Monday, July 19, 2010

The hard stuff

A few days ago Big Dog's chicken Odile laid a giant egg. It was easily twice the size of a normal egg. More like a goose egg than chicken egg. At the time it was fascinating. It was even kind of funny. Unfortunately laying this giant egg may have actually injured her. She's continued to lay every day, but today I noticed she looked odd from behind. In other words, she has a prolapsed vent. Not good.
I consulted my online resources and it seems it can easily go either way. If you treat it, it can heal. Or it may not. Some people recommend treating it, some say don't bother. Some chickens recover, some don't. Not a lot of reassurance out there. But I'm trying to treat it, which oddly involves either honey, sugar or Preparation H. Doing the best I can and hoping for the best. I'm also preparing for the worst. And by that, I mean I had a serious talk with Big Dog about the real possibility that Odile may not get better. He was a trooper. He cried a bit, but we talked about what would happen if she did die. I told him we'd get another chicken for him. Another hen, not a baby chick because they need to be raised with other chicks. A grown hen would be easier to integrate with the flock, even if it was less cute than the fluffy baby chicks we got last time. Big Dog agreed it would be best because the other hens might pick on a fluffy little baby. He also told me he'd name it Odile. I guess that's ok. I'm certainly not going to argue with his potential grief. I also told him I'd do what I could and that it was possible she'd recover, I just couldn't promise anything and I didn't want to keep anything from him.
The talk went better than expected. Although he was sad, he seemed to brace himself for the worst while still hoping it would turn out ok. And I certainly hope it will.

P.S. We do have her isolated from the other hens. She spent last night in a small dog crate and the day in the enclosed run and coop. The other hens were in the outer yard locked away so they can't get at her. I've cleaned the inflamed area with a sterile wound wash, slathered it with Preparation H and antibiotic ointment. I've tried to re-insert it (ick) but it pops back out as soon as I set her down (double ick). I've ready just about every website, article and discussion board about this. I'm hoping for the best and really doing everything I can, no matter how crazy or disgusting it sounds. I'm also bracing myself should it come to the worst outcome. At this point I think I'm having a harder time accepting this than Big Dog is. I guess that's one of the advantages of youth, you don't feel the ultimate responsibility for the happiness and well being of others.


~lifedramatic~ said...

Oh dear this sounds so sad. I looked up a bit too... did you separate her from the others? This is the little tidbit I found... "It does happen occasionally. It's called "prolapsed vent", "prolapse" or "blowout". It happens when a hen lays an egg a bit bigger than normal and her vent (cloaca) turns partially inside out. Separate her from the others. They will be tempted to peck at the prolapse and kill her. Clean it as best you can with water and a clean paper towel. Then gently push back in anything that has come out and apply a bit of Preparation H to the inflamed area. It's kinda like a hemorrhoid.

You might also give her soluble antibiotics in her drinking water for about 4-5 days to guard against infection.

The following is from "The Chicken Health Handbook" by Gail Damerow ISBN: 0-88266-611-8. This book is highly recommended and available at a 30% discount from our Poultry Bookstore.

"Prolapsed Oviduct, also called "blowout" or "pickout" is a condition in which the lower part of the hen's oviduct turns inside out and protrudes through the vent. Prolapse occurs most often when a hen starts laying at too young an age, is too fat, or lays unusually large eggs. Caught in time, the prolapse can sometimes be reversed by applying a hemorrhoidal cream (such as Preparation H) and isolating the hen until she approves. Otherwise, the other chickens will pick at her vent, eventually pulling out her oviduct and intestines and causing the hen to die from hemorrhage and shock. Not all vent picking is due to prolapse, but instead may result from faulty management - feeders, waterers and roosts may be positioned in such a way that birds below can pick on the vents of birds above."


Good luck to you!!!


~lifedramatic~ said...

So sad! Hugs and strength to you to keep on keeping on. I love your last sentence in the P.S. - Completely sums up why most of us would like to be children again... ahhhh. XOXOXO!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...