What I learned from treating ascites aka. water belly, swollen belly in my chicken
- Inspect your chickens at least twice a week. My girls appear to be very healthy, take themselves for walks around the yard, and no longer venture across the street to the neighbors. So I was feeding them and keeping their roost clean, but only occasionally picking them up to check them out. Thankfully I caught my first case of ascites early but now I’m on a checkup routine.
- A full watery belly= ascites A treatable, but apparently non-curable disease that stems from untreated bumblefoot Thank you Backyardchickens.com it’s an amazing community resource.
- Treatment starts with draining excess fluid. Get a syringe and DIY. I got my first syringes as Target and Walgreens but the best I found were at Tractor Supply. They have a plethora of syringes and needle gauges.
- After the first draining leave her be. If her belly is still swollen it may just be inflammation and you don’t want to exacerbate her uncomfortable situation.
- Get antibiotics STAT. Tylan seems to be the most reliable and recommended kind. You can get it at Tractor Supply. This page has a complete list of dosage.
- Check for bumblefoot and treat ASAP. Bumblefoot is a whole nother beast. I’ll post a separate post all about what I learned from treating that.
- Soak her in warm epsom salts before draining. It will calm her down. Wrap her in a towel to calm her and keep her from squirming. Hold her under your arm at an angle so the blood rushes to her head, it’s calming.
- Assemble a chicken first aid kit. I’ll post what I got but after treating these sicknesses I can’t believe I didn’t have one before!
I think that’s it! If you have any suggestions/questions/arguments please reach out. I’m always trying to improve my chicken care and only want the best for these ladies.
This link is a REALLY nasty case of ascites but helpful to learn from