what time they do have left. If it's fluid then removing some of it helps for a while, it at least makes them more comfortable, but it always returns eventually.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014

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