Today’s emergency call was a hen with white, watery liquid in her fluff and some odd stuff happening in and around the vent.
The owner did a fabulous job of documenting the case in his initial email query to me: the other birds, symptoms, behavior changes, description of eggs. He even included pictures! My best guess without seeing her was uterine prolapse.
I asked the owner to isolate her from the flock to prevent spread of contagions and also keep the other hens from picking at any odd things at her back end (yes, chickens do this!).
The owner did exactly as instructed, and I found the hen resting comfortably in a wire cage under the porch. Her crop was full, which I was pleased to find!
Getting down to business involved gently removing the white urates on her vent and fluff. When they were cleared away, I found a tiny piece of eggshell and part of an egg membrane protruding from the cloaca. This was the major key to the solution. The hen had a soft-shelled egg broken inside of her.
She fretted a bit when I gently pulled on the membrane, but it stimulated her to bear down, and the piece of shell membrane came out. I was hoping it would bring the rest of the egg with it, but no such luck.
I was about to attempt a warm water bath when I discovered that I could stimulate her to bear down, and she passed the rest of the egg! Besides, the hen did not really want to sit in a pan of warm water and kept perching on the side of the tub!
I cleaned her up a bit more, swabbed the area with alcohol, and by now the uterine tissues had receded inside the cloaca. We put some warm honey (anti-biotic/anti-inflammatory) mixed with KY Jelly in and on her vent.
Home care suggestions include oyster shell, liquid calcium in the bird’s water, honey treatment for a few days or if red tissues appear again, and observation and isolation until better. I also told the owners to keep an eye on egg production, watch the poop for both light and dark waste, and look for the birdie “I’m not feeling well!” symptoms:
- eyes partly closed
- not eating (empty crop)
- lack of vocalization.
Egg issues can be a little dicey, but here’s to a full and complete recovery for Maisie the chicken!