Hen with vent problem

10AcreChick

Songster
Sep 6, 2015
339
121
141
Central Missouri
Just got a couple questions. Have a hen who has had a nasty vent all winter. It started with just being poopy and unkempt, and her comb was still nice and red and she was still laying so I hoped she would deal with it herself. But now, she has a loss of feathers back there, it looks infected, very poopy, and it smells. She is still laying (they have blood on them but are very large eggs) and her comb is still nice and red, but apparently not able to deal with this herself. So tonight my plan is to soak her butt and clean it up and separate her into my little sick bay. None of the other chickens have this, so I'm thinking not a bacteria.

My question is, do I soak in just water or something else added? What is the best thing to put on her butt afterwards that I might have on hand or get easily? Will triple antibiotic ointment work? I know that it can't have a pain reliever in it.

Looking for practical advice (but any is welcome), I am fairly new to chicken keeping, about four years, and do not treat them as pets, they are livestock. I won't be taking her to the vet. But if I can help her a little bit, it's worth the time!
 

Cyprus

Master of the 'never give up' attitude
Jan 19, 2018
16,113
55,603
1,207
My Coop
My Coop
I suggest soaking her in water with plain Epsom Salt. It will relax her and help relieve some iirritation to the area.
Apply non-pain relieving triple antibiotic ointment afterwards.
From there I would separate her and keep an eye on it.
I'd also recommend rationing her food to prevent her from laying an egg everyday. This will hopefully lower the strain on her vent.
 

Table4Six

Crossing the Road
9 Years
May 22, 2012
2,549
26,365
926
I suggest soaking her in water with plain Epsom Salt. It will relax her and help relieve some iirritation to the area.
Apply non-pain relieving triple antibiotic ointment afterwards.
From there I would separate her and keep an eye on it.
I'd also recommend rationing her food to prevent her from laying an egg everyday. This will hopefully lower the strain on her vent.

x2
She needs to have time to heal and rest without worrying about having to lay an eggs everyday. Good luck and I hope she gets better real soon.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,765
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
You have been given good advice above. I would also suggest that you trim her butt feathers to prevent re-soiling and so that you can easily monitor the state of her vent and wipe and reapply ointment more easily when necessary. It might be worth checking her for any abdominal swelling. Often this soiling occurs because the bird's vent area is swollen and the normal overhang of the vent that prevents poop catching the feathers is lost. Cupping your hand between her legs and then comparing to an adjacent "normal" hen will give you an idea of whether this is a problem. Ascites(water belly) is pretty common in chickens and can cause this sort of soiling as well as walking with a slightly wider gait. Carrying too much fat often due to an inappropriate diet/too many treats can also pad out the vent area and result in soiling and also sometimes difficulty in laying and even in extreme cases, prolapse.
 

10AcreChick

Songster
Sep 6, 2015
339
121
141
Central Missouri
Thank you for the advice, guys! I hadn't thought of rationing her food, that's a good idea. I don't have any epsom salt on hand, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow night to do this. But that's ok, it'll give me the weekend to watch her. No need to cut her feathers around the vent, they are pretty much not there.
What causes Ascites? Pretty sure her diet is appropriate, free range with layer feed, NO treats at all.
And what is a good amount of food to give a lone chicken that would be enough for her but keep her from laying often?
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,765
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
The commonest cause of Ascites is internal laying, but since she is still laying eggs then we can probably rule that out. Fatty liver Haemorrhagic Syndrome is another common cause. Which is linked to dietary imbalance (too much carbohydrates and not enough protein) but can also be genetic and is common with heavier breeds like Orpingtons and Sussex.
What type of layer feed do you use? Some people who use a grain type mix instead of a pellet or crumble have experienced problems with Fatty Liver, the issue being that the hens can pick out their favourite bits (usually the high carbohydrates like corn) and leave the healthier, higher protein pulses for other birds or rodents to clean up.

Just another thought, not linked to Ascites. Could it be your girl has Vent Gleet, which is a yeast infection? That would make the tissue in and around the vent swollen and inflamed. It is usually characterised by a white/yellow smelly discharge.
 

10AcreChick

Songster
Sep 6, 2015
339
121
141
Central Missouri
Regular pellet layer, so it's not that.
Think you are probably right about Vent Gleet, which I had already had in the back of my mind. Took a closer look last night, definetly smelly and a yellow discharge. What is the simplest treatment for that? Like I said before, I'm not looking to spend a fortune on this chicken, but if it's just a dose or two of a medicine that i should, as a chickenkeeper, put into my supply anyway, I'm open to it.
Thanks!
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,765
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
I would imagine human vaginal thrush medication will work. I know some people use that for sour crop, so it is safe to use on chickens. It may also be beneficial to start using Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in the water or I believe Acidified Copper Sulphate, but please do some research to confirm that if no one else contributes to this post. It is not something I have had to deal with in my flock..... yet!
 

10AcreChick

Songster
Sep 6, 2015
339
121
141
Central Missouri
I soaked her in a Epsom salt bath, and cleaned up her vent as best I could, a lot of poop stuck on it. I put human vaginal thrush medication on it and limited her feed (I give her a handful when I put them up for the night). She has not laid any more eggs, so that is good, probably due to the stress of being separated. I put the "sick bay" cage right in the coop, so she is still with her friends. Checked on her last night, the swelling is not down, so it's all messy again. I put more medication on it, think I managed to get some to go "in". Planning to soak and clean her again tonight and put more medication on. Oh, and add some ACV to her water too. Any more suggestions? I was hoping to see improvement, but I guess it is too soon.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom