Soft shell membrane hanging from vent - Egg Bound

May 29, 2019
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I've had suspected internal layer--2.5 y/o Barred Rock--that has a vet appointment Friday. She'd been doing well, though I'd noticed some hard swelling around her vent/lower abdomen, and that she spends time in the nesting box as if she's laying (but no egg). This all is on the tail of weird soft and shell-less eggs. Hence the appointment.

BUT, this a.m. I noticed her poop was watery and in small amounts--and a greenish tinge. I noticed she was particularly swollen and seemed like she was trying to get something out. I then noticed a stringy soft shell membrane hanging from her vent. I gave her a 20 min epsom bath with calcium supplementation, but no movement. I tried to lubricate and gently pull the membrane out, but the string simply broke off (was SO upset at myself). Now I can't find anything to grip. She's currently in a dark room and I'm hoping she passes something.

Unfortunately the vet cannot see her until Friday, but I'm worried she's bound with these soft shell contents (maybe multiple). She's acting and looking well, but clearly isn't able to pass much of anything. Should I try to get her to eat a good bit so the poop helps move the contents out? Or should I lay off feeding her in case she can't poop at all?

Please help. I love this girl. Thank you.
 
May 29, 2019
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Definitely keep feeding her, passing soft shells takes a ton of energy.
Keep her well hydrated and as stress free as possible.
Besides that there isn't much you can do if you've already felt around in there.
How do I feel around? I only went very shallowly to try and pull the membrane. She's now in the basement in the dark but I'm wondering if I should put her out with the others to eliminate stress (it's a warm humid day).
 

Chickassan

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May 23, 2017
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Gently!
It is the same premise as if you were looking in your own rump.
Lubricate the finger, insert to the second knuckle and just gently have a feel around the entire round of it.
Honestly the technique is more for removing broken hard shells, the soft ones are hard to discern because they feel so much like the chicken.
But, if she's not acting off, it would be fine to let her be with her flock.
Im assuming she has access to a nest if she feels the urge correct? :)
 
May 29, 2019
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Gently!
It is the same premise as if you were looking in your own rump.
Lubricate the finger, insert to the second knuckle and just gently have a feel around the entire round of it.
Honestly the technique is more for removing broken hard shells, the soft ones are hard to discern because they feel so much like the chicken.
But, if she's not acting off, it would be fine to let her be with her flock.
Im assuming she has access to a nest if she feels the urge correct? :)
She does. Right now she's just milling about the run. She's acting normal in that she's alert and vocal but is disinterested in food and not pooping. Her vent area is clearly distended.

I think in an hour or so I'll try another bath and feel around. How often would you recommend baths?

I just hope she hangs in till friday--I can't get a vet to see her any earlier.

Thank you so very much for your kind help! I don't know where I'd be without this community.
 

Eggcessive

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I would repeat the calcium again tomorrow if she still hasn’t passed the membrane parts. Do you have calcium citrate or carbonate with D3? Have you seen and respiratory issues such as signs of infectious bronchitis? That is a common cause of reproductive disorders. If no other hens are having an issue with shells, it could be something other than a calcium deficiency.
 
May 29, 2019
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I would repeat the calcium again tomorrow if she still hasn’t passed the membrane parts. Do you have calcium citrate or carbonate with D3? Have you seen and respiratory issues such as signs of infectious bronchitis? That is a common cause of reproductive disorders. If no other hens are having an issue with shells, it could be something other than a calcium deficiency.
I was just using a human calcium and vitamin d3 supplement (1/3 contents softgel). Should I try more Epsom baths today?

No respiratory issues. One of her sisters had shell issues eating up to a hard molt (she's since ceased laying and is doing well despite looking like she has a perpetual bad hair day). Another chicken has had issues most of her laying career with overproduction and needs restricted light to keep her from laying more than one egg a day (which would lead to shell quality deterioration and related issues).

The chicken in question has always been the big, strong boss and was never a crazy productive layer, so she's the last I ever thought would have reproductive concerns. She's clearly still trying to be the center of the flock even though it's obvious she's really got something going on. I haven't seen her poop since this morning. I really think she's plugged up with a wad of egg material.
 
May 29, 2019
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Hi buffy-the-eggpile-layer,

One of my girls is exhibiting all the same symptoms you're talking about here. How did things end up? Were you able to figure out what was wrong // find a solution to help fix it?

Any information would help!

Wishing the best for you and your lil girl,

Zac
Hi Zac,

I'm sorry to hear your chicken is unwell. There are updates to my hen's condition here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...-what-can-i-do-for-her.1493724/#post-24917565 (I recommend the advice posted by both @Weeg and @azygous because they were both invaluable to my hen's survival).

In a nutshell: she's doing well, but still on the mend. The vet diagnosed her with egg yolk peritonitis (EYP) based on hard swelling of her abdomen (right below her vent), sickly poops, and poor body condition. I believe she'd been internally laying, which had caused the infection. He prescribed a long regimen of augmentin (amoxicillin)--3x daily for 20 days--and metacam for inflammation and pain. I force fed her "missiles" made from feed crumbles, a little bit of water, peanut butter, and any meds mashed up into missile-shaped pills. She very slowly got better, and is now off of the antibiotics and mostly eating on her own. Her energy is good and she's been enjoying free ranging sessions. Here's what I've been doing to maintain her health:
  • For gut health: daily probiotics
  • In place of antibiotics: 1 drop colloidal silver (500 ppm), 2x daily for the next 10 days, after which point I'll switch to oil of oregano as a natural antibiotic
  • For inflammation (in place of metacam, which is expensive and hard on my hen's stomach): 1/4 tsp turmeric with black pepper and coconut oil daily
  • ACV in water
Her swelling has gone down considerably but is still present, which leads me to believe she still has impacted material that has not passed. She's been in a full molt, which has thankfully kept her from laying--my hope is that she will be able to lay a normal egg after the break and get rid of any built-up material (though I know that's a pipe dream). Otherwise, I'm researching hormonal implants to keep her from laying. If that's not an option, I'll try to restrict sunlight which had worked in another chicken's case. I cannot afford the surgery (salpingohysterectomy). I believe the only way to "cure" or prevent this issue is to keep the hen from laying so that future build-up/infections will be less likely. There's also a chance that this is cancer, in which case I can only offer supportive care.

How is your hen doing? Is she eating/drinking? Forcing her to do so--while unpleasant--was critical in my case. It kept her strong enough to endure treatment/medications.
 

exactlyzac

Chirping
Oct 20, 2019
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Oh my, thank you so much for such a quick and thorough reply.

I gave her a second bath (this time with epsom salts), and discovered that she had an impacted crop (I can't believe I didn't check for this in the first place). I've been tending to her crop by force feeding her oils and massaging it twice a day for a few days now but it's still impacted... but it's small? So strange. Did you see anything like this with your girl?

I also gave the poor girl a rectal exam but everything felt really normal in there... as far as I can tell.

I'm HOPING that he weird egg shell thing was just a fluke and that the impacted crop was the cause of all her problems, but I am so grateful to have all your advice right here where I can find it if the egg shell thing persists.
 

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