Those of you who follow me on Facebook already heard the meatiest part of this story, but I thought it might be helpful if I filled in some details for anyone who might be in a similar situation.
A few weeks back I noticed a chicken ranging around the yard with a bloody, stringy, poopy, slimy and feathery looking mass hanging from her rear end. Eewww.
I quickly trapped her in the rarely-used dog kennel, to try to keep the others from pecking at her while I ran into the house to Google the solution.
Google agreed with my initial suspicion that she had been egg bound, and had broken an egg inside her. She had also prolapsed her vent. The good news is that it didn’t seem to be slowing her down or making her feel bad at all. In fact before I got back out to her, she had already escaped from the kennel and was foraging with the rest of the girls.
Why Oh Why do I not have rubber gloves on this farm?
I caught her and brought her into the mud room so I could take care of her as well as possible. I started by using a paper towel to gently pull the gooey mass from her vent. This task was mercifully easy. Thankfully, the egg seemed to be soft shelled, I found NO hard shell pieces, which could have cut her, resulting in infection. There was blood, however, so I proceeded as if I knew she had lacerations.
Next I used the sprayer on the utility sink to clean her up as well as she would allow. I got another paper towel, smeared it with antibiotic ointment, and used it to gently push her vent back in as well as I could. She didn’t like it. I didn’t like it. But we got it done. The vent still looked slightly “inside out”, but I was worried I’d do more damage than good if I kept harassing her.
My husband’s buddies had a good laugh at me at this point, not that any of them would/could help a girl out in such a situation.
I kept her in the mud room over night, inside an overturned and weighed down laundry basket. Why Oh Why did I not think of using a pet porter, or one of our empty rabbit cages? I covered her makeshift home in a blanket to keep the light out and break her laying cycle. I did not want her trying to form a new egg until her vent had a chance to recover.
I gave her plenty of water with Essential Oil of Oregano, which has antibiotic properties, and watered-down, plain yogurt to eat. *
The next day she got lovely morning and afternoon sitz baths with warm water and Lavender oil. You’d be surprised how much a chicken can enjoy a bath. She didn’t even fight too much about being toweled off.
By evening her vent looked back to normal and she was looking eager to get out, so I decided to let her out a little before dark. I watched her closely for a few days, and as an added measure I put Oregano Oil to the water in the coop. She has had no further problems that I’ve noticed.
*There is a lot of conflicting information regarding the use of essential oils to treat chickens. I am not a vet, and nothing in this post is intended as medical advice. You should do lots of research before you decide how to treat your flock.
Have you had any experiences with prolapse or egg binding? Did your hen recover?