Rooster Porn And Reader Help

A friend – and more experienced chicken raiser than me – came over to check out the coop and the flock. She showed me how to inspect a chicken vent and we noticed that our only laying hen looked a little…uh…weird, down there.

Later that day I received the following email from her:

“So my evening consisted of taking the time to unwind and take in some pictures of chicken’s vents (aka rooster porn). Upon my rooster porn research, I believe your hen has a prolapsed vent.”

Prolapsed vent? Well, it’s always something, isn’t it?

So Saturday morning we brought our chicken inside for a little TLC. I caught her and wrapped her in a towel to bring her in.

Here you can see what her vent looked like. There is a small red bulge coming out of the vent and the area below the vent (above in the picture; the chicken is laying on her back in this photo) has some dried chicken poop caked around the feathers.

Once I laid her out on the counter by the sink she was very docile and didn’t struggle. I held her legs and she laid still for me through the procedure. Using warm water and cotton balls, I cleaned off as much poop as I could all around the vent.

I used a clean finger to gently push the prolapse back inside the vent. This was much less weird to do than it sounds. Once the prolapse was back inside the chicken, the vent – how do I say this? – kind of winked at me, like it was contracting to rearrange and pull stuff back inside. I took that as a good sign.

I believe this is a chicken’s: “What the hell are you doing back there?!” look.

After the prolaspe was back inside the chicken, I was comfortable working to pick the remaining poop off the chicken. I got her all cleaned up and rubbed a topical antibiotic ointment on her vent and surrounding skin.

The skin in the area above the vent seems pretty red and unhappy to me – further research has me concerned that she may have mites, which could be leading to the redness, the weird feather loss in that area, and the caking of poop (which would actually be mite eggs) at the base of the feathers around the vent.

After her clean-up, we released her to the chicken tractor for some solo pasture time with clean water while I did the research that led me to the mite theory.

For her sake, our chicken seemed completely non-plussed and happy.

I was hopeful that this would be the end of the prolapse, but several hours later this hen laid and her vent re-prolapsed. She is currently in isolation to stop the other chickens from pecking at her while I do additional research and figure out what I’m dealing with here.

So, my good chicken expert readers, please help! I need your opinions:

1) Have you ever dealt with a chicken vent prolapse? Did your chicken recover or did the prolapse recur? Tell me honestly – does the immediate recurrence of her prolapse indicate we should cull this chicken? She’s a good layer, so we would prefer to keep her laying if we can.

2) Is the redness and feather loss shown likely caused by chicken mites? How do I best determine if my chickens do have mites? If they do, what is my best course of action? I would assume all chickens and the coop would need to be treated. What is your recommended miticide? Is there any way I can stop this from happening in the future?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions you can offer.

Salad Days, Summer Style
Gardening Goals And Edible Expectations

Comments

  1. For mites and lice I always err towards less chemicals. I would try using diatomaceous earth but make sure it's food grade otherwise you might end up poisoning your chickens. On my FB friends list there's a woman named Lynda Hopkins. She's a chicken/goat/sheep/vegetable farmer and has experience with saving prolapsed hens. She's super friendly. Message her about it.

  2. to check for mites or lice I lift their wing and look at the base of the feathers…kind of in the armpit area and around the vent. You can see them crawling around and using DE is great in their dustbath area, but red mites live in the coop and you have to check them at night with a flashlight. If that is the case then a thorough cleaning of the coop is what you'd need to do. If you can't find any mites/lice then my guess for the redness around the vent is that the other hens may have been pecking at that area or maybe she was… good luck!

  3. i have always been able to cure the prolapsed vent issue with a concoction of witch hazel, honey, sugar, and triple antibiotic ointment. make a paste and smear it on the affected area. the w.h., sugar, and honey help to constrict the swollen area making it less likely to prolapse again. i wrote a post on it once http://ittybittyfarminthecity.blogspot.com/2010/04/catching-up-with-farm.html

  4. Prolapse tends to happen to the best layers rather than the worst ones…and as I understand it, there's a genetic tendency that can be exacerbated by circumstances.

    Those pics don't look good. Looks like there is a tear. That's pretty much a death sentence, even if you isolate her. She can't stop laying eggs, and every time an egg pushes through it's going to push that flesh back out.

    On to the grossness….
    If she's a standard sized bird, you want to push about a half a tube of Preparation H up as deep into her vent as you can get it. She needs to be in a small cage where she can't move about a lot, and she needs some sort of brace across her breast so she doesn't slide forward when you elevate the back of the cage…a rolled up hand towel should work. She needs to be in a quiet, fairly dark room. Keep her that way for at least twelve hours, then take her out for food and water for maybe half an hour….then repeat—if there is anything less than normal going on repeat the Preparation H treatment, too. Personally, I'd also load her up on children's echinacea and goldenseal tincture (a dropper full for a loading dose, half a dropper full 3x daily for at least five days). She'll need high protein feed and extra B vitamins and electrolytes in her water, just as you would for any other desperate injury.

    The outlook is not good…but one can try. :-/

  5. Update: I checked our hen all over for mites, under her tail and under her wings, and I didn't see anything but skin and fluffy feathers. I'm going to tentatively say she does not have a mite infestation, but will be checking the coop at night for signs of red mites.

  6. Tammie Haley says:

    I grew up on a small farm. We used to just cull the hens that had prolapse. We figured it was too costly to have the prolapse fixed and we were concerned about the health and well being of the animal in the long run. We were raising these animals for eggs as well as for food. We usually kept 20 chickens at a time. Maybe after all these years they have found an easier fix for the prolapse.
    I have worked with many types of small animals on the farm when growing up (can't now because I'm allergic to the animals). Prolapse is genetic and passed down 1/2 of the time to the females. It means that the muscles and the connective tissue doesn't have enough strength to hold everything into place. These animals usually produce large litters or large eggs. The topical treatments suggested will work as a quick fix, but must be done usually throughout the life of the animal. Sometimes the animal as it gets older will have less problems with the prolapse, but still carries the problem. The only way we were truely able to fix the problem was through surgery.

  7. I think a lot of people get in to raising chickens as a hobby, and then have to deal some unforeseen difficulty like a prolapsed vent. Gross. Who would ever see that coming? What’s just as bad is losing some of your birds to a predator. We had several hens get mangled by a dog. They were hurt bad enough that we had to put them down. These types of things are not pleasant to deal with by any means. Raising chickens is a very rewarding venture if you are ok with handling all of the things that comes with the territory…

    Chris

  8. I don’t know a whole lot about chickens, but if a prolapsed vent is caused by weak connective tissues and flesh, then that can be caused by a mineral deficiency. You might want to look for a feed with more minerals, or be sure to give your birds plenty of fresh greens and veggies to eat. (Maybe have some garden space just to grow fresh food for the girls?) Just a thought . . .

  9. Hi there,

    So just read the post and the thread. How did things work out for your chic? What did you learn about the mites? Just wondering!

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