Escherichia coli colonies isolated from the bone marrow of fresh dead hens of laying flocks with the E. coli peritonitis syndrome (EPS) were genotyped using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Typing is important from an epidemiological point of view and also if the use of autogenous (auto)vaccines is considered. Birds with EPS originated from one house of each of three layer farms and one broiler breeder farm. Farms were considered as separate epidemiological units. In total, six flocks were examined including two successive flocks of one layer farm and the broiler breeder farm. E. coli colonies (one per bird) from nine to 16 hens of each flock were genotyped. The clonality of E. coli within birds was studied using five colonies of each of nine to 14 birds per flock. E. coli genotypes, which totalled 15, differed between farms and flocks except for two successive layer flocks that shared three genotypes. One to five genotypes were found per flock with one or two genotypes dominating each outbreak. Within hens, E. coli bacteria were always clonal. Colonies of the same PFGE type always had the same multilocus sequence type. However, four PFGE types shared sequence type 95. Neither PFGE types nor multilocus sequence types were unambiguously related to avian pathogenic E. coli from EPS. In cases where persistence of E. coli strains associated with EPS is found to occur frequently, routine genotyping to select strains for autovaccines should be considered.