Swollen abdomen


Aug 31, 2016
Central BC, Canada
I noticed today that one of my Ameraucana hens has a very swollen abdomen. She keeps going into the nest box. She is 9 months.

It is very squishy and feels like there is fluid in there. If this is not usually curable, let me know and we will put her down. If this can be fixed, I will separate her and keep an eye on her.
Hopefully you haven’t killed her yet she might just be egg bound. Does she lay regularly? Has she stopped laying? If so for how many days?
If she is egg bound do the following
  • The first thing you should do is give them a dose of calcium through vitamins, electrolytes or in liquid form.

  • Gently lower them into a warm Epsom salt bath for 20-30 minutes.

  • Gently massage the chickens abdomen.

  • Put her in a small, dark, quiet space so she is as comfortable as possible to lay the egg.
If none of these options work and she hasn’t laid the egg within the hour, then a simple phone call to your vet is required. This way they can assess the situation and have your hen happy and healthy in no time.
It looks to me like she may have ascites which at such a young age may be from heart failure. Is it soft and squishy like fluid? Egg yolk peritonitis or internal laying may be similar or more firm. Any of the 3 are eventually fatal, but I have had some who have lived a couple of years. Mostly, it depends if they are eating and drinking, and able to get around well enough to a have a decent quality of life. Mine could still walk up and down the hill in my yard, plus roost at night. I did necropsies on some, and found amber colored fluid in 3 when the abdomen was opened. I would definitely try to perform a necropsy if you cull her or she dies on her own.
Thank you guys! I am going to bring her in and do what Farm Life 101 suggested.. might as well try. She seems to get around fine and is eating and drinking... She seems to want in the nest boxes all day so I'm hoping she's just egg bound!

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