Whats wrong with the Hens?


In the Brooder
Jun 2, 2020
One of my hens has fallen ill. She is a RI Red and about 5 years old. It started with a poopy butt, and then turned into a swollen abdomen, tight with fluids, which one day even moved to her chest. She is now waddling like a penguin and uses her wings to keep her balance. I initially thought she had 'water belly' and gave her her own little coop to keep her separate and comfortable from the other girls until she passed. It has now been over a week and this girl is still kicking. She's still eating and drinking, but is very obviously still declining. Today while watching the other hens roam the yard I noticed her sister was displaying some of the same initial symptoms- poopy but, tight but less swollen abdomen, little waddle in her step. Being that I am 7 months pregnant, I sent my husband out to clean the coop this afternoon and in doing so he found two deformed 'eggs'. Naturally, I went to google. Anyone ever heard of Lash Egg? or Salpingitis? Reading the symptoms of this I found many similarities to what is happening here. We (he) went through all the hens (18 hens, multiple breeds and different ages) and found another girl that looked like she had the same symptoms starting. I had him put the 3 together in their own coop. He added wormer to everyones water just because and even put out some medicated chick starter for an extra boost. I know that the next step would be getting antibiotic, but I'm not sure how to go about getting those, and don't partially want to pay an expensive vet bill.

Can anyone suggest what they would do (or undo) next?
Last edited:


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
Reproductive disorders, such as salpingitis, egg yolk peritonitis, ascites, and cancer are quite common in hens, and may be a common cause of death. Salpingitis can be caused by certain bacteria, such as E.coli, mycoplasma, and others. Antibiotics may or may not be effective, but the earlier in an illness, the better they may work. Most antibiotics are only available from a vet. If there is ascites (water belly,) draining the abdomen occasionally to relieve pressure sometimes help. There is risk of infection and occasionally death. Most of the ones I have treated, I try to keep them eating and drinking. Crop disorders can accompany reproductive disorders. A vet may be helpful with draining or using hormone implants to stop laying. I usually watch to see if they are suffering at any point, and put them down. A necropsy may be done at home to look at abdominal organs which can be helpful to know what was wrong.

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