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Intestinal Volvulus

Intestinal volvulus is considered an emergency situation that requires immediate veterinary care. It occurs when a loop of the chicken's intestine twists around itself, causing a bowel obstruction.

This condition is most common in young chicks, due to twisting around the yolk sac.

Intestinal volvulus has also been reported in older birds, as a secondary result of enteritis or abnormal peristalsis caused by parasitic worm infestation or coccidial infection.

Intestinal volvulus causes the bird severe pain and progressive damage to the intestinal wall

with accumulation of gas and fluid in the portion of the bowel obstructed. Without prompt action, this can result in necrosis of the affected intestinal wall, acidosis, and death.

Clinical signs of Intestinal volvulus

Clinical signs include depression, abdominal enlargement, constipation, blood in feces, or lack of feces. Onset of signs may be gradual or rapid in nature.

Clinical Signs

Reluctance to move
Sitting alone
Ruffled feathers
Loss of appetite
Dog-sitting position
Lack of feces
Blood in feces
Abdominal enlargement


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Radiographs


Supportive careIsolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own chicken "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress. Call your veterinarian.
SurgeryEarly, prompt treatment is required to save the bird. Surgery needs to be conducted by a qualified avian veterinarian.



Regularly conduct fecal tests to detect parasite burdens in chickens

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • High amounts of intestinal parasites