Chicken Prolapsed Vent: Prolapse Treatment and Prevention

Photo credit: Flickr/Clover_1
Photo credit: Flickr/Clover_1

How to Help a Prolapsed Chicken

You need to act quickly, before it becomes cut or infected, or the other chickens start to peck at it.  Bring the chicken inside, and clean the prolapsed vent as gently as you can with warm water and a clean lint-free cloth or paper towel.

Many sources advise dabbing the prolapse with honey before pushing it back where it belongs.  Honey has antiseptic qualities, and can help shrink the tissues back to normal size.

Wash your hands, and don clean rubber gloves or surgical gloves if you have some.  Gently push the prolapsed tissue back into the hen’s vent where it belongs.  Once you turn everything right side-in, it should stay in place.  In some cases it can be helpful to apply Preparation H to the vent area afterward.

You may want to isolate the hen, and give her antibiotics over the next few days.  Keep her under close supervision, to make sure that everything is back to normal.

What is a prolapse?

A prolapsed vent happens when the hen’s vent (cloaca) turns inside-out and falls outside her body.  Prolapses can occur in any animal, and chickens are no exception. 

It is pretty obvious when a prolapse has occurred.  You will see the red flesh of the vent sticking out, and it will be clear that she has been turned inside-out from her vent.

Why do prolapses occur?

A prolapsed oviduct or “blowout” can occur in a hen who has begun laying too early, or in a chicken who has passed an unusually large egg.  Overweight hens are also at risk of having a prolapse.  And some chickens are simply built such that a prolapse is more likely to occur.

Will it happen again?

Sadly, the occurrence of another prolapsed vent is very high.  Keep a close eye on your hen, and watch her for another prolapse in the future.  If it occurs again, please consider having her culled.  A prolapsed oviduct can be extremely dangerous, and the risk of pain and infection is very high with serial prolapses.

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