Sick 2yr old hen...maybe poopy butt? Or something else too?

Dave95476

Hatching
Jan 27, 2020
4
0
1
I love the wealth of knowledge in this community! We've had our three girls for 2 years now and have learned a ton from these forums. We're very concerned about one though, and hoping the collective mind here can help.

All 3 of the birds have slowed down laying this winter (last winter, they were full speed ahead with nearly consistent daily eggs), but this girl slowed and then seems to have stopped laying altogether for at least a week, possibly longer (it's been really hard to track with 3 hens...2 of which have very similar looking eggs).

This weekend, she started acting really weird. She started walking around with her tail feathers hanging low, instead of proudly in the air, poopy butt, and has been pretty listless (doesn't even move when we come near her right now...usually they try to avoid being handled...she doesn't even flinch right now). Yesterday, she spent much of the day in her roost, while the other two girls had free range of the yard for the day.

From the advice in the forums here, I gave her a warm bath to clean her butt a bit (first time bathing a chicken...and as listless as she was, she didn't put up much of a fight at all). It looks a bit better, but I didn't get everything.

We added apple cider vinegar to their water, and have been hand feeding her scrambled egg with a tablespoon of fresh probiotic yogurt. She ate most of it, but not with the voracious enthusiasm she usually has when eating. It took about 30 minutes to get her to eat a scrambled egg. I don't think she's been eating much more than that. Today's the second day of that diet.

Attached are some pics:
* Her poop
* Her butt
* Her underside while she was wet from the bath. I've never seen a wet chicken before...but is their skin usually that red, or is there some irritation there as well??


Any other suggestions here? It makes us miserable to see her looking so miserable.

Thanks!

IMG_5039.jpgIMG_5044.jpgIMG_5043.jpgIMG_5048.jpgIMG_5035.jpg
IMG_5043.jpg
IMG_5035.jpg
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,187
21,770
912
Colorado Rockies
Do you know how to check a crop? That's the first thing you need to do with a sick chicken as crop issues can come on suddenly and make a chicken very sick. It's the first thing to rule out.

Feel her crop now and try to determine if she's fuller than normal for what she's eaten and if it seems hard and lumpy or soft and spongy. Then withhold food and water after bedtime and check the crop again in the morning. If it's not empty, you may be seeing a crop disorder.

Beyond that, she could have an egg stuck or collapsed. Have you seen any yolk on her butt or in her poop? Do you feel any hard lump below her vent?

Have the chickens been free ranging? Any rotting compost or moldy foods she could have gotten into?
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium member
8 Years
Apr 3, 2011
49,205
39,080
1,122
southern Ohio
Sorry about your sick hen. Her symptoms sound a lot like some of my hens who have suffered from reproductive disorders. I have seen similar droppings in those hens. Crop impaction and sour crop can also look like that, and can occur because of the reproductive issue. Has she molted in the last 6 months? I would check her for a stuck egg, just in case, by inserting a finger into her vent 1-2 inches (wear a disposable glove if you have one.) If you have some Poultry NutriDrench or similar electrolyte/vitamin, I would offer a few drops. Scrambled egg and some moist chicken feed could be offered up to her beak. Keep her warm and bring her inside to observe her closely. @azygous is very helpful with crop disorders and other problems.
 

Fairview01

Songster
Jan 26, 2017
1,036
1,441
226
Dallas, TX
I would eliminate the simple first - mites. Its that time of year for them to make an appearance and they can really make the vent area a big mess.
 

Dave95476

Hatching
Jan 27, 2020
4
0
1
Do you know how to check a crop? That's the first thing you need to do with a sick chicken as crop issues can come on suddenly and make a chicken very sick. It's the first thing to rule out.

Feel her crop now and try to determine if she's fuller than normal for what she's eaten and if it seems hard and lumpy or soft and spongy. Then withhold food and water after bedtime and check the crop again in the morning. If it's not empty, you may be seeing a crop disorder.

Beyond that, she could have an egg stuck or collapsed. Have you seen any yolk on her butt or in her poop? Do you feel any hard lump below her vent?

Have the chickens been free ranging? Any rotting compost or moldy foods she could have gotten into?
Thanks for the reply! I checked her crop this evening (~10:30pm), and didn't really feel a thing...which seems about right since I haven't seen her eating much aside from the egg and yogurt I hand fed her both today and yesterday.

Also, tonight, she didn't go up and roost, but rather stayed on the floor of the coop in the nesting box.

As for an egg...didn't notice any yellow yolk stuck on her butt or anything. Will have to feel around her vent a bit tomorrow. Frankly, I haven't explored their bodies all that much, so not familar with what's normak and what's abnormal.
 

Dave95476

Hatching
Jan 27, 2020
4
0
1
Has she molted in the last 6 months? I would check her for a stuck egg, just in case, by inserting a finger into her vent 1-2 inches (wear a disposable glove if you have one.) If you have some Poultry NutriDrench or similar electrolyte/vitamin, I would offer a few drops. Scrambled egg and some moist chicken feed could be offered up to her beak. Keep her warm and bring her inside to observe her closely. @azygous is very helpful with crop disorders and other problems.
Thank you. Will have to explore her vent tomorrow. Her crop seems ok. Bringing her inside tonight.
 

Dave95476

Hatching
Jan 27, 2020
4
0
1
One of the most common symptoms of a reproductive problem is a bloated abdomen. It may feel very firm, or water balloon like. Compare with another healthy bird if you aren't sure. How old is she?
Bingo. Gave her a nice epsom salt bath this morning, and then compared her abdomen to our other 2 girls. It definitely feels bloated, as compared to the other two, were softer and squeezable. Hers is pretty rigid, like an over-full water balloon about to burst.

Note:
  • she's about 2 years old.
  • slowed laying this season...seems to have stopped for at least a week.
  • Crop seems ok (not filling mch because she's not eating much
  • comb looks healthy
  • poo is very watery, with just a little green solid

Suggestions??
 
Last edited:

coach723

Crowing
Feb 12, 2015
4,413
8,141
491
North Florida
I'm so sorry. Unfortunately reproductive disorders are not uncommon, especially once they reach two years old, particularly in heavy laying breeds. But it can happen in any hen. The various possibilities often show very similar symptoms and the exact cause often isn't known until necropsy. The most common are various reproductive cancers, infections like salpingitis, and internal laying. These can cause build up of infectious matter in the abdomen, or can put strain on internal organs resulting in ascites (which is fluid build up in the abdomen). Treatments are pretty limited and temporary usually. For ascites, some will drain the fluid to make the bird more comfortable, there are lots of threads and videos showing how that is done if you want to try that. It does come with some risk of shock, which can be fatal if too much is drained too quickly. If it's infectious matter, rather than fluid, there really isn't much you can do. Once they reach this point (and they hide this really well, so it's usually advanced when symptoms show up) I just leave them with the flock as long as they are doing normal chicken things, eating and drinking well. Some birds will last quite a while, some go quicker, there is no way to really predict. I've had them go in a matter of weeks, and some as long as 12 -18 months. But she will likely slowly slow down, she may walk/waddle with a wide legged stance due to the abdomen. The pressure can make it hard for them to breathe and it's uncomfortable, so handle carefully and try not to put pressure on the abdomen. She will not want to make big jumps, so may not roost. They can also develop crop problems, slow crop or crop stasis as the internal pressure may impact their digestive tract, so some birds will lose a lot of body condition, even though they may still feel heavy due to the abdomen. So checking the keel bone to see how well muscled it is will help monitor if she's losing muscle mass. Once they are obviously unwell, go off food and water, isolate themselves, or get attacked by flock mates, then I euthanize.
If you have the means to see an avian vet, they may be able to do some testing to give you a better idea, but the prognosis will likely be poor either way. Again, I'm very sorry. :hugs
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom