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"Prolapsed Oviduct", "Prolapsed Vent" or "Blowout"

This is a frequent question asked on the Poultry Help Line Message Board


QUESTION: 

I have a little black bantam hen in a big cage in the house. She lays one egg a day and is very active.  So today I reached in to get the egg she just laid within the past hour and noticed her rear end appeared to be stopped up with "poop". The rear appeared to be "inside out" and dark red. More whitish poop was on her feathers around her rear. I got some rubber gloves and cleared the stuff out gently. Wiped off what I could. She did not appear to mind my intervention or be in pain.  Is this normal to happen occasionally? Is it a "food" or "water" problem perhaps?  All ideas appreciated!

ANSWER:

It does happen occasionally.  It's called "prolapsed vent", "prolapse" or "blowout".   It happens when a hen lays an egg a bit bigger than normal and her vent (cloaca) turns partially inside out. Separate her from the others.  They will be tempted to peck at the prolapse and kill her.  Clean it as best you can with water and a clean paper towel. Then gently push back in anything that has come out and apply a bit of Preparation H to the inflamed area. It's kinda like a hemorrhoid. 

You might also give her soluble antibiotics in her drinking water for about 4-5 days to guard against infection.

The following is from "The Chicken Health Handbook" by Gail Damerow ISBN: 0-88266-611-8.  This book is highly recommended and available at a 30% discount from our Poultry Bookstore.

"Prolapsed Oviduct, also called "blowout" or "pickout" is a condition in which the lower part of the hen's oviduct turns inside out and protrudes through the vent.  Prolapse occurs most often when a hen starts laying at too young an age, is too fat, or lays unusually large eggs.  Caught in time, the prolapse can sometimes be reversed by applying a hemorrhoidal cream (such as Preparation H) and isolating the hen until she approves.  Otherwise, the other chickens will pick at her vent, eventually pulling out her oviduct and intestines and causing the hen to die from hemorrhage and shock.  Not all vent picking is due to prolapse, but instead may result from faulty management - feeders, waterers and roosts may be positioned in such a way that birds below can pick on the vents of birds above."

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