Egg Peritonitis is when the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen) becomes inflamed due to an infection from bacteria. Peritonitis can occur after prolapse or when yolk goes into the abdominal cavity, instead of going down the oviduct and out in the normal way.
The yolk should go into the ‘ovarian pocket’ (the space surrounding the ovary). This often occurs after some viral diseases like Infective Bronchitis where the disease damages the reproductive tract. A ruptured intestine can also cause this problem.
Diagnosis and Treatment.
Sometimes a ‘Penguin Stance’ can indicate an egg bound hen or peritonitis but more often than not they don’t show this and may just be swollen around the abdomen and it is often hard to diagnose this problem whilst the bird is alive. The bird can have a blue comb, and diarrhoea but no book seems to believe these are conclusive and can also indicate many other problems. A post mortem on birds will show an inflamed abdomen and there will be a very putrid smell with yolk. Some birds have been treated with antibiotics and had the fluid drawn off but the chances of success are slim and you can often have a big bill at the end of this. It is usually better to have the bird put to sleep.
All a man made problem – It’s the trouble with how they’ve been bred into egg machines. If the already dodgy internals go wrong, the blockage is often quick & serious, as they have no recovery time before the next egg follows on. Okay, it’s a bit more complicated then that, but you get the picture.
Chris was saying the other day how all other birds lay seasonally (otherwise you’d forever see ducklings at a pond etc). Chickens have been manipulated to lay daily. That’s like running a car engine on the red-line…. all of the time.
Some battery farms artificially control the light so instead of a 24hr day, the hens have an 18hr day (e.g).
This year has been pretty crap for the girls. You get used to it because, well, it’s how they are. They are so characterful & individual though, it’s obvious when one goes.
Best we can do is give them a happy retirement!
Any day spent in freedom, is a better day for these girls.
She was healthy looking, but prone to quiet spells. She had stopped laying a while back – She was the oldest of the girls.
She was a bit quieter today, and retaining fluid (Chris put this down to egg peritonitis – very basically: not laying, but still producing the protein).
Chris took her to the vets to get her checked out & fluids drained.
X-Ray showed that our plump bird had a large mass in her.
As she was drained she passed away.
The vet offered to find out what it was, and Chris said that it would be fine – if she could watch.
The vet (Fred McKenzie) from Farnborough’s Pets at Home – Companion Care was very interested to find out, as they don’t often deal with chickens. Chris watched on, equally interested.
Sure Crispy was a pet – but Crispy the clucking, squawking hen had ceased to be a pet the moment she passed away, now Crispy the pet was a memory, and the vet could learn from her to potentially help others.
The vet was excellent. After dissecting her, he found that the large amount of protein due the peritonitis meant that a certain cellular disease had a wonderful playground. Excuse my language, but ‘fuck you, cancer‘.
He even phoned later, after Chris had returned home, to say he had looked further in to it. He talked with Chris and confirmed the previous discussed diagnosis, and the dissection, was confirmed by his post-op research.
Crispy – Ruler of the Garden
Once more, as with the others, she was happy right up until the end.
After Chicken 11 passed away I mention to a friend who was still undecided as to wether getting hens was a good idea, that if he really thought he had made the wrong choice, that we’d take on his three girls.
Much though he liked them, he decided that it wasn’t going to work for him, so today we added these ex-battery hens to our flock.
V8, Bunty and Chicken 22 (named in respect of Chicken 11) have settled right in and seem happy enough. They have met Mel, Ginger, Terri 2, Turbo & Crispy (albeit through mesh fence) and there seem to be no squabbles at all. A few raised voices, but no chest puffing and sizing up.