what is wrong with my hen?!


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 20, 2012
Hi. I have a three year old hen who is very sick. She has a swollen bottom below the vent and has lost most of the feathers back there. I've had a feel and there is no egg that I can find. She has had diarrhea for four days. She is isolated and confined so she will rest. I have been soaking her in Epsom salt baths every day and giving her ACV and probiotics and she is just getting worse. Her comb is getting darker and she just looks miserable. Any ideas on how to help her/ what is wrong? How long do you wait for recovery before culling a sick bird? Thanks.
Judging by her symptoms, I would guess that she is an internal layer (and has egg yolk peritonitis) or has ascites. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do for any of those conditions. Some people have success treating their peritonitis birds with strong antibiotics, like Tylan50 or Baytril, but the infection usually comes back. Likewise, one method of treating ascites is to drain fluid from the bird's abdomen regularly, along with antibiotic treatment. However, such birds never fully recover.

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful. I would be sure to read up on the ailments I mentioned, and see if you think that is what your hen has. If so, the best option might be humanely culling her.
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Does she have any discharge from the vent? That could be a sign of vent gleet.

Otherwise, if it's just the swollen abdomen and not feeling well she may have peritonitis. Is she a regular layer? The swelling could be from internal laying, or it could be ascites, fluid build up in the body cavity as a result of internal layer or from other conditions. Cancers, heart/circulatory problems and problems with other major organs can cause ascites. The fluid build up also causes poor circulation and you will see the darker comb or sometimes bluish or purple combs. None of these things has a good prognosis but if you have access to an avian vet they can help you pin point what the problem is and if you should attempt to treat her.
It is hard to tell what is discharge and what is diarrhea. I did suspect vent fleet, which is why I started the robotics and Apple cider vinegar, but she is getting worse not better. After looking at some articles on personifies and that seems most similar to her symptoms. I'm so sad. She is a sweetie. Thanks for the replies.
If her bottom is swollen up it will make it appear as if there is feather loss as skin stretches making the feather follicles further apart. Internal laying or water belly (ascites) like previous poster says are serious.

In her poo do you see anything that looks like cooked egg, hard yellowish or runny like a broken egg? Does her hinney or poo smell like sulfur? Is she still laying?

Some birds at that age start to decline because of laying issues the way they have been bred to be high production, problems start showing up around 2yo.

Take a picture of her close up of face and comb, her hinney, and a full body so we can see what she looks like. Hope she is ok.
Yes she does seem to have yolk type pieces stuck in her feathers. She is not laying. She stinks but I'm not sure it is suffer I am smelling.
Ok, the smell if she also has Vent Gleet will be strong smell yeasty also sticky from whitish to a yellow. Hinney may look wet from clumpy feathers. One of my girls who had a severe case had a swollen abdomen from gleet. When she tried to lay they were rubbery would break as she strained and would need to be cleaned up. Sometimes needing to pull out the rubbery skin from vent. Gently rinsing out vent with warm water to remove the rest of the egg.

Clean her up by a nice warm bath, and isolate till she dries completly. The gleet discharge will gum things up really quick if a bad case. Tempt her to eat yogurt with a bit of honey. You can also use honey on her vent to give some relief, as it has natural properties to act as antifungal, antibiotic. The best is a local honey that hasn't been processed like those from major companies. I put honey I use on my girls in a squeeze bottle so I can easily apply it and don't use for human consumption. ACV in water for all of them is good.

The same thing used for womens yeast infections will work, or other cream antifungal. Fermented feed can help prevent some vent problems. Feed wet with acv added to it, pickles, my girls get pickles once in awhile or the pickle juice mixed in feed.

Sorry if rambling trying to think of all things have tried for gleet, oh duh let me grab notebook....

Yogurt mixed with feed or seperate
Acv in water
Honey in yogurt
Honey to vent and inside vent
Bath to clean her up - prevent flystrike from messy bottom
Miconazole rubbed around vent and inside 2x's a day fo 5 days
Antifungal cream used for athletes foot applied to vent and inside, was successful but longer than a week to clear up

Seperated in a dog crate, in coop covered to keep dark prevent egg laying, slowed down enough to get her to heal

Tube feeding with Kaytee bird formula food when hen was losing weight from not eating on her own. Filled crop up 3-4 times a day one at bedtime to make sure had enough for overnight.

Gave vitamin B, and poultry nutridrench.

Knew there was a reason I kept the notebook. Each hen has a section to give treatments, or description of health when checked. Personality, etc.
I'm sorry for your loss.

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