Sick chickens

Asked May 27, 2016, 10:34 AM EDT

I had a chicken become sick last month, she had an extremely swollen abdomain. She was a rhode island around 4 years old, she died after three weeks, she walked like a penguin. she still ate and drank to until two days before she died. Now I have another rhode Island whos is 3 years old and a leghorn who is 1 year old both doing the same thing, poop was normal now black and sticking to feathers. they are both eating but walk slower. so it must be contagious. They get scatch everyday and free range also. What can it be? I cant find anything on the symptoms. I started one on bytril shots she seems to walk a little better, she has had 4 injections, what else can I do? Medicated feed maybe? Please help, totally stressed. Thanks so much! Sandy

Weber County Utah poultry health backyard poultry

1 Response

The penguin pose is a result of internal laying of ova (yolks) into the body cavity. This is caused by erratic ovulation or by hens that are egg-bound forcing eggs back up the ovaduct. Your antibiotic treatment may help to keep peritonitis at bay but may not solve the ovulation issue. Be sure the hens are seeing the same duration of light per day (supplement if needed) and that they are on a balanced layer feed ration. Scratch grains (read the bag tag) normally does not have the calcium or trace minerals & vitamins needed for egg production. Consult a veterinarian in your area for a more conclusive diagnosis.