I didn’t see it coming. One day, Katie the chicken was fine, and the next day she was walking around with a prolapsed vent. It was really hot, so I figured her drinking water had something to do with it. The funny thing was, she wasn’t really distressed. Being the natural mommy, I did not even have a tube of Preparation H on hand, and I really gave cause to the idea that it probably really isn’t all that healthy for a chicken. But, having a prolapsed vent could kill her, so I seriously considered it.
What is a prolapsed vent?
A prolapsed vent is when the egg-laying inside of the chicken, called an oviduct, literally turns inside out and protrudes from the chicken. It is a dangerous and moderately serious condition, which can kill her. It is caused by a variety of reasons, but frequently, it is because of a chicken’s inability to push out her egg, or being egg-bound. The hen pushes so hard, the vent pops out and it may take a manual push to get it to stay in her body, if it works.
The underlying causes of a prolapsed vent can range from a calcium deficiency, an infection, or dehydration in the chicken. It is not because of a lack of care, but some chickens are just more susceptible to the condition than others. I have 3 other hens who are older and have never had a prolapsed vent.
In our chicken…
As I said, it was extremely hot outside, and there was plenty of water, but for whatever reason, her vent popped out a bit one day. It had done this before, but always went back in on its own. Yet, the next morning, the whole vent popped out. It was then that I knew I was out of my league on this. All the essential oils, preparation H and other remedies I had read about did not seem to fit the situation, so I took her to the local country veterinarian. They admittedly did not know much about chickens…
So, they kept her overnight and consulted with one vet who knew about chickens, while they giggled a bit. While in the chicken hospital, they pushed the vent back in, and watched her until she laid her egg to make sure she wasn’t too egg-bound. We came to pick her up after two days, and her vent was still bulging. They did not give me much hope, but I have a special needs son who was bound up in anxiety over her condition, and I knew she had to survive. I just knew God wasn’t going to let me down.
So, we took her home and she was admitted into our home hospital, with her own towels, food and water. We even brought her in (in her cage, of course) for a little bit of air conditioning.
I gathered information and supplies.
Given our chicken was sick, I tried to collect remedies from what I had at home. I researched blogs like The Chicken Chick and Natural Chicken Keeping and then used my own experiences with my animals. (You can view photos of what a prolapsed vent is on those two blogs)
First, we gave her a bath. I found a bucket, filled it with warm water and added some lavender and tea tree oils. Both treat wounds, and I also wanted to treat any sort of infection she had. Plus, sorry to be graphic, but her poop was sticking to the vent and all of that needed to be cleaned off gently. Soaking was the only thing that seemed to clean it off. I did not want to do any further damage to her vent. (You can tell from the photo above with my son that she was quite content to be pampered a bit.)
Second, I washed her off with witch hazel and then added some tea tree oil directly to her vent. I used plastic gloves to push the vent back in, but it really did not want to stay in very long.
Third, I repeated this regimen for about two days, but it just did not seem to be working that well. The vent insisted on popping out and I promised my son she would live. But, just as I was on the edge of running in to the store to pick up Preparation H, I remembered how I had used calendula on my goat when he broke his horn (another story). I thought, well, it was worth a try. So, instead of putting on witch hazel and tea tree, I took a bottle of calendula tincture and just squirted it all over her protruding vent.
I did this for two more days.
The second day the vent was more inside, and then the third day when we woke up, her vent was magically inside.
She is now back in charge of her roost! And really, thinks she owns the place. She is pecking on my back door, roosting on my porch rails and getting poop all over my porch! But, she is a happy chicken, and so is her boy.
Have any more ideas that you have tried on your chickens? Let me know!