I had three buff orpingtons and a little over a month ago, their consumption of food dropped considerably and they totally stopped laying eggs. I decided to stop all treats (usually just chopped fruits and veggies and a few meal worms) to make sure they weren't being picky, but they never really started eating again unless I let them free-range. Then one had severe crop impaction. I brought her to the vet. They operated and removed the food and then performed x-rays. She actually had an impacted gizzard. She spent the week at the vet--they gave her mineral oil, massaged the crop, and did a great job taking care of her, but the gizzard impaction never went away. We took her home and let her eat all the treats she wanted for a week, and when her crop became impacted again, we put her to sleep. It was very difficult for my wife and me, but we held her while she passed away.
The other two hens won't eat and always have empty crops. If I let them free range, they eat grass, and they will gladly eat egg, raisins, and meal worms, but that's about it. I've tried multiple foods, but that hasn't helped. I took them to the vet. No cocci or worms. Negative on Marek's. He's checking blood work, but even though he's an avian specialist, he's pretty stumped. He's thinking perhaps leukosis, but he did an autopsy on the first buff and found nothing strange. He suggested we not let them free-range or have treats for 3-4 days (again to see if they're being picky), and after day 1 they still haven't eaten anything. I'm worried because this is exactly what we did before, when the first one ate so much mineral material that her gizzard became impacted. I have *literally* spent days reading everything I can find. The only similar posts I read include people saying their chickens stopped eating and died. That seems like the road we're heading down, but it is all so bizarre. Any experience? Should I keep them eating even if it means they're only eating eggs, meal worms, and grass? Just to keep them alive? They're getting really skinny and their keel bone is definitely prominent.