Hi Everyone!


Aug 14, 2016
Hartland, WI.

I'm new here. Unfortunately what brought me here was a search to help me with my sick girls. I started by raising four chicks 2 1/2 years ago. With such a small flock, they became my babies, and I spent a lot of time interacting with them. I had no health issues with them for over two years until recently. This year, because I was going through chemotherapy, I haven't been able to handle the girls. My son took over feeding, and watering. I went out to visit them, but wore a mask and didn't actually handle them since I am immune suppressed.

One evening about a month ago, my son came running in to tell us that Patty (an Easter Egger) was dead. We found her out in the run. As far as I could tell there were no symptoms, except that she had significantly slowed down on egg production. That morning she had scampered out of the coop like normal. I had actually been out to see them the day before, and they were all active and eating.

The next day I had a friend (who also raises chickens) go out and take a look at the girls. He said they all looked good. They were active, running around, had good color etc. They all did have a bit of poopy butt, however, they had decided that one of the nesting boxes was a great place to sleep, instead of the roost. All the girls were crowding into the one nesting box and pooping, then laying in it. We blocked off that particular nesting box and they went back to roosting, but I figured the poopy butt issue was just because they were all sitting in their poop.

Since I was still concerned about them and I needed to clean their butts up anyway, I actually purchased a mylar hazard suit, gloves and mask and went in to give them all baths. While bathing, a second chicken (also an Easter Egger) dropped an egg, then prolapsed right in my hand. Almost immediately she looked to be going into shock. My son drove me (still dressed like I was handling radio-active material) to the vet. Unfortunately, Nugget had severe ascites and we decided to euthanize her.

Since then, Kiev (a Sunshine Brown) started laying very thin shelled eggs that shattered the minute we picked them up. I decided to try a calcium injection. When I turned her over to give her the injection, I noticed that her belly was red and swollen. Now I'm starting to think that Egg Yolk Peritonitis is the culprit. From what I've read it can pass through an entire flock, even though it's not contagious. If I lose Kiev, I only have one girl left (a White Leghorn), and I fear that Piccata is going to be next.

My searches on line made me aware of how many backyard flock owners are seeing this issue. I know that even if I lose my whole flock, which at this point seems very possible, I'd want to start over and try again. I'm hoping that through the community of chicken owners, eventually someone will come up with some theories as to why this is such an issue for backyard flocks, and what to do to prevent it.

I wish I were introducing myself under better circumstances, but I'm glad to be here anyway!
Greetings from Kansas, Lyndy, and :welcome. Pleased you joined us but sorry to hear about your health issues and that of your hens. :hugs. Have you posted any questions for advice on the emergencies and illnesses thread here? https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/10/emergencies-diseases-injuries-and-cures If you haven't, the folks that patrol that thread are very good about giving great advice. Whatever the outcome of your current and future flocks, I wish your birds and YOU all the best. Hang in there and take care! :)
Hi and welcome to BYC - you have some great advice and links already so I'll just say hello!

All the best
Thanks for the welcome!

I have already been on a couple of threads specifically about Egg Yolk Perotinitis. I'm currently feeding Big Gain layer feed, with some mealworms and greens. I'm starting to really question the feed. It's what is available at the local feed mill (same one I got the chicks from) but I'm starting to think about the fact that it is the same feed egg farmers would be using and that it isn't to their benefit that a hen lay several years, gradually slow down, then live out several more years not producing. For the egg farmer, a hen that lays like crazy for a couple of years, then just poops out, is better for them. Since I can't free range my girls (not allowed in my area), they are eating primarily just the layer feed, and I have to say, they have been heavy egg producers.

I'm interested if anyone has any experience with other feed options?

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