Lulu's Last Days

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by karinaspiraling, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. karinaspiraling

    karinaspiraling In the Brooder

    Jun 10, 2011
    Hi All,
    I've read posts here before, but have just joined. Thanks for all the great information.

    I'm writing because we just lost a hen, and don't know what happened. I've been reading about egg binding, internal laying, and possible diseases, but I'm not getting a definitive answer on what happened to Lulu, and we surely don't want this to happen to another one of our birds.

    A few days ago, we noticed "poopy butt," that got worse in the next couple of days. She was walking around,, eating, whatever, just a bit poopy.

    Yesterday there was more poop, and she let us pick her up and put her in a bucket to wash her off with a hose. This is quite unlike Lulu, who would hang out close to you but never let you touch her. When we cleaned off all of the poop, we saw a mass of what we thought were worms crawling all over what I now think was her vent, although sadly we didn't know if it was a wound or what when we looked at her. The feathers on her whole back side were gone, which was new.

    Speeding up the story here, we quarantined her; she refused food and water, and even honey-water and molasses-water she at first took a couple of sips when prompted like a chick, but then nothing. The smell in her quarantine room grew worse, like rotting flesh, as the day progressed, and the flies increased. Finally I realized they were maggots crawling in and out of her, it seemed, in what I thought was a wound. Her vent, if that's what it was, was the circumference of a sign language C made with your hand. It was black and of bobbly texture. The edges were pink and white in places, at times it seemed to be protruding at the edges. As the day went on, she became more and more listless. She just stood there, except the occasional attempt to bite one of the flies swarming her back side. There was also at least one area, closer to her butt, that initially we thought was a poop clump, but the sharp vision of our young friend told us it was a mass of eggs. The maggots {I think they were maggots} just kept on coming, in what we perceived to be in and out of her 'wound.' We took a video of this situation and brought it to the Feed Store. The people there said they had never seen anything like it.

    By 8pm when we checked on her, she was laying in the gravel; not in the bedding or the nest box I made for her, not on the roosts I set up for her, but in the gravel, away from anything. Her eyes were fully closed and her breathing shallow and fast. We lifted her head and tried to get her to drink some honey-water, but she didn't respond. Finally, we had to put her down, because we couldn't bear to see her suffering and were quite certain she wouldn't make it through the night.

    In the past weeks, she has been a sporadic layer. Sometimes her eggs were misshapen, and sometimes had little blobs of extra shell on the top. I think once or twice she laid shell-less eggs as well, and we gave free choice oyster shell. We have just become the human companions of our birds a few months ago, so I don't know if she had laying inconsistencies before or not.

    We don't know what happened to Lulu, and we certainly want to know so that if there are early indications we can recognize them before it gets this serious, and so we can keep the rest of our flock healthy.

    Thanks so much for your thoughts and advice.


  2. la-pro

    la-pro In the Brooder

    May 17, 2011
    Do you still have her carcass? If I were you I'd try to do an amateur autopsy, see if she was egg bound or something.
  3. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Songster

    Dec 21, 2010
    I am so sorry for your loss. I agree that an autopsy might be beneficial if you have the carcass and can stomach it. Maggots can cause a lot of damage quickly. There could have been a wound there previously that the flies were attracted to and laid eggs in OR they could have just been attracted to the poopy butt and laid eggs there. Then when the maggots hatched, they either made the wound worse or created a wound. It may be hard to tell even with an autopsy.

    When an animal gets maggots in a wound, the best way to handle it is to restrain the animal (towel over head or part of body not effected) and then sit there with tweezers and pick out the darn things. This can take a LONG time and is tedious and gross. But once the maggots are removed, the wound can be flushed with an antiseptic solution and hopefully the wound will begin to heal. Antibiotics may be needed as well and you have to continue checking for additional maggots to hatch out. This doesn't always work but I have seen it help in some cases.

    Flies are usually attracted to wounds or poop or to weak animals - if your other birds are healthy and clean, it shouldn't be a problem for them.
  4. Pickaduck

    Pickaduck Chirping

    May 21, 2011
    I can't be of any help but maybe you could post the video on youtube and some of the more seasoned chicken experts here could offer opinions?

    I'm very sorry for your loss - I do think you did all you could.
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Anytime a chick/chicken has poop on or around their rear end, it should be immediately cleaned or cut off with scissors. Pasty butt can cause different types of problems... not to mention bugs, bacterial infections etc...
    There is a possibility that she mightve had a problem with her reproductive system due to her mishapen eggs and inconsistant laying. Here's a link to various egg deformities and causes.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011

  6. karinaspiraling

    karinaspiraling In the Brooder

    Jun 10, 2011
    Thank you all for your prompt replies, insights, and sentiments of support for our first experience with this. Our hearts couldn't handle an autopsy; we already considered it. Good idea, though, and would surely answer some questions. I've looked around on The Poultry Site, and yes, it appears what I assumed to be just harmless deformities of Nature was likely indicative of something unwell in our little friend. I am relieved to read your assurances that the rest of our flock is not at risk. The photos and video are already deleted, for assurance that we didn't inadvertently send them with work-related photos to an unsuspecting office worker.

    I'll keep looking around, and we'll keep learning from this hard lesson.

    Thanks again.

  7. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    I've heard of some fly that gets in their vent and does that. Can't remember the name.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by