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Chickens: Oviduct Prolapse in Laying Hens
#1
Prolapse of the oviduct, also called "blowout" or "pickout" is a condition where the lower part of the hen's oviduct turns inside out and protrudes through the vent.
Causes:

1. Overweight: This lead to muscle weakness and too much fat around the reproductive tract.
2. Underweight: When a bird is underweight, the reproductive tract is not fully develop when laying start.
3. Early Photostimulation: When the birds are photostimulated early in life (before they reach the target body weight and uniformity), they will start laying when the reproductive tract is not fully develop. To prevent this, photostimulate at the right body weight and uniformity. For brown egg layers, it is usually at 1.5kg body weigh and 80% uniformity. You can consult your breeder’s manual for your particular breed of bird.
4. Unbalanced Feed: Lack of calcium can cause poor muscle tone. The muscles in the reproductive tract will be weak and this lead to prolapse. To prevent this, feed the birds balanced feed. It may be commercial feed or the one you formulated yourself.
5. Age: Prolapse is more likely to occur at peak production and peak egg mass.
6. Laying Double-Yolk Eggs: Large egg sizes will weaken the cloacal muscles. If you see more than 4% double-yolked eggs, gently reduce feed intake by 5-10% and do not give supplementary multivitamins.
7. High Light Intensity: Vent pecking is more likely to occur if light intensity is very high. Immediately after laying an egg, part of the cloacal is exposed for sometime. At high light intensity, other birds will peck at it and in worst cases, will pull it out. Not all vent picking is due to prolapse. Bad management practices such as positioning feeders, waterers and roosts in such a way that birds below can peck at the vents of birds above.
You can reduce light intensity by covering windows (for locations with cold climate), using bulbs with lower wattage. You can also darken the nest box with curtains. Isolate vent peckers. You can use low wattage red bulbs to prevent vent pecking.

Correcting Prolapse

When discovered in time, prolapse can sometimes be reversed by applying a hemorrhoidal cream (such as Preparation H) and isolating the hen until it heals. If left unattended, the other chickens will pick at her vent, eventually pulling out her oviduct and intestines and the hen will die.
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