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Poorly Hen - Please help!

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Our much loved bluebell hen Bella is looking very lethargic, isn't moving around much at all and keeps straining as if she wants to poop. When she does poop it is very watery and with very bright yellow (not a mustard yellow as I've seen described/photos of when I was searching the info for information!) colouring (sorry if that's too much information!).

Bella is about 4 years old and hasn't been laying for months now - which I took to be normal for her age! I am a novice chicken owner and I can't work out what could be wrong (although I have scoured the internet!).

She doesn't appear to have anything in her crop, and her eyes are bright and normal. I wondered if she could be egg bound but she hasn't been anywhere near the nesting box.

I would take her to the vets but tomorrow is Sunday and they won't be open.

Last month we were really sad to lose one of our other hens, but she had none of the symptoms that Bella is displaying; however I would be devastated to lose Bella too!

Please help, I would be so grateful!


Thank you,


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I'm sorry to hear about poor Bella. I'm no expert but from your description we've had the same thing with a couple of our girls before and it could be peritonitis. Does her back end and under belly feel like a water balloon, sort of extended and squishy? You will need to take her to see a chicken savvy vet but if it is peritonitis it's not usually a good outcome I'm afraid. Their eggs are laid internally, hence no eggs for a few months and it can get very uncomfortable for them, if you google it or do a search on the forum you can find out more. I've heard people having the fluid drained off but it usually comes back.


I hope she will be okay but let us know how you get on.

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I'm afraid I could do with some more advice!

Bella seems to have improved considerably since two days ago. She no longer looks at all ill and is back to her normal activities with her pal Ruby. She still looks a little bit like she is straining to poop, but nothing like she was previously and there has been no evidence of watery poop in the pen (although it is still runny it looks nowhere near as dodgy as before!). I have cancelled today's trip to the vets because the vet has little experience with hens so wouldn't be able to tell me much; I thought to observe Bella for the next couple of days to see how we go and then take her to the vets if she looks ill again.


Does anyone have any idea whether peritonitis could still be the problem or could it be something else?


Many thanks!

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