Swollen and bloody vent area / abdomen


5 Years
May 13, 2014
We just got done with the Epsom salt bath which she didn’t seem to hate. She’s no longer bleeds so I guess that was from being pecked. I found another spot on her where she was pecked. Once that starts happening, do they just peck anywhere? She’s healing but her abdomen is still swollen. I can cup it in my hand.


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Well she laid an egg without any issues so she’s not egg bound and there is no prolapse. Starting to look like it’s ascites. I’ve been reading there is no cure for this, only treatments like draining? Not sure what to do at this point.
Greetings jbrianchamberli,

You've done good so far. Keep the hen's vent clean, you can also apply some Vetricyn spray or Neosporin ointment (without pain reliever), to the wound. You don't want the vent wound to get infected. Keep her in a hospital crate, tub or box with bedding, a mat, or towel, till she is on the mend. Provide good supportive care.

The ascites build up can mean she has an infection of the oviduct. Treatment with antibiotics, early in the infection, can be helpful. It's good she was able to lay an egg, her ascites swelling may go down on it's own now. This may be, a one time occurrence, or your hen may continue to have abdominal swelling from ascites, throughout her life.

Your right, there is no known cure. But, she can have a good chicken life with your care, for however long that may be. Continue the Epsom Salt baths whenever she has ascite buildup. I use, "Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Detox 80" in the drinking water. Add 1 Tb. per quart of water, to help her eliminate toxins, during ascites. You may also, have to put her in a hospital crate, to rest, from time to time. She may have labored breathing, an abdominal hernia, and even a congestive heart, during ascite build up.

Do not allow her to jump down from the perch, while her belly is swollen, as this can cause her abdomen to rupture. If you want her to perch with the flock, you'll have to install some netting under the perch so she doesn't fall off during the night. The hen will be very off balance due the swelling, and prone to falling. In the morning you'll have to take her off the perch, or put a ramp for her to get down (hopefully she'll use it).

And, you need to determine why your hen is getting pecked. Is your flock stressed from overcrowding? Is there a bully in the flock? Do they go out to forage? If not, maybe they need distractions and activities in their pen.

Well, these are my thoughts on your hen's vent and ascite problem. I hope they are helpful.

God Bless :)
Greetings jbrianchamberli,

I had a hen with an ascite problem. She lived and extra six months, after my vet told me she would die in a couple of weeks. She just suddenly went into a remission, as is common with this condition. She laid eggs, and just enjoyed being a happy hen.

During that six months, she had two more ascite swellings in her belly, which also healed. I discussed draining the ascites with my vet. He said it was a 50/50 chance she would survive. Some do fine, and others just die from the procedure. And the ones that do survive, do well for a while, then, they usually will have another ascite condition. I didn't like those odds, so, I chose to just treat her using the Aloe Vera Detox and Epsom Baths. And I made accommodations for her on the property, little ramps and step ups, so that she could have safe access to all areas. I let her live out her chicken days, as my vet prescribed.

I usually prefer to attend to my chickens when they are sick, myself. But some conditions are difficult, and it's good if you have a trusted vet to discuss things with. I am fortunate to have such a vet to help me out. The issue of ascites was a frustrating condition for the hen, and for me, as the keeper. No one wants to see their hen sick, and suffering.

There are always difficult decisions to make, when it comes to our animals and their quality of life. I can't advise you to do it, or, not to do it. I can just tell you what my experience was like. I don't regret my decision, my hen was so loved and so well taken care of, during her life here.

I'm sure you will make the best decision for your hen.
These are my thoughts on your question, I hope they have been helpful. :caf

God Bless :)
How old is she?
If she has laid a normal egg then it is unlikely to be an infection of the oviduct or internal laying.
Fatty Liver Haemorrhagic Syndrome may be the cause, in which case her diet might need reassessing. What do you feed your chickens.... please include main food and treats including rough quantity of treats and number of birds being fed.
Pecking often occurs when there is insufficient space, so that might be something else to consider. Obviously the abdominal swelling is not due to pecking but cannibalism can also occur as a result of a dietary imbalance.... not enough protein.... so another reason to assess what you are feeding them.
Just almost exactly a year old. I had 5 birds to start with and one died in some kind of attack. So we’re down to 4. They’ve been confined to the run over the winter which was never meant to be their regular run. I was free ranging them until the attack. I’m building a much larger run once the weather breaks. She eats layer pellets and gets treats occasionally when I’m down there. Nothing major. They all seem to eat equally.

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