My hen has a messy butt and is dangerously skinny!


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 29, 2013
Hi all,

My gold wyandotte is very sick :( Lately its gotten worse and I'm not sure what to do. I'll start with how we got here; she was in perfect health and molted along with my other chickens in the Winter. Then one by one all the others started laying again, but she was the only one not laying. When her comb got red and full and started squatting, we were excited to get her eggs again, but she never laid. A few weeks went by and we noticed she was acting different. She became lethargic, and would just sit around with her tail feathers down. We thought she might be egg bound, but it went on for so long that we figured it was not that. Then her butt got really messy. We have given her a couple baths but its not getting better.

Yesterday we picked her up and she is really really skinny! We had noticed she wasn't eating much but didn't think it was THIS bad! We think it might be vent gleet because of the messy butt, but I still wonder if it might have had something to do with her being at the point of laying, and then something going wrong. Could she possibly have some sort of stuck egg, or egg fragments in her and still be alive many weeks later?

She is really weak now, and doesn't move much. She will nibble at fresh pears and tomatoes and will eat few mealworms but barely, she also doesn't want to drink. She wont make it much longer like this. Any advice is appreciated.
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How old is she? Does her abdomen feel swollen, water-balloon like, or hard? And have you ever wormed her? I would suspect worms, if she shows no other signs, or possibly some sort of infection. If her abdomen is hard/liquid filled, though, she is probably internally laying. Unfortunately, if it is internal laying, there isn't much you can do.

In the case of worms, I would purchase a good wormer, like Valbazen or SafeGuard. You can probably find at least one of those at your average livestock supply store, as they are sold for goats and other large animals. I haven't used either of those wormers before, so I can't tell you the dosage, but I'm sure you can find it by searching BYC or the Internet.

If she has an infection (not likely, but possible), you would need an antibiotic. Tylan50 or oxytetracycline (Terramycin, Duramycin, etc.) are effective, usually easy to find ones. The dosage for Tylan50 is 1cc for large-fowl, .5ccs for bantams, injected into the breast once a day for 5 days. The oxytetracycline dosage varies depending on the product, but it is usually administered in the water.

If she is going to live, she needs to begin eating something. You could try forcing pieces of food into her mouth (I once kept a sick bird alive for almost a month like this), but tube feeding would be better.

I'm sorry I can't help more. I know how hard it is to have a sick bird, and not know what to do.
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I'm not positive on her age since I purchased her when she was already mature, but I suspect she is about between 2-3 years old now. I did not feel any fluid hardness on her, but you may be right about the worms. A couple months ago I found a dropping in the coop with worms in it. We have never wormed them, rather we use diatomaceous earth in their food occasionally. This is what our feed store guy recommended.

At this point I'll get the wormer if it might save her life. I don't think she has an infection.
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If they have never been dewormed and you have seen worms in the poop then she may well have a heavy infestation. Use something safe and slow acting like Valbazen so you don't get a big worm kill-off all at once that could potentially cause a blockage or dead worm toxicity. Worm them all and be sure to repeat the dose in 10 days. After that I'd do it twice a year to stay on top of it. Worms are terribly damaging to a bird, or any animal. DE will not keep your birds free of worms.

Your bird is at an age where she could have other things going on as well, they are prone to cancers and especially to egg laying/reproductive tract problems. But start with a good deworming and see if she perks up.

Edited to add: The dose for Valbazen or Safeguard (liquid for goats) is 0.5 ml per bird. You can give it with a small, needless syringe.
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Yeah I feel awful that I let her get to this point. I should have been much more proactive in monitoring her health.

I'll get some de-wormer today and hope you are right that it will perk her up. She's not even sleeping on the perch anymore with the others, she is too weak to jump up there. She sleeps in a laying box and was even too weak to get out this morning :(
Well my girl is still hanging in there, but barely. We have separated her from the flock so that we can take care of her. She is so skinny and so weak now and has a hard time walking. Its really sad to see her this way. We noticed she has also been making green poo, which sticks to her butt and attracts flies. Apparently this could mean she is passing bile? We have been bathing her every day.

Yesterday I gave her water with some Wazine in it, hoping to kill off some worms if that is what is ailing her. I have to dip her beak in the water in order for her to drink. We have also been giving her fruit and mashed food, but she will barely pick at it. Today we began force feeding her some blended food but its not going to be enough to put some weight back on. I fear that she has deteriorated too much and it might be too late to recover.

What do you guys think? Is there anything else I can do?
Nust an FYI, it is possible for a hen to have eggbinding issues and survive them for an extended period of time before they finally do her in. I had one who kept getting bound until one finally broke inside her and she hemorrhaged internally while I was at work. They're like people, their internal parts can sometimes just not work right.

My girl went through a lot of what your girl is. The first time I found her after she got sick, I hadn't realized she hadn't been eating or drinking due to the internal inflammation and pain. She pooped clear water for a day, she was so dehydrated, until the antibiotics kicked in and she could start to eat.

I have my fingers crossed for your girl, but if she has a messed up oviduct, it'll keep happening.
I had to euthanize Paprika "Pappi" today, she was just suffering. I never thought me and my family would develop such an attachment to chickens, but they really are our beloved pets.

Now I know to take better care and take action right away when I spot a possible health concern.

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