Lethargic hen with swollen abdomen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by InsaneBreeder, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. InsaneBreeder

    InsaneBreeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2010
    Kurtistown, Hawaii
    I have a three-year-old RSL hen who has been acting very lethargic for the past several weeks. She has not laid for perhaps a year, and when she did, she often laid soft-shelled eggs. She stands around most of the day with her head tucked in, but does eat and occasionally preens herself. Her abdomen is very swollen and she has difficulty pooping. At first I suspected that she was eggbound, but after soaking her in warm water, palpating for eggs, and searching for obstructions through the vent, I no longer think it is a possibility. I isolated her for a few days and fed her yogurt, olive oil, and such, but that didn't seem to help. Now I think she may be laying internally, and I am on the verge of culling her since she seems to be miserable, but I am hesistant because she does not seem to be getting worse. Also, I read that internal laying kills relatively quickly, but she has been this way for many weeks, and still seems well enough to eat and drink, and I rarely see her lying down. Two other things I have thought of are worms (I have not wormed her for some time) or coccidiosis (which I have had a lot of lately among my chicks, but I don't know if adults can get it).

    Does anyone have any thoughts on what it might be? I would really rather not cull her until I know exactly what it is and whether I can treat it or not.
     
  2. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    sounds like egg yolk peritonitis. Here is a link with information. http://www.avianweb.com/eggyolkperitonitis.html If you search this site, you will find a lot more information posted by those who have experienced this. I have not. I understand there is no cure. I am sorry, best of luck to you.
     
  3. jonjoka

    jonjoka Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 6, 2008
    Yeah, Its egg yolk peritonitis. I just lost one days ago. I cut her and that swelling was all egg yolk. You could drain it but to my understanding it builds right back.
     
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

  5. InsaneBreeder

    InsaneBreeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2010
    Kurtistown, Hawaii
    Thanks for your opinions, people, I just wanted to be sure. Do you think I should cull, then? I am still hesitant, since she is acting like a normal chicken except for the standing around, and I don't want to cut her life short unless she is in a lot of pain.
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    That's really your call. If she is having trouble walking, nerves being pressed on, organs being stressed by all the gunk in her abdomen, you can try to drain fluid, but it will provide temporary relief. The condition is chronic. Hard to know if a hen is in pain, really.

    I have had hens who were in awesome good health when their bodies malfunctioned this way; did penicillin, waited, body reabsorbed fluid, hen laid an egg or two, was okay for awhile, fluid and infection started all over again, penicillin again, same thing. One hen did this for a year, but in the end, the penicillin didn't work and she finally died. It can't be cured, sadly, because it's genetic/hormone based in nature. If they are in really good weight and health to begin with, they fight it off for longer, but in the end, they can't win.
     

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