Chick with distended butt

by Joan
(Washington)

Question
Chick with distended butt: I have a chick that is not thriving. She's much smaller than her mates and not as active.

She is about 3 weeks old so I know she has been eating and drinking...but not much these days. Under her vent she is somewhat distended.

When I feel it, it feels like a somewhat hollow sack with air, kind of like a bubble from bubble wrap that has lost some air. Any ideas what ails her and what I can do for her?

Answer
She may be having digestive problems. If it feels like air, it could be. I would suggest a pinch of baking soda in a tsp of water.

Give it to her in a dropper, or similar. This may help if it’s gas. Intestinal gas is caused by undigested food passing through the body.

Digestive enzymes and probiotics may help, if it’s not too late. Enzymes are present in raw apple cider vinegar which can be given 1 tbsp per cu of water to chicks.

Fresh fruits like apple and grapes are rich in digestive enzymes. Live culture yogurt could be fed mixed with warm water, just a tsp per chick for a few days, or probiotic paste can be purchased at most feed stores.

Make sure she is passing droppings. Chicks can get constipated from indigestion or have diarrhea. Either is life threatening.

If constipated a few drops of fresh vegetable oil of some kind may help. Make sure the oil isn’t rancid.

Some times chicks get a build up of droppings around the vent and vent feathers, which can prevent them from passing droppings. Making sure her vent area stays clean is important.

I hope this helps.


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Vent Lump Potruding

by Sallyann

Question:
Vent Lump protruding: I have a chicken with a red swollen lump protruding out of the vent. She is still eating and drinking.

Seems to have loose watery bowel motions and she is straining all the while. She is not moving around much either.

I have bathed her and she seems to be straining a little less but there does seem to be a mucus liquid coming out of the vent.

Answer:
Sorry your girl is not well. This sounds like a partial prolapse of her oviduct. When there’s swelling on the outside, there may also be swelling on the inside.

An over the counter aid that might help would be human hemorrhoid cream. It should be applied just inside the vent and to the red swollen area outside. The medication can ease discomfort and reduce swelling.

Often, by the time a chicken is acting sick, the problem has been going on for a few days. Chickens try to hide symptoms until they’re very weak.

There may be little time to act and save her, if it is possible. You can check if there is an egg just inside her vent.

You could wear a latex glove and use the hemorrhoid cream as a lubricant. This exam may release backed up droppings and give her some relief.

You would be able to feel if there is an egg just inside. Depending on the amount of swelling and the size of the egg, you may be able to apply more lubricant inside the vent and loosen it.

There is a risk of breaking the egg, but is sometimes the only way to remove it. If the egg breaks try to remove all the shell.

This condition can have a number of causes. She may have produced an egg too large for her to lay and in the process of trying, some of her internal parts have been injured and pushed out.

In older hens it may be a sign that her body is wearing out. This is common in production breeds that have been designed to lay continuously through the year.

If you can, taking her to a vet might give you a few more treatment options, but often this is a sign of “old age” and isn’t reversible.

Checking for an egg blocking her and treating with the hemorrhoid cream is what I would do if I found one of my girls with this problem.

If you’re unable to find and remove a blockage, the swelling doesn’t reduce, her appetite is poor and she continues to be inactive, it may be best to let her go and not prolong suffering.

Production breed hens are often layed out and suffer major health problems after they are 2 years old.

The swelling can cause multiple eggs to back up inside her and cause droppings to back up as well.

Both of these are life threatening. With a blocked vent some liquid may be passing, but toxins can be building inside her.

The straining you’ve observed may just be her bodies reaction to the pressure from swelling and possibly solid droppings or eggs that can’t pass.

Hope this helps. From what you describe, I have seen this before.

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How long should it take to cure vent gleet?

by Alyssa
(Rockland County NY)

Question
How long should it take to cure vent gleet? My RIR Carmela, (a rescue I got 7/3/10 -no idea how old she is but she is still laying regularly) has had this problem for going on three weeks.

I have been treating her with Nystatin 3ccs orally twice daily, gently bathing her vent every night to keep feathers clean( warm water only; the vet prescribed shampoo seemed to irritate her), spraying her with otc fungicides( for human athlete's foot)and yet she seems only very, very slightly better.

I have been feeding her scramble egg with milk and a little olive oil, probiotic enhanced baby oatmeal, Greek yogurt and baby food beef and broth (anything to get that medicine in her...

I have her in a huge dog cage in my basement and let her out today to get some fresh air, forage a bit and socialize with my other chicken so that they would maintain the pecking the order they established, and all was great for about an hour.

Suddenly the other one, Gloria began pecking at Carmela's vent, drawing blood! I am so discouraged. She is perfectly fine in every other way.

HOW LONG can this go on? Is there something else I can do? Thank you so much for your help.

Answer
Vent Gleet can go through your whole flock. The other hens should be treated with Quickgel. Unfortunately, it can be a long process to handle.

Most people cull the hen if the problem isn’t cleared up within four days. It will take time and patience to get Carmela back in ship shape condition.

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