Mystery Chicken Illness - been to the vet twice - need help


9 Years
Mar 19, 2010
Hi all,

I thought my chicken was egg bound. She was walking slowly, with a little bit of a waddle, and her feathers were fluffed.

The vet agreed with this assessment (I'm a city dweller, not accustomed to molesting my chicken w/gloves and KY so I went to a pro) who gave her fluids and a muscle relaxant. She laid an egg that night.

But she hasn't gotten better. Note that she is not showing any other signs of illness. Her head is high, eyes clear, comb color good. She's eating and drinking. She had some diarrhea and I've been giving her yogurt, GSE, garlic, spinach and pumpkin seeds and her poops are back to normal.

But still with the waddling, slowness, tendency to prefer sitting down. I tried giving her a long warm bath, which she liked, but no egg.

We went back to the vet who took an x-ray and felt around. Confirmed no egg. And no obvious swelling that would indicate an infection.

The next step would be blood work to check her liver and kidney function, with suspected need for surgery or cancer treatment, neither of which road we want to go down at this point. We love her, but she's 5 years old, and we don't really have the budget for heroic measures.

Of our three 5-year-old chickens, only one appears to be laying (does the squat and wiggle when approached from behind/above).

Are they just old? Black Australorps, by the way. Never been terribly prodigious layers.

Any thoughts, suggestions, welcome.
It sounds like she could be an internal layer or have egg yolk peritonitis. They can walk upright, have loose droppings, have trouble walking, and sit a lot. The abdomen can be spongy or firm, and they can develop ascites or fluid in the abdomen from liver failure.
Thank you for responding! Sorry for my delay - was having trouble accessing the site.

She appears to be laying eggs now. Albeit long, skinny ones. Her poops are also normal.

What would the treatment for peritonitis be?
If the vet took an xray of her, then egg yolk peritonitis would probably have been obvious. If you haven't wormed the flock lately, I would give them Valbazen or SafeGuard liquid goat wormer or horse paste, and repeat it in 10 days. Dosage is 1/2 ml given by mouth, for most standard chickens. At 5 years old many chickens don't lay as often, especially the high production layers. I'm glad that she is laying again.

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