fat chook

Fatty Liver Syndrome

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Fatty Liver Syndrome

All though all birds retain fat in their livers, egg layer chooks retain more fat in their livers then non-layers and male birds. This syndrome is characterised by the extreme accumulation of fat, sudden drop on egg production and increased mortality.
These hen's often have high body condition scores of 4 or 5 as indicated in the photo below. They are obese, have pale combs and wattle which may be covered in a white dandruff.

This syndrome is usually caused by fatty feed consumption and decreased exercise. Backyards birds that are kept as house pets and fed table scraps are at a high risk of developing this syndrome.
Mortality is caused by ruptures of the liver capsule causing hemorrhaging with blood clots forming in the abdomen. See photos. The liver becomes very fragile and can rupture easily. Knocks from things as simple as landing from a high fall or being scared and fleeing a novel interaction can cause this to happen.
Secondary to high levels of abdominal fat comes prolapsed cloaca. As eggs are produced there is a large force to expel the egg from the product when obstructed with fat deposits which can increase the risks.of prolapse.

Treatment is diet control and exercise. Reducing table scraps and allowing for exercise and foraging is a great way to prevent this issue and keep your chooks healthy.



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