Swollen abdomen, lethargic and weak hen

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
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Southern N.C. Mountains
my little girl pepper has been having the same issues and I have tried the warm bath with salts a massage and yoghurt. I have just given her about 5ml of olive oil.
Did your girl pull up, I hope so I have taken a few losses lately and down to only 2 hens.
Thank you if any one has any ideas to help please share.
Hi @Austrachick
This is a very old thread - so why don't you tell us about your girl.

How old is she?
What are her symptoms - swollen abdomen? Does it feel like it has fluid in it?
When was the last time she laid an egg?

I'm sorry to hear about your losses.

Without more information, it's hard to know what's going on with her. Check to make sure her crop is emptying overnight, feel her abdomen for any bloat or feeling of fluid, if she is distress - watch to see that she is pooping - if she isn't then she may be egg bound.
Let us know how she is doing. BTW - Welcome To BYC
 

Austrachick

In the Brooder
Oct 24, 2016
24
7
44
Qld Australia
Pepper is going on 3years old. She is one of my originals and sadly the last of two hens. Between dogs and extreme weather. She has been not laying for a few months now in part because of winter and because she is a bit older. She has been eating tinny bits of food nothing to her usual binge. She has been dragging her tail a round and not moving much at all. Her abdomen is very bloated and she has a lot of poo stuck around her vent which is very not like her she is something of a princess didn't like a feather out of place. Her abdomen feels like it is full of fluid but no eggs. No food in her crop and very thin other that the swelling stomach. She is distressed panting. She is letting me do what I can to help but would rather she was fighting me at this point
No vets who deal with this anywhere near by as in under 3hr so on my own. Any help please.
I have soaked her in esposm salts and olive oil. Yogurt and tried massaging no luck.
 

Diannastarr

Crowing
5 Years
Jun 3, 2014
1,337
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Bisbee AZ 85603
gosh i see a few people with birds with this similar illness here maybe they ate some thing ..? like plastic.. ? or some thing they cant digest, i would give colloidal silver 1 dropper once a day,just to support their immune system, colloidal silver will help with any infection of any kind even the ones that are antibiotic resistant , i would give tuna water if they are not drinking , and see if the hen will eat some egg yolk or tuna..? just to get them eating . i wish all of you all the best of luck , kindest regards take care
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
27,142
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Southern N.C. Mountains
She has been dragging her tail a round and not moving much at all. Her abdomen is very bloated and she has a lot of poo stuck around her vent......Her abdomen feels like it is full of fluid but no eggs. No food in her crop and very thin other that the swelling stomach. She is distressed panting.
She sounds very ill - I'm sorry.

From your description - I would lean toward her have something like Ascites since the abdomen feels like it has fluid in it. Fluid can build up from organ failure, infection, tumors or egg masses in the abdomen - sometimes relief can be given for a short period of time by draining the fluid from the abdomen (fluid/masses are pressing on her internal organs causing difficulty breathing). If you don't have vet care - you can try draining her yourself. There is risk when doing this - they can go into shock or have heart failure if you drain too much at one time - inserting a needle can introduce more infection as well - so do some reading/research to determine if this course of action is right for you. Antibiotics may help keep some infection at bay and keep her comfortable short term - after she is drained https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/ascities.1185454/#post-18714504
 
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Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
27,142
35,996
1,182
Southern N.C. Mountains
They can rally after being drained and have a fairly good quality of life - some will last a good while afterward, while others decline (most likely from infection, heart/organ failure or masses). You may have to re-drain periodically - there are just so many unknowns.

It's hard to know what to do, only you can make the hard decisions - a lot depends on your goals and how you "feel" about your chickens. If she is a "pet", then trying to help her out may be the best solution and see how it goes - but you need to take into consideration that she may need special care/more of your time (commitment) as well - this could be just a few days, but could turn into long term special care and monitoring. It is not selfish to think these things through - you have to do what is best for both you and her. If she is "livestock" then putting her down may be kindest. Whatever you decide to do will be the right one for you and your situation. I so wish I had better answers for you:hugs
 

Sara Ranch

Songster
Jun 7, 2017
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918
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I'm sharing my experience - which may not work for you.

I had a hen that had stopped laying, swollen tummy, gave off that air "I don't feel good", barely moving....

Gave her a few epsoms salt bath. She wouldn't eat much (if at all) or drink much.

Talked to the vet who insisted she was egg bound and was going to die within 48 hours. I had done an exam - she was not egg bound.

Out of desperation, I offered her a plastic container of garden goodies. There were herbs and veggies in it. She choose the onion greens. She ate those for five days. By day four, she was running from me, laughing and saying "you can't catch me!" By day five, she was back with the flock and I can't tell her apart from the other girls. The swelling in her belly had gone and her overall affect was back to normal. She also ate fresh oregano and a nibble or two of fresh basil and thyme. She really only wanted the onion greens. (The onion greens are the green stalks that grow from the onion bulb. She would NOT eat fresh chives.)

A different vet said that the onion greens had sulfates in them, which is also in some antibiotics.

She's still not laying. The flock had the great snake scare, followed by a molt, interspersed with wacky weather (high of 54 one day, high of 85 the next day), and some girls PMS'ing.

Yes, I just went there. Some chickens molt easily and others are not so happy with THAT time of year.

Most of my chickens have access to a chicken garden. They often help themselves to what they want/feel they need. (My goal is to have an herb garden in every pasture.)

My experience is just that - what worked for me. Others will say onions should never be given to your chickens. My girl didn't eat the onion - just the onion greens. I do have a few girls who will eat the whole red onion if I through it into them, but they much rather have other foods. ALL of the animals seem to like the onion greens. (Who would have thought??)

I hope you find a solution to help your chicken. *hugs*
 

Austrachick

In the Brooder
Oct 24, 2016
24
7
44
Qld Australia
I have tried the drain. Well I have found out two things 1 I can do this if I need and 2 I don't want to ever do it again. I play Australian football for fun and first aid for seniors games and still not as difficult as taking a needle to my girl.
She has had some tuna and Apple both enjoyed. A little water not a lot. Below is a photo of what I pulled out. How often should I repeat the process I only did 4 drains and each was different first one lucky to get 1ml the last almost 5ml. She seems ok with the process but still swollen she talking now to.
 

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Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
27,142
35,996
1,182
Southern N.C. Mountains
X2 on what Wyorp Rock said on the "drawing out small amounts". If you try and draw out too much at a time, it can cause them to go into cardiac arrest, if the ascities is caused by heart failure. The first time I drained a hen, I drew out about a 1/4 cup and the bird did go into cardiac arrest. The bird did recover however, but never again did I draw out so much. I found the "drip method" to work well on most birds.

Look at the belly skin closely. I have found that you can see yellow pockets of fluid and this is where you want to drain. I have also found that some hens bodies carry the fluid on one side more heavily and this is the side you want to drain. What I do is, first wipe the area with an alcohol wipe, then stick a needle, either 18 or 20 gauge (18 is SO big and scary, LOL) into one of these pockets, avoiding blood and darker skin, about 1/8th to a 1/4 inch, no more, and I draw out about 2 ml. I pull out the needle and stick them again somewhere else. I do this about 6 times and you will find that the hen will drain herself over the next 24 hours. Sometimes I only find 4 places to stick, but I never do more than 6 as it does cause them a lot of stress. Put the bird in a very clean place for about 24 hours as she is going to drip heavily for the next day. I have found they pretty much drip themselves dry. This works best when they are loaded with fluid. If only mildly loaded, they don't drip.

This is generally not a cure, most birds will pass from what ever is ailing them. However you can extend their lives and give them some better health for the immediate future. Check the belly in a weeks time, sometimes it lasts only a week, sometimes they can go months.

Good luck! :)
You did good! See the link "quote" I have inserted above. It's better to drain a little, then poke a few holes and let gravity drain it for you.
Sometimes even if it feel like it's fluid filled, there can be something like egg masses or egg yolks in there too - these won't drain. Egg Yolk Peritonitis seems to go hand in hand with the Ascites (fluid).

I'm glad she is talking - try to get her drinking, if you have vitamins add those to her water. You can try antibiotics to help fight infection if you have those available. Tuna is good, you can also give egg to see if she will take that too.

With internal/reproductive disorders - it's hard to really tell which one you're dealing with until they die unfortunately - sometimes it can be a "combination" - you may have fluids and masses in there - just no way to know. I know this sounds morbid, but if she does not make it - you may want to take a look just to see. I had one a few weeks back that went down hill, I put her out of her misery and she was bloated/loaded up with egg matter (no fluids to drain) - I didn't get photos, but she looked similar to some of the photos in the links below. I have gathered some of the links I use for you to look at - I will tell you they do have photos of home necropsy and what people have found - so they are deemed graphic. I wish I had better answers for you.


This one is Peritonitis - but she did have fluid pulled as well - note the eggs that are in the belly - this can make it feel like it has fluid - the eggs can eventually become like pus (some is seen in the photos) and are a breeding ground for bacteria/infection https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/egg-yolk-peritonitis.1154532/#post-18103856

This is Salpingitis - some fluids in the belly can accompany this, but most likely the belly feels fairly firm https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/internal-layer-necropsy-warning-graphic-pics.635524/
This one is recent - initial the OP thought possibly flystrike , but we investigate further it become clear the hen had internal problems - this was also Salpingitis - but she reported the belly felt like it had fluid in it https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/fly-strike-treatments.1192200/
This one discusses Ascites, has a few photos that Kathy posted - note the fluid - it may give you some information https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/ascites-in-desperate-need-of-some-help-and-guidance.853726/
 

Austrachick

In the Brooder
Oct 24, 2016
24
7
44
Qld Australia
Omg your a wealth of info thank you so much. I am sorting through the info now. She has made it through the first night and I will drain some more tomorrow so she can recover first.
Thank you so much.
 
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