Three of my chickens have bald butts.. one died this morning

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mhn24, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. mhn24

    mhn24 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 24, 2016
    Three of my chickens had no feathers on their butts (one speckled sussex, one buff orpington, and one delaware- all of them just passed one years old)

    I thought that it was just because the chicken (delaware- also one year old, did not have a bald butt) that was on top of the pecking order was pecking off their feathers so I didn't think it wasn't that big of a deal. All she needed was a little isolation and it would be good to go.

    However, today, one of the Delaware chickens with a bald butt just dropped and died (I didn't see her die, but I fed her in the morning and an hour later, she was dead, without any symptoms). I am worried that it had something to do with her bald butt. She didn't have any peck marks on her, so it can't be from the chicken on top of the pecking order, and she was her usual self, happy and excited at anything, the day before. I have no clue what she died from. It might be from not enough exercise that maybe led to a heart attack? I talked to a couple people and they said that doesn't happen often though, and considering our chickens were fairly in shape.

    Also, I felt one of the bald butts when I was holding one of the chickens, and it seemed to be abnormally harder than usual.

    Has anyone ever had something like this? I am bringing the remaining two to the doctor tomorrow and I would like to know what to expect.

    Here are two pictures of the bald butts- one from the Delaware that died this morning and one from the buff orpington. You can't see it, but the buff orpington had kind of a scab on its butt and it was purpe-ish blue, which is really scaring me. please help!
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  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What do you feed them?

    It looks like they may have abdominal swelling which can be ascites (water belly) or internal laying or perhaps a tumour. The fact that more than one has the same swelling suggests to me it is diet related. How much scratch do you feed them?
     
  3. mhn24

    mhn24 Out Of The Brooder

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    Can you explain more those three things that you listed? I have never heard of the first two.

    I feed them premium poultry feed with oyster shells from this brand called Omega-3 and sometimes, I add in some cracked corn as well. I feed them a medium-sized bucket of this twice everyday- once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Sometimes, my dad comes home with leftover food from work (like a tray of white rice or something) or we get cabbage heads for cheap from a store and we feed them those at night.

    Last night, they got a tray of white rice. Do you think that caused it?
     
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Treats, scratch should constitute no more than 10% of total daily feed intake, but rice / maize are just carbs/fat so maybe better to reduce those. Chicken feed provides a totally balanced diet and additional foods can upset that balance (but I'm sure they enjoy it [​IMG]) hence limiting them is a good idea.

    I'm sure Rebrascora will add, once she is back online re: your other questions.
     
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi again

    As CTKen explained, the treats like rice etc can cause a problem depending on how much "a tray" is and between how many birds. The three birds that are having problems are all larger less active breeds, so those carbohydrate calories can cause thick fat deposits to form around their organs, which can result in organ failure and reproductive problems.
    Ascites (water belly) is a build up of fluid in the abdominal cavity. It is not unusual for there to be more than a pint of it in such birds. That fluid is heavy and also causes pressure within their body putting a strain on their heart, lungs, digestive system and reproductive system as well as their legs to constantly carry that extra weight. If they are already under pressure from fatty deposits, something fails sooner or later.

    Internal laying is where eggs that are released from the ovaries don't make it into the oviduct (again fatty deposits may cause this. The eggs drop into the abdominal cavity and slowly cook with the heat from the hens body. The number of eggs (these are small yolks rather than full eggs with whites and shells) dropping into the abdominal cavity builds up and eventually an infection sets in (egg yolk peritonitis) and the chicken starts to act ill. Unlike being egg bound where an egg gets stuck just inside the vent and will prove fatal within a couple of days because it blocks poop from exiting the body, internal laying usually happens over several months and after a while, the bulge between the chickens legs caused by all that build up of either fluid or egg yolks will become obvious, the skin is stretched so the feathers fall out or get worn off and the chicken may start to walk like a penguin and have difficulty roosting.

    The sure fire way to find out what has happened is to cut the dead chicken open and see what you find inside. My bet is that there will be a huge pad of yellow fat and either a massive amount of fluid(ascites) or what looks a bit like a mass of scrambled eggs.
    It is really interesting to see what the insides of a chicken look like and it can benefit your whole flock by finding out why they died and perhaps changing your management so that future chickens don't suffer the same fate. If you feel unable to open up the chicken yourself, there are facilities that will do a professional examination on a dead bird. In some states it is free. There are some interesting threads on BYC regarding examining dead chickens (doing necropsy examinations) if you don't have a weak stomach. I have a photo somewhere of a chicken that I opened up that was full of thick yellow fat deposits which encased her heart and gizzard and intestines as well as a huge thick pad of it on her abdomen. She was culled because she was unproductive and had been fed a diet with too much carbohydrate and not enough exercise....essentially she was obese. If you are interested in finding out more I can find and post links and I would recommend taking photos of whatever you find so that you can post them on one of those threads and get advice or explanation. It helps to research how to eviscerate a chicken before you start, so that you have an idea of the internal lay out of a chicken. You tube is a great place to learn. Think of it as a biology lesson that may benefit your whole flock.

    I hope that explains it a bit, but please ask if there is anything you didn't understand.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
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  6. mhn24

    mhn24 Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok cool- I will keep that in mind when I talk to the doctor! Thanks!
     

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