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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7938
Experience:  35 years in general practice, including avian.
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Chickens are 10 months old. Egg hole (butt) is bleeding and

Customer Question

Chickens are 10 months old. Egg hole (butt) is bleeding and some insides come out. Chickens dying. Outside of eggs covered with blood. Only happening with 1 breed out of 10. The breed is Rhode Island Red. Chickens started laying at 6 months old. Pullet eggs OK for two months. This problem just started in the last 2 months.<br/><br/>Lost 50 chickens.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 6 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Bob.
I'm sorry to read of the problem you're having with your hens.
Judging from your description, I suspect that your Reds have developed the habit of vent picking, a form of cannibalism.
Have you noticed some of the hens picking at the others?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

No. We are familiar with cannibalism.


We feel as the eggs got bigger the hens have not matured to handle the bigger eggs,


For instance, this morning one chicken was still alive, however, she had just laid an egg and her vent opening was as big as a mans fist and all bloody. No other chickens were picking at her.

Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 6 years ago.
Hello again.
The "insides coming out" are their oviducts. This condition is called prolapsed oviducts, blowout or pickout. The hens oviduct turns inside out for some reason and protrudes from her body. The causes of this problem are multiple: hens that begin laying too soon, are too fat, or trying to lay unusually large eggs, are all prone to this condition.
If you can catch the condition early, you can apply Preparation H (hemorrhoid cream) to the exposed tissue, and isolate the hen until she improves. Some folks tuck the tissue back into the hen, but unless the swelling goes down fairly rapidly, it will just prolapse again. The bloodiness is usually caused by other chickens picking at the exposed tissue. An oviduct that has simply prolapsed will not normally bleed, unless traumatized.
Some vent picking may be due to misplaced feeders, waterers, and roosts that are positioned so that birds below can pick at birds above them. This is something to keep in mind, and look for in your housing.
Some breeds are more prone to this problem than others, which may account for the fact that only your Reds are affected.
If you should have further questions, please let me know.
Dr. Bob
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

What causes the blood all over the egg? It appears this comes from the inside of the chicken not from the outside where other chickens might pick at the exposed tissue.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Will Cod Liver Oil or Fish Oil in their water help?

Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 6 years ago.
Sorry to take so long to reply, I was offline while out to supper.
The blood is from inflamed tissues in the cloaca and oviduct. This can be due to an ascending infection from the exposed tissue, as well as from traumatized areas around the opening.
If the pullets started laying before fully grown, the oviduct may be being stretched and torn by over-sized eggs. Secondary bacterial infections could account for the deaths. To be more certain about what is actually going on a post mortem on a few birds and bacterial culturing could provide a lot of answers
I don't know what fish or cod oil in their water would accomplish. A good source of oil soluble vitamins, but I don't believe a vitamin deficiency to be the problem there.
If i may be of further assistance, please let me know.
Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob and 2 other Bird Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 6 years ago.

If you should have further questions, I'll be happy to help you!

Thank you,

Dr. Bob