Brown Egg Blue Egg
Penny's Surgery
From the EMERGENCIES! forum at EZboard Backyard Chickens
by Diana Hedrick
January 2007

This is an excellent example of caring for a bird. Caring is not knowing the answers; it is watching your birds, knowing when something is wrong, and asking questions until the problem is solved.
(It also helps to be lucky enough to get the right answers in time.)
Here are several other articles about weird eggs. If your bird has laid one, it might be an isolated case or a sign of big trouble. For your bird's sake take the time to read these and understand.
Christmas Alien Egg
Internal and False Layer
Penny's Surgery
Weird Eggs
Weird Eggs - Peter Brown

Hey everyone. My hen, Penny, the one I've had repeated problems with, has a veryyy swollen abdomen and it's rock hard. She's breathing kind of hard and maybe has bumble foot again. She's been FINE lately!!! What should we do?! We've given her homeopathics, calcium, yogurt, and antibiotics. Shes gained back all the weight she lost the last time she had bumblefoot.
We checked her for an egg and mom didn't feel anything. We set her in a warm bath, but she didnt seem to like it. LOTS of lice came off of her and were floating around, dead. She still had more that were up on her back that was dry. Any ideas???

From dlhuni
How is she now? If she is seeming to get worse and still shows no respiratory signs it might be indicative of some reproductive disorder (or something else entirely). Any new symptoms? How is her poo (and has she been eating/drinking)?

Update On Penny

Thanks for responding so fast! She pooped some very weird "poop". Heres some pics. The yellow blobs are soft and rubbery. Very very weird.

Her abdomen is still swollen; rockhard still too. Nothing really has changed since last night except shes walking faster, but she looks like shes iceskating. She doesnt seem to be breathing as hard either.

Whenever she stands, occasionaly she'll lift up her left leg and curl up her foot. I'm guessing her foot hurts. We had her in a box with a heating pad to keep her warm after we gave her a bath since we thought she was eggbound? Thanks so much!!!!


From Edit
Could this be eggyolk peritonitis? If so, what do we do?
From dlhuni

Here are relevant sections out of an earlier thread which I think applicable to your bird.

Penguin Stance/Reproductive Disorder Thread
From McM
I am refering to the penguin posture and mannerisms. Then reading on I am curious about the strange egg-type material that these hens are laying. It all seems to fit in with our situation. I believe our hen must have an impacted oviduct.

From dlhuni
Sounds to me like the following

From the ,a href="">Merck Vet Manual - Defective or Abnormal Eggs
"Small eggs with no yolk form around a nidus of material in the magnum of the oviduct."

And then I wonder about the following

From the Merck Vet Manual - False Layer

"These hens ovulate normally, but the yolk is dropped into the abdominal cavity rather than being collected by the oviduct because of obstruction of the oviduct after infection with Escherichia coli , Mycoplasma gallisepticum , or infectious bronchitis at an early age. The yolk is absorbed from the abdominal cavity. The hen looks like a normal layer but does not produce eggs.

From the Merck Vet Manual - Internal Layer
"In these hens, partially or fully formed eggs are found in the abdominal cavity. Such eggs reach the cavity by reverse peristalsis of the oviduct. If they have no shell, they are often misshapen due to partial or complete absorption of the contents. Frequently, only empty shell membranes are present. No control or treatment is known. This condition is related to erratic ovulation and defective."

Update On Penny

Thanks. It is possible she is an internal layer. I am leaning towards some type of tumors/growths. Her abdomen is hard as a rock, and she is really declining today. I was almost encouraged this morning because her comb was returning to a brighter red. It had become a very light pink, not at all healthy looking. It is so sad, we have been through a lot with Lily. She had a broken leg two years ago and we nursed her back to health. She's always been our favorite, such a personality! It's awful to see her deteriorating so.


From SU
My late hen had lost a LOT of weight and hardly drank anything the last week of her illness. Two days before she passed away it turned cold so I brought her in. I think lack of eating/drinking actually killed her because she had the penquin stance for over a month but was eating. She laid the wierd rubbery blob w/ what looked like cooked egg WEEKS before she died. Her blob was about 3 inches long by 2 inches wide.
From dlhuni
Here are good descriptive articles on egg peritonitis and ascites.

Egg Peritonitis
The ovum is normally shed directly into the funnel-shaped opening of the oviduct which surrounds part of the ovary. Sometimes, however, the ova fall into the body cavity, from which there is no escape and no possibility of re-entering the oviduct.

This may be due to two eggs entering the duct almost simultaneously resulting in one being returned and dropped into the abdominal cavity. At other times, spasm or obstructions of the oviduct may result in a partly formed egg being propelled back up the oviduct and into the body cavity.

The displaced yolk or egg acts like a foreign body and irritates the peritoneal lining of the body cavity, eventually causing peritonitis. The egg yolk, made up of a high proportion of protein, is slowly absorbed by the peritoneum. Once in the bloodstream this unaccustomed substance seems to produce a type of allergic reaction as it is now regarded by the body as a foreign protein.

This is manifested by outward signs of illness, including depression. An outflow of inflammatory fluid or peritoneal exudate results in the abdominal cavity being filled with discoloured stringy exudate and remains of unabsorbed yolk material. The peritonitis may cause distension of the abdomen and result in respiratory distress.

The peritoneal exudate is usually sterile, but if the yolk material becomes infected by bacteria such as Escherichia coli, the bird dies rapidly. The peritoneal fluid may be yellow, cloudy grey, greenish, reddish-brown or black, according to the length of time that the peritonitis has been present.

In egg peritonitis gut action may be initially speeded up, causing diarrhoea, but later inactivity on the part of the gut produces little or no faecal droppings. In non-infected cases a bird with peritonitis can live days or even weeks in indifferent health, gradually losing weight, until eventually death occurs.

In severe cases of abdominal distension caused by yolk material and exudates, rupture of the abdominal wall may occur. In such cases diagnosis can be difficult unless a small sample of abdominal contents can be obtained by puncturing or opening the abdomen in the midline.

It is sometimes possible for a veterinarian to operate, flush and pick out all abnormal fluid and solid material, lubricate the abdominal organs with an antibiotic or saline solution and then suture the abdominal wall.

Recurrence, however, may occur. If the bird is valuable and a non-breeder or pet, the oviduct and ovary can be surgically removed. Even in the most skilled veterinary hands the recovery rate is poor. The alternative, however, is euthanasia or a slow death.
Ascites also accompanies reproductive disorders:

Ascites is not a disease, it is a condition in which excess amount of ascitic fluids (a combination of lymph and blood plasma which has leaked from the liver) accumulate in the body cavity. In broiler chickens, the condition often leads to death. The ascites syndrome is associated with abnormally high blood pressure between the heart and lungs (pulmonary hypertension) leading to right heart failure, increased blood pressure in the veins, and excessive buildup of fluid in the liver (passive liver congestion) which leaks into the body cavity.
Update On Penny

She was breathing easier this morning and walking around with her tail up until she ate breakfast. After that she just sat on "her" chair in the kitchen by the stove. She hasn't had any more of those rubbery droppings since this morning.

Tonight she is breathing a little harder than she was this afternoon. She hasn't drank much water. Wasn't very interested in her supper but ate a little oatmeal w/yogurt and my daughter gave her little pieces of apple. Still looks like she's ice skating when she walks althought tonight her tail is down. She is very alert. Her comb is a good red color like it should be. She is just very bloated.

We searched for avian vets in our state and found one about 75 miles from us. He's the only board certified avian vet in Illinois. I'm going to call tomorrow to check if he will see a chicken. She really needs that fluid drained!

Penny is my daughter's favorite girl! My daughter is even willing to spend her egg money on Penny's vet bill. Since she was in the house so long with bumblefoot this fall, she behaves pretty well. I know she's not feeling too great though since she is just sitting all day and not trying to get over the baby gate to investigate the rest of the house like she was in October.

Thanks for all the help and encouragement. I don't know what we would do without you guys!!!


From Judy
Sending lots of good wishes.

The sadly now late hen Betty had incidences of laying these yellow blobs.

For a while antibiotics and antiinflammatories brought her back to a reasonable state of wellness. But then when the vets office did not return calls after an antibiotic course ended just as she was beginning to feel well (I believed she needed to stay on longer but needed a prescription from them to get more),

Time passed and then finally when I found a vet who would help she was treated with what I believe was an ineffective antibiotic (terramycin as recommended by the U of PA) she got weaker and died the day after a hysterectomy.

She was sadly all alone in the hospital (even though I had asked that her best friend BJ roo be allowed to be with her, or at least me - denied, in both cases).

The vet said she had decomposing egg parts inside of her and that the infection was profound.

The yellow blobs are consistent with oviduct infection, I am told. I am hoping that with the right treatment early enough you will have a much better outcome. I am writing because I know those yellow blobs all too well and only wish Betty had been on the right treatment protocol.

I don't want the same thing to happen to any other sweet hens. She suffered too much and might have been spared this with the right treatment.

Best, JJ

The things we do for our chickens!

Well, We just got back, and they decided to do the surgery TODAY at 2:30. For sure she has egg paratinoitis. The vet did a X-ray and saw she is FULL of fluid, and a sonogram showed "eggs" (?) which were making it hard for her to breathe because it was pushing her organs. So then, they're doing a hysterectomy on her right now. (now its 2:30.) Her chances of surviving all of this are 50/50.

You can see above what was found to be the source of those yellowish "blobs" seen in the photos above which are oftentimes mistaken for "rubber eggs" or "tumors".

Source of Yellowish "Blobs"

SHE MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So the vet just called, and actually mom is talking to him.

He called when my mom went to pick up my brother from school, (Remember I was "sick" today lol.) And he called while she was gone, and he gave me every single detail! One thing though, he nicked one of her ureters... the thing that helps her pee I guess.

Her oviduct weighed almost TWO POUNDS!! He said it was just enormous and he couldnt believe it. And after he got it out she was breathing much easier.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!

I brought Penny home last night. I went and got her by myself since my daughter couldn't play hookey from school for two days.... She slept most of the way home in the truck.

Her incision looks to be about 6 inches long with about 6 or 7 big sutures. She seems to be feeling better but we are still concerned about her kidneys. When the vet was removing her oviduct he accidently nicked her ureter. He said it was beyond his abilities to repair it and didn't want to keep her open longer than he already had (about 2 hours). So he tied off her kidney. He said what should happen is that as the urates build up in it with nowhere to go, it should shut her kidney down and the other one will take over completely.

I hope it works that way. She is eating some, now that she has somewhere to put food. She won't jump up on her chair by herself this morning. She just stands and looks at it and waits for me to put her up there. I think she might be REALLY spoiled Not to mention in pain even with the pain meds.

When my daughter let her out of the carrier when we got home, she did a slow lap around the kitchen and then several really fast laps with her tail up. She stopped and gave several good stretches, wagged her tail, then settled down to eat her supper. She moving much slower today with her tail down. I just hope it's pain from the surgery holding her back and not her kidney.

When I went to pick her up yesterday, the girl at the desk (almost ready to start her vet classes at U OF I) said that she got to watch too. She said she won't be eating scrambled eggs anytime soon. Penny's oviduct and the yolks weighed almost 2 pounds. The vet was very relieved when he got in her and it was all contained in her oviduct. They were all very surprised!! He told me before we left Penny there that he was 90% sure it was egg peritonitis and prognosis was "guarded".

He was glad he was wrong He couldn't find anything that blocked her oviduct unless it was twisted and while he was manipulating the oviduct out of her he untwisted it without realizing it. There wasn't anything he could find to suggest what might have caused it to become blocked. Some of the yolk was the consistency of hard cheese and some was still soft and rubbery.

Immediately when they removed the mass, her heart rate dropped from 324 down to around 200. His resident vet student (it was her first day in his clinic) got really concerned, but he said that it was coming down to NORMAL!! She immediately started breathing easier when it was out of her.

She still has her ovary, but won't ovulate any longer. His resident is going to present Penny's case to her class. She's really excited about that. She hopes to be able to get the pictures from the surgery for her presentation and also to email to us. When we get them, we will post them. Should be interesting.

The vet called it very impressive. He's never seen anything like that yet. Gee, glad we could be of educational value for everyone

The girls in the vets office were sad to see her go and everybody came to tell her bye. It was so sweet. We have to take her back in two weeks for a recheck and to make sure her urates are holding steady.

Thanks you guys for all your support. It means the world to my daughter!!! She cried all the way home from Urbana after we left Penny there for her surgery. We just have to keep our fingers crossed and pray that she continues to improve!!!!!!

And here is photo of recovered bird and owner:

Brown Egg Blue Egg