Blood and liquid coming from vent

by Emma
(Nuneaton, UK)

Question

Blood and liquid coming from vent: I have an established layer who I noticed had a very bloody vent yesterday late afternoon (fresh blood) we immediately isolated her indoors.

She was eating and drinking last night. No other signs of ill health. We washed the area and left her overnight.

This morning I haven't noticed her eating or drinking. She has a clear white liquid dripping from her vent but no more blood.

I have washed the area again. Not sure what the problem is.

I don't think she's egg bound because she laid a normal egg yesterday (although it does have blood on it) there's no sign of anything sticking out, so I don't think it's a prolapse.

Her vent does look dirty on the inside & it's smelly it's also contracting in out. Does anyone have any advice?

Answer
There could be a couple of things going on here. Passing an egg yesterday is good but she may still be egg bound.

Blood would most likely be from laying difficulties. If this was an intestinal disorder, there would probably be blood mixed into her droppings.

The contractions of her vent area would suggest the possibility that she still has an egg she wants to lay.

If she is experiencing difficulty in getting eggs through her oviduct, she may have eggs backing up in her.

In the process of laying there is a flap that shuts to prevent feces passing with an egg. If an egg is stuck, her digestive tract may be backed up.

The liquid feces may be all that can get through. The smell may be from the feces building inside her.

To get her laying and passing feces is vital for her survival. I would suggest filling a large tub or sink with very warm water (her normal body temp is about 107 F, so it needs to feel very warm to her), deep enough to soak her from breast to vent.

Let her stand in the warm water for about 10-15 minutes. This should have a relaxing effect on her muscles and prevent prolapse. You may need to squirt some sterile lubricant into her vent to help pass the egg(s).

Be warned that once the egg(s) pass there may be a small explosion of backed up feces, so be prepared. She may pass the egg(s) and stool into the warm water.

Gently dry her and keep her warm and calm as possible. Generally a hen in this state knows she is in distress and appreciates the help.

It’s important to be careful handling her as you don’t want to break any egg shells inside her. She may have some with shells and some with little or no shell.

Her loss of appetite would indicate that her digestive system is backed up. I would offer her fresh fruits and greens and soaked feed.

Giving her a probiotic or live culture yogurt can help restore normal digestion. A teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar in a cup of her water for a few days may help, too.

This is a life threatening situation, as you can imagine. The cause of this may be mineral deficiencies which can cause egg shells to form with a rough surface and not pass easily.

This could explain the blood. Sometimes an egg can go in reverse back up the oviduct and have albumin and another shell coating.

This is highly unusual, but does happen and can produce an egg too large to pass easily. The most common causes are mineral deficiencies, not just calcium.

If unable to get egg(s) to pass and she still has no appetite you will need the assistance of a veterinarian experienced with chickens.

I would keep her in near darkness, just enough light to find her feed and water. This will discourage production of any more eggs, while you get this sorted out.

I hope this helps and she is OK.

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