Please Help! Harmony is sick!

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8 Years
Jan 2, 2012
I was wondering if anybody could help me? I am pretty sure my hen has egg yolk peritonitis. She has had a swollen abdomen and a pretty full-on waddle for about 3 of 4 months now. A couple of days ago she started acting really depressed and listless and she's been steadily getting much much worse. She still hangs around in the same general area as the rest of the flock but is mainly lying down looking sad. She is eating and drinking but not much. She is regularly doing really runny poo's that have a lot of white in them (with yellowy or dark greeny stuff in there too). She has started to breathe laboriously and is making a slight gasping sound every now and then which makes me horrified that she is in terrible pain. Other times though she is slowly waddling around and looking nearly ok.

When she first started acting listless I gave her a bath to treat her for being eggbound but nothing came out and I couldn't feel an egg. Since then I've been looking at posts on this forum and am almost certain she has egg yolk peritonitis and I am so mad that I didn't notice her swollen belly and waddle all that time.

So I was wondering if it is worth taking her to a vet? I realise now that I may have left this untreated for too long and that it is very serious and early treatment is important. I don't want to stress her out by driving her all the way to the vet if she is not likely to survive. Can anybody offer their advice?

Me and my sisters really want her to live a happy life for as long as possible. But if that's not possible I want to minimise her discomfort. Is a potentially traumatic trip to the vet likely to cure her? Is there anything I can do for her?

If you can afford it and have a Veterinarian who is trained in livestock and treating chickens... then, by all means take her to the vet.

Is she "tame" and friendly... can you pet her, hold her, soothe her... ? If you have a pet carrier, put some hay or pine shavings or shredded newspaper in it and sit with her in the car and talk to her while she rides to the vet (and back).

I would say to take her to the vet.. if she is too sick to save the vet will tell you and will "put her down" for you.

Sometimes vets that treat Chickens are very hard to find, do you have one?

How old is she?
Keep her isolated, away from the flock if she is weak and sickly... Have her in a separate "hospital" cage... in a warm, dry, quiet place.. have food and water in there for her. Watch her to see if she eats and drinks on her own. If you have not given her antibiotics, and you have some (or can get them at the feed store) -- you might start her on antibiotics until you can get her to the vet..... start them tonight, call the vet first thing in the morning and get her in asap.

When was the last time she laid an egg? -- Eggbound treatment is harmless, and soothing... so... that's not a bad thing... How is the rest of the flock? Anyone else acting off?

Only you can decide if it is worth it to you to take her to the vet.... it is a matter of being able to afford it for me, if I could, I would.
If you are not going to take her to the vet... get some antibiotics and get her started on them asap.. follow the instructions for "Peritonitis / Peritinitis treatment" on the threads, posts you find when you search. Read up on the ones that worked for those who tried them and use those.

How old is the flock and do you have them on a worming regiment, do you or have you wormed everyone?

Best of luck.
Thankyou so much for getting back to me so quickly.

Harmony is about 3 years old and hasn't laid for about 4 months or so. About a week ago we had our first eggbound chicken (her name was Speckles). It was a similar situation, I only had a vague idea of what that was but read about it and gave her a warm soak and the egg came out. She was just recovering and looking good 2 days later when a dog got onto our property and killed her. Some people where visiting our neighbours for NYE from the city and their dog escaped. It was so sad that she went through all that and was looking up and then died like that. That's why my first thoughts were that Harmony might be egg bound too. But other than that we haven't had any problems with around chickens. The others are acting very normally.

As for worming we do worm them regularly and had just wormed them a couple of days ago. About the day before Harmony got sick, it seems like a coincidence or could they be related? The flock is mixed age. Our oldest is Meek Meek (she must be nearly 6 by now) and the youngest are only 3 weeks old (and are our first babies ever to hatch.)

I live in a fairly isolated area and I'm not sure about our local vets. They seem generally think that once a chicken is sick it is already to late for them. But I found one vetrinarian who says she has treated a chicken with egg yolk periontisis before by syringing out the fluid and giving anti-inflammatories. I'm not sure what the outcome of that was.

She is drinking and eating on her own but not with her usual enthusiam. She isn't walking around much but she seems to want to be with the rest of the chickens as she's watching them all the time.

You're right, she might have a chance I will see when I can book an appointment asap. THankyou so much for all your advice I will follow it strictly and hope with everything.

Thankyou x 10000000000000000
Harmony is back from the vet. She had more than half a litre of fluid drained and she's back home. I'm trying to get her to eat as the vet said she was underweight.

I'm not sure what is going to happen now. When the fluid was drained the vet found heaps of lumps of various sizes inside her. The vet isn't sure whether she really does have egg yolk peritonitis or maybe some sort of liver tumours. Either way she said it doesn't look good in the long run. I'm just going to try feeding her and keep her comfy and hope that she improves now that she doesn't have to carry that liquid with her. The vet has asked me to call her in the morning and check in with her.

Thankyou both so much for your advice. I am very glad that I took her to the vet. She seemed a lot less stressed out by the whole process than I'd anticipated. It was actually me that seemed more anxious.

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