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We have a Brown Leghorn that is waddling due to an extremely large stomach.  She has been like this now for 5 days.  It seemed to happen overnight.  She still moves around and is breathing normal and eating normal.  She isn't laying.  I've looked up information on the internet of how to help her, but nothing is working.  I've already given her warm baths, kept her in the garage for a few days with warm towels.  I've even used a glove and investigated inside to see if an egg was trapped, but did not feel anything.  I think she may be having her eggs go to her stomach and that is why she is bloated.  My son is extremely upset and I just was wondering if anyone has any suggestions or offers to help.  Thank you.

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Contact "the Chicken Doctor" Peter Brown at First State Vet supply. he isn't a vet, but has been in the vetenary supply business for nearly 30 years and keeps livestock himself. because he isn't a licensced vet, he is able to give advice to you via email or over the phone without requiring an exam (like a vet would.) The truth is, most vets don't know anything about chickens anyway.

She may have an egg that broke inside her...there are things you can try to extract it, but she will die from infection if it isn't treated with antibiotics, and she might die anyway.

Act fast. Make contact with Peter today. Tell him that you need help knowing what to order for your chicken, and if you make a purchase after his consultation with you, he usually waives the $25 fee. Either way, its cheaper then the vet. Also, you can call around to feed stores to find injectable penicillin or Tylan 50 (preferable, but harder to find) you will want to try to give her an injection asap. C&H Haybarn had Penicillin and syringes.

Thank you for your response...One other question, is the injection with penicillin or Tylan 50 to treat the possibility of infection or will it actually get rid of the eggs that are maybe broken inside her?

It will just treat any infection. it won't deal with any egg broken in her abdomen. This is a complex and difficult problem to treat, and I can't stress enough the need to move very swiftly.

This happened to my neighbor's chicken.  Rachel Bess suggested it might be ascites (sp?)-fluid in the abdominal cavity.  I'll let you look it up as I don't remember what the ascites indicates.  I think once the fluid has been drained the chicken should be given Milk Thistle (?) or some kind of herbal supplement in order to minimize fluid build-up.  

Thank you...I just went and picked up some penicillin.  I hope it helps.  Does anyone know the correct method to drain the chickens abdomen if she isn't responding to 4 days of of the penicillin treatment?

I want to say it is liver related and possibly heart failure or if the fluid buid up continues, it produces heart failure.  Can't remember.  I do remember that the Milk Thistle (?) keeps the fluid build up at bay and must be given daily once the fluid is drained from the abdominal cavity.

This is where Peter Brown's expertise would really come in handy.

BTW, I would give her a sub-cutanious injection not one in the breast muscle. Its easier. Just lift the skin on the back of her neck and insert the needle just under the skin and give the injection.

I attempted to contact Peter Brown this morning, but no one answered the #.  I sent an e-mail as well. I did inject the penicillin in the back of the neck as my feed store recommended that.  The chicken still seems the same throughout the day.  Eats and drinks and walks some.  Most of the day however, she rests in the shade and doesn't get up.  She seems completely alert and normal other than the bloated stomach.  Where do you purchase milk thistle?

I recommend doing some research on this first as her condition will not improve if shots and milk thistle are given.  The fluid in her belly must be drained, first.  Milk Thistle does not serve as a cure.  It is intended to help her liver (?) and lessen the amount of fluid build up but it does not stop the build up of fluid.  Milk Thistle is available at natural health food stores/vitamin stores and is given orally.  I think the Backyard Chicken Forum has the dosage. 

I would take her to someone that can drain the fluid first... 

Hi folks.

Not sure if we can help. Sounded at first like impacted crop, but given the list of local chicken gurus you have contacted, I'd be a bit surprised if that hadn't come up by now. If it is fluid in her stomach she's most likely has peritonitis from a broken egg or being egg bound.  The fluid must be drained but must be done so carefully because too much fluid loss can cause hypovolemic shock and a most certain death. It can be done with a syringe and an 18g needle.  The needle is inserted in the abdomen (just enough to perforate the skin).  Then gently pull the plunger of the syringe back.  You should get a yellowish to clear fluid.  Don't remove more than 60ml at a time (it may take a couple days to completely remove the fluid and there is no guarantee this will fix the problem).  Keep on with the antibiotics. 

You can try a saline enema in her cloaca to remove any broken egg bits but be gentle in case of a perforation in her oviduct.

Feel free to call my husband Dave for more info... 757.871.1880

He has had one success and one failure doing's always a crap shoot. 

Sorry to hear your girl is suffering and I wish you all the best.

I'm sorry you guys are going through this. Can you post a picture? Maybe one picture of her in profile and a good one of her head as well. When you say large stomach, do you mean crop (like she has a water balloon implanted to the front of her chest?) or her "belly" down by her legs and near the vent? If you gently push on the swollen area, is it hard or semi-squishy?

Dr. McEachern at 83rd ave & lower buckeye (Sundance Animal Hospital) has lots of bird & chicken experience. 623-478-9295 but I'm sure she'd want to take a look at her first.


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