I noticed yesterday one of my hens was bloated. I brought her in soaked her in warm water. I lubricated her vent and checked to see if I could feel for an egg, no egg. I gave her 1cc of olive oil. This morning she's flipping her head, drinking and eating. I moved her by herself and gave her antibiotics in her water, which she is drinking. She is really bloated. She is about 2 1/2 years old and all my girls have been healthly til now. I dust them with DE. A year ago i had bird mites to contend with. What is your thought.
Type of Animal: RIR hen
Thank you for your question.When you say she is bloated and you feel her abdomen, any feeling of an egg there?(I am assuming the negative 'egg check' was feeling via the vent). Or does her belly feel like a taunt water balloon (perhaps even with a ripple feeling if you gently press?How have her stools been?Do you think he drinking is quite a bit more then the other hens?
yes feels like a water balloon
Darn. I was hoping you would say you could feel an egg that way.
In that case, I am very concerned about your hen. When we see a chicken bloated we have to consider a few different reasons for this. First, we have to consider the nature of what is 'filling' her abdomen.
We can see bloat in hen's that have a a bound egg, a mass (ie. tumor) in their abdomen, ascites (fluid), peritonitis, or hemorrhage (which sounds less likely in her case). If we consider each of these potential causes in turn, you will have a better idea of what we may be facing with this abdominal distenstion.
First, we must consider trauma induced hemorrhage. This can appear as a bloated hen, but often we would also see paling of the comb, collapse, possible death. That said, a slow bleed could still be a consideration here though less likely with her history.
Tumours in the abdomen are not uncommon, and are something we have to consider if one hen is affected. Still, she is younger, so I would probably put this lower on my list initially.
Ascites is the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen and is a very possible cause for the bloating you are seeing. We can see ascites appear in chickens for a number of reasons. If your bird has a heart condition, the mismatched pressures in the circulation will cause a back pressure and fluid will leak from her blood vessels into her body cavity.
As well, if she has liver disease (which you might also notice a yellowing tint of her skin/comb/mucous membranes) can cause ascites since a suffering liver won't be able to produce albumin (a blood protein it makes to regulate osmotic pressure in the vessels) and thus cause an imbalance in the blood's protein levels.
A similar problem can also be seen if the hen has had a long history of diarrhea (though you hadn't mentioned this being a feature for her). Because with diarrhea protein is lost, thus over a longer period (or profuse output), the blood protein balance will again be imbalanced.
And we must consider, that some tumors can cause ascites, as well as take up space, by their mucking with the body's blood supply.
Now in laying hens, we also have to consider those troubles that arise from the reproductive tract. Egg binding is a big issue that can cause a bit of bloating and decreased fecal output, though we also often see straining and such. As well, there is the issue with egg peritonitis, which always worries me most with these wee ones.
Because the hen's ovary and reproductive tract aren't actually connected (imagine the ovary throwing the ovum into a basket ball hoop to make a successful egg), a hen can occasionally have their ovum not make it into the tract. When this happens the material ends up free floating in the abdomen. This is problematic, as I am sure you know, because 1) it doesn't belong there and inflames the delicate tissues, 2) it is the perfect media for growing bacteria. So, if a hen ends up with an egg peritonitis, we can see bloating initally which the progresses to gait issues, lethargy, anorexia, and it can progress to a fatal state.
So, these are what we have to consider with your hen. And the problem I am sure you will appreciate with birds to that they do a very good job of covering up when they are sick. This is because as a prey species, attention to your illness will make you a target for predation. So, if we are seeing this bloating, then this might be our only hint until the problem is too advanced to treat. Therefore, we must take this as a serious issue that needs to be resolved.
No matter which differential is to blame, she should be isolated from the flock. .This bird should be moved to a hospitalization pen. It should be a small enclosure with soft flooring. Her food/water should be easily asccessable for her. This will remove any competiton and stress of being bullied, while it will allow you to closely monitor her (know if she is eating/drinking) and administer any supportive care measures. If she is struggling to eat and drink, you will know about it and be able to assist her.
As well, while we are monitoring and offering supportive care if she needs it, we do want her to see a vet. This would be prudent to do so as soon as possible since obtaining a diagnosis will determine what you can do to help her.
The vet will be able to have a feel of her abdomen, perhaps xray her, and determine the culprit for this bloated appearance. As well, and quite importantly, they can check for fluid present in her abdomen and the vet will be able to take a sample of the fluid with a sterile needle and evaluate it under the microscope (as a lot of the ascites have distinct appearances).Depending on their findings, the vet will to provide appropriate treatment and give you the best chance of getting your hen back to being herself. As well, they can give you an ideal on her overal prognosis with this.
So, I would have her checked out by her vet. If you don't have a specialist avian vet, you can check where you can find one at near you at http://www.aav.org/search/, Avian web (LINK) or Birdsnway (LINK).
I hope this information is helpful. Please do let me know if you have any further questions. If you have no further questions, feedback is always appreciated.
All the best,
As a veterinary surgeon, I have spent a lot of time with bird cases & am happy to help you.
Hi Candace,I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?nekovet