This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Operation: Chicken Peritonitis – Update

This is a follow up to the first post on the procedure we did on our chicken with peritonitis.

The week following the first two weekly procedures, her abdomen was filling up again; and she was starting to waddle and stand up straight. And so I went in with the needle, and pulled nearly 70cc of fluid again. This time though the hole didn’t leak anymore. I tried to extract some more with another needle insertion, but nothing came out.

She seemed not too bad after that; but over the next several days, she was still walking quite a bit upright; and on the third day after the procedure, she lost her appetite. It is my experience when chickens get like that, the end is soon. Regardless, I force-fed her some goat milk; and in the evening, she was eating some food scraps on the ground and chicken scratch from my hand, and even drinking the goat milk, all on her own. However, as I said, they’re usually in a bad way when they generally stop eating; and by the next morning she was dead. The Lord was merciful in allowing it finish quickly.

I’m not sure what happened: perhaps I punctured something internally in her; perhaps I introduced bacteria or otherwise during the procedure; perhaps her immunity was low and she caught something; perhaps none of those. I tried to be as antiseptic as possible during the drainings, but perhaps something still got by. (Please also see some of the comments about using an antibiotic/silver.)

It’s sometimes a little difficult when you try to care for something, and it doesn’t work out the way you had hoped, or worse, you worsen the situation. Also with this chicken, I used to be able to “talk” to her by making chicken sounds; and she would respond, which was fun to hear. And it is just an animal, but it’s also God’s provision. Still, it was her time according to His will, and we’re thankful she went quickly; for the allowing us the provision of her; and for what the Lord would teach us, spiritually as well as temporily.

Death — eternal, spiritual and temporal — are a result of sin, and my sin; and I try to be reminded of my sin when I’m around death. And that reminds me to plead the blood of Christ for His atonement as He is the only way of redemption from the wages of our sins.

May He continue to teach us, and we pray and are thankful for His guiding hand in our earthly pilgrimage.

— David


  1. Anonymous

    I was sorry to learn of your hen dying. Of course you did all that you could, and I learned a lot from your post. I have never had this happen to any of my girls, but I have lost a few to dog attacks. It is always sad to lose a friend.
    Thank you for sharing this story.

  2. David and Susan Sifford

    Thank you, Manette.

    We have to be very careful with our dogs too, because when they get off their leashes, they make a bee-line right for the chickens.

    Thanks for saying hello.

    — David

  3. Kelsey

    I also am sorry for your loss, but like you said when that happens the end is near. By the way I also blogg maybe u could check it out sometime. I've been reading your blog and congrats on all your new heifers and kid goats. May your herd prosper,

  4. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Kelsey,

    Thank you for saying hello and for the congrats. Your name wasn't a link, so I couldn't find your blog.

    — David

  5. Anonymous

    I lost one of my girls today from the same ailment, she was the smallest and smartest and feistiest of our five bantam hens and it pained me to see her suffer Sorry to hear you lost your girl.
    God bless,
    Sandra from Northern Australia.

  6. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Sandra,

    Sorry to hear yours didn't make it.

    Sadly, while the abdomen draining seems to give some temporary relief, we haven't found it yet to permanently help the situation. We had another with the same problem, and she ended up dying too after trying the procedure a few times. I don't know if we're not doing it correctly, or are introducing bacteria with the needle, or if this procedure will actually ever help a hen recover from the peritonitis. We'll probably keep trying as these situations arise, as the hen will most likely be on her way "out" anyway, and perhaps we'll yet have some success, if the Lord wills.

    Thanks for saying hello!

    — David

  7. ozhamada

    David and Susan, we were encouraged by your blog post "Operation: Chicken Peritonitis – Update". It gave us courage to operate on our Isa Brown chicken that had peritonitis. Four times we performed the procedure taking out up to 250cc of fluid. We prolonged her life by about 8 months

    Thank you,
    David and Marisa, Sydney, Australia.

  8. David and Susan Sifford

    Hello David and Marisa,

    Thank you for saying hi and telling us how things went. That's neat to hear that the hen was able to make it that much longer. You all must have done a good job in the procedure.

    It was nice to hear from you…thanks again for taking the time to say hi.

    — David

  9. Anonymous

    You need to give them antibiotics – Baytril works best for this condition. Draining only helps the symptoms, will not cure the infection.

  10. David and Susan Sifford


    Thanks for the info. We might have to try that next time.

    — David

  11. Anonymous

    tuNThank you so much for sharing your experience in dealing with this. Most of all, I admire your comforting words in the last three paragraphs. It absolutely breaks my heart when I lose a chicken.

    According to my friend who is a poultry vet, EYP is usually chronic and there is no treatment. She said that draining would definitely make them more comfortable, but in most cases the fluid returns. The antibiotic is just a precaution in case you introduce bacteria during the procedure, so it is a good idea. Just so you know, I don't think that you did anything incorrectly in treating her.

    I would love to hear if you have any other wise words/advice for dealing with the death of a loved animal/pet.

  12. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Anonymous,

    Thank you for the information. We have used very small amounts (1/4 cc) of concentrated angstrom silver (as an antibiotic) mixed with even parts goat milk and egg yoke (total 3 cc's) in trying to help sick chickens (ones that are sort of just standing all of the time, not for EYP), which has worked very well, and perhaps if we have an EYP case, besides draining I might try some silver for them as well, just to see what happens.

    As for affections for animals, I actually did a blog post regarding the Lord's dealings with me in that area: Perhaps the Lord will grant you some benefit from it.

    Thanks for saying hi.

    — David

  13. Anonymous

    That was the exact direction that I was searching for. Thank you so much again.

  14. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Anonymous,

    We pray God glorify Himself through us, teach us His ways, and may He guide your heart and studies.

    — David

  15. Angela

    Hi, I have been researching egg peritonitis on the internet as this is what one of my chickens is obviously suffering from. I very rarely leave posts or comments but felt compelled to on this occasion, to say think you so much for sharing your experience. Your clear and sensible description has encouraged me greatly to approach my vet to help me to drain my chicken, rather than simply have her put down. I am very aware that this procedure will not cure her but it could alleviate her symptoms and give her the chance of a longer life, which has to be worth a lot! Much love to you and your family, Angela (UK)

  16. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Angela,

    Glad perhaps this information has perhaps been beneficial, I hope the process works out for you.

    If you end up finding out any other information from the vet about this ailment and treatment for it, maybe you could comment back with it, if you would be so inclined?

    And thank you for saying hello!

    — David

  17. Amanda

    Wow!! Praise God for guiding me to your blog! I just lost a hen to this and since my husband and I love so rural (we are Ranchers in Wyoming) we oftentimes need to be vets as well as ranchers. We weren't sure what was going on, and now we know. Thank you so very much! And GOD BLESS!

  18. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Amanda,

    Glad it could be of help!

    Thank you, and thanks for saying hello!

    — David

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