What I learned from treating ascites aka. water belly, swollen belly in my chicken

Author: hens101

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

This thread was also really helpful

Another great first aid kit list

Author: hens101

You may also like...