Swollen abdomen and mites- what do I do?


10 Years
May 17, 2009
I hope someone has a quick solution for us. We are new to raising chickens and one of our Red Stars began hunching over and not moving around, also had a dirty vent area. We gave her a bath to clean the vent and mites started floating to the top of the water. We treated her with pyrethrin and a couple subsequent baths/treatments. She was still not recovering (it has been over 2 weeks), so I bought some antibiotic and separated her from the rest of our 7 chickens (all well and unaffected). Her latest bath yielded just a couple mites, dirty water from her still dirty vent, and I noticed she has a severely swollen abdomen. She threw up mostly water when we gently squeezed the area- What do I do now? Please forgive my ignorance, but I have looked everywhere online and cannot figure this out! Thanks for your help.
Was it her abdomen, or the front of her? Her crop?

As for the mites, you'll want to retreat in less than a 2 week period. I do 10 days. Put dusting powder in all the bedding. You can mix the powder and water and 'paint' the water onto the walls as well, but mostly get it in the nesting area, etc. The eggs laid by the mites will hatch and you'll have the same issue again.

Probably not a good idea to squeeze the abdomen of a hen. She could be laying normally, or could be laying internally. (See the thread on this on these forums.) Just make sure she's getting good calcium and vitamin D and sunlight.

The mites might have caused the pasty vent (the dirty vent). I've seen that happen a lot. She'll be anemic, so I'd make sure all your birds get a good treatment with a probiotic laced mash. (Glenda heywood has an awesome recipe for one! Right here, in << >> marks, my additions in ( ) marks:

<< Give them the wet mash probiotic so they can make good gut flora. Use 1 qt of dry crumble feed, 2 qts of water. Do this: fix what amts to 2 tsp per chick per time mixed wet mash plus vit's.>>

and add 1- 1000 mg of Vit E by cutting the end off the vit E capsule for each chick fed this wet mash and 1 selenium tablet crushed for each chick fed this wet mash putting it in the wet mash. Use this for each chick your treating. So for each chick use 2 tsp of mixture and 1-1000 mg of Vit E and 1 selenium tablet crushed in the wet mash probiotic twice a day for them till the manure is solid. Feed each chick 2 tsp full of the wet mash probiotic and what they will clean up in 20-30 minutes. Then clean the wet feeders and restock with dry crumbles. Do this twice a day for a week till the chicks manure is right. Then quit the Vit E and selinium make just the wet mash probiotic. Then once a week for life.>>

For a good safe electrolyte and vitamin D boost, Glenda and I both recommend this:
<<2 tbsp of (organic) apple cider vinegar per gallon of the chicken water so their gut flora wil be regulated they should have this at least 3-5 days a week, then three days aweek after they are over coccidiosis (or other digestive upsets). The vit's are neccessary to clean up the damaged gut problem.>>

So, could you tell us what antibiotic (and why you treated?) By the way, treating with PRObiotics is absolutely essential after any round of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill good and bad bacteria indiscriminately. The bird's digestive system relies heavily on good bacteria. When the good bacteria colonies are compromised, you end up with pasty vent - such as you've seen in the bird. It just takes stress to throw off the bacteria, so during any time of stress (including parasites) give a probiotic boost at least weekly to prevent illness.

On the other hand, you do NOT want to use antibiotics ever unless there's a really strong indication that there's a bacterial infection and that the antibiotic is appropriate for that. Many of the bacterial products available and packaged for poultry are unfortunately very weak and ineffective. They're also wayyyyyy overly recommended by feedstore guys. THere are specific antibiotics you use for wounds, for digestive upsets, for certain types of respitatory illnesses, and they don't necessariliy work interchangably. Something to keep in mind. Misuse an antibiotic, and you might not be able to count on it ever again for use with that bird. Just a word of advice for all poultry owners - it's a common mistake.
I think the antibiotic was called Tetramycin or something like that- it was recommended by the guys at the feed store, and also one of only a few things to treat chickens. She looks terrible right now, and I will try the probiotics- cider vinegar mixture, etc. From the way it sounds, she is laying internally. Is it true there is not much to help her? Can we try to get the eggs out ourselves? Will this cause more harm than help? Thanks for all your help- it is so great to be in contact with others that have a passion for animals, and compassion for them as well. I really want to save Kiki.
Terramycin. Yep, I figured. Don't use it. Honestly, it was probably a wrong call. There are very few feedstore guys that I would ever ever take advice from. Well ok - one. Ever.

I'm afraid of the internal laying as well. Another thing to consider and rule out are ascites, the holding of fluids in the belly. There are posts on here about that if you want to check it out. But in the mean time, try these things so we can figure out what's going on with her.

On internal laying, no - there's really nothing much. they lay the egg way up in the tract where you can't get to it. Note - it's different than eggbinding. It might be something else, but let's see what we can do anyway.

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