Questions on what I found INSIDE my hen - (GROSS)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mia, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. Mia

    Mia In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2007
    Jaffrey, NH
    Hi everyone -
    Today I culled a NH Red hen, 16 mths old, who's been sick for awhile now. She would have diarrhea, fluff up, isolate herself, not eat, I'd quarantine her for a few days, put her under a heat lamp, put electrolytes/vit in her water, and she'd perk up. She'd eat, drink, I'd let her loose with the others, and she'd act normal. Then a few weeks later the whole process would repeat. This happened twice. These last couple weeks, I've noticed her abdomen was extremely hard and bloated.
    (Background: before she got sick every once in awhile we would find a weird soft-shelled egg. Haven't had one since she got sick the second time. Of course, we don't know if it was hers or not, because they all lay all over the place. )
    Normal diet: Purina layer pellets, bread, veggies, daily oatmeal with milk, calcium supplement, and free-range foraging.
    Finally, although she kept eating and drinking, she was listless enough that I decided to screw up the courage and just put her out of her misery. And the other hens (i have 12 others) started to attack her.
    Anyway, today I 'necropsied' her, and found Very Weird Things in there - a LOT (I'd say about 2 lbs worth) of very hard masses of yellow stuff, which seemed to have developed in layers, because one mass had white/pink stuff in the middle. There was A LOT of this stuff, which explained the swollen/hard abdomen.
    I also found white worms - inch-long, tapered at the ends; I saw about 4, inside the intestines.

    So, OK - what the heck was wrong with her?
    Was she egg-bound, or did her eggs just simply not develop correctly? Could these have blocked her oviducts/intestines?I did notice that she was not pooping these last few days.

    Did the worms kill her? And, now that I know she had worms, I'm sure the others must too - I used DE on them a few months ago, should I repeat? We rely on our chickens for their eggs and really don't want to medicate unless we REALLY have to, because doesn't that mean we can't eat the eggs?
    Lastly, what should I have done with her? Could this have been avoided?
    Thanks all - I hope I get some good advice - I'm worried about the rest of my flock.
  2. okiemommy

    okiemommy Mother of 5, Prisoner to None

    May 26, 2008
    I don't know how to help you, but I hope that you get some answers from someone that can. I would say though that the worm issue needs to be taken care of in with the other chickens.
  3. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Sounds like she'd been an internal layer for awhile. Sorry, about your girl. Don't know what causes it. Don't think it was the worms, but I would treat for them.
  4. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Crowing

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    First of all they all need a good worming now.

    The mass was probably what develops inside an internal layer. It is eggs that have rotted and solidfied creating a mass. Some parts of the eggs have been absorbed by the hens body, but the remainder hardens into a disgusting 'layered' mass. Most times infection sets in. The hen would have slowly suffered and eventually died. You did the right thing in preventing her prolonged suffering.

    If you do a search for "internal layer" you will get tons of info.

  5. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Yep - I agree it sounds like the classic internal layer. Most likely just the way she was made - not anything you did wrong at all.

    If you do a search here, there are actually pictures that someone posted of the insides of an internal layer - you can compare to see if that is what you found as well.

    Euth'ing her was the humane thing to do - she would have just continued to get worse and worse and I'm sure would been in a considerable amount of pain.

    The worms were secondary to the internal layer issue, but I'd worm the whole flock just to get everyone else in good shape.
  6. nhnanna

    nhnanna Songster

    Jul 18, 2008
    The chicken coop
    I am not sure on this, but, I thought I read somewhere on one of these threads to give them pumpkin seeds in buttermilk as a natural wormer and that you don't have to wait to eat the eggs. Maybe some one can verify that?
    I am sorry for your loss.
  7. Mia

    Mia In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2007
    Jaffrey, NH
    thanks for the replies - it does sound like she was an internal layer.
    So now, about the worming - should I get a commercial medicated wormer from a local feed store or is there a better place? Would DE/pumpkin seeds work just as well? Do I have to get something through a vet or can I buy it online? (we don't have an avian vet around here)...
    thank you !!!
  8. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * I use Ivermectin about 6 months. Some people worm quarterly. Oh, I also have pumpkin seed in their treat, but I have yet to see any definitive research that it works.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2008
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Internal layer for sure. I did three necropsies and found that in my girls. All were just over two years old.
  10. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    Corydon, Indiana
    I'm glad you had the courage to be humane. I would think it's painful.
    The long white skinny worms are round worms. At the feed store you can buy Wazine, put it in their water and worm them. I personally do not mess around with "natural" stuff when it comes to serious health conditions like worms, bacteria, viral, and I think those natural remedies like DE or pumkin seeds are preventative aids.
    Good luck with the rest of your chickens. I recently found a worm in a poop and went out right away and bought Wazine. I heard that if you see them in poop, it's a heavy infestation.

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