We have had chickens for less than a year, and have never had a sick hen. Injuries, yes, but never anyone sick.
My son's 10 mo. old Black Australorp appeared to have an impacted crop last night. We were just putting the girls in for the night and her crop was HUGE. It was a baseball sized hard lump. It was getting dark and I didn't yet know what to do, so I let her sleep with everyone else and went inside to research. I read many, many posts and articles here and prepared to spend the next few days fixing the problem.
Just as they were waking up in the morning I put "Aussie" in a dog crate next to the run with water but no food.
Once it was light I examined her more closely. Her crop felt completely empty! The skin over it is a little pinkish, but she certainly is acting fine, and was last night also. She pooped a few times and it was normal, but maybe smallish.
A few hours later there was a very watery poop.
I'm sure that a small impaction can clear on it's own, but she was plumb full last night. Maybe did she just gorge herself more than usual yesterday and wasn't really impacted at all?
Someone said in one of the threads I read that scratch is bad for chickens and can cause impactions. I do feed scratch in the evening, mixed with some additional black oil sunflower seeds. I have never heard anyone say that scratch is bad before.
I feed Rooster Booster high protein layer pellets (because someone decided to molt in the dead of winter, so I switched to it in December to help her through), free choice oyster shell mixed with ground up eggshells, they get a little scratch each evening, sometimes a treat of a few pieces of cat food (chicken is their favorite flavor ), and they get out to free-range most afternoons for about 3-4 hours. They have some grit mixed in with their pellets, and they also spend a lot of time in the gravel driveway and picking up the pea grit from the road.
We have 6 hens, and usually get 5 or 6 eggs each day, but only 4 the last few days. Maybe Aussie isn't laying? I understand a stuck egg can block her up, but her crop is empty now and she is kind of pooping, so I don't think that is likely. I will watch for an egg today now that she is separate.
I want to know if she is ok to put back with everyone else, or if I should offer her some soggy pellets, baby food, and/or yogurt until everything is moving nicely. Should I go ahead and give some ACV? What about olive oil? I hear mixed messages about olive oil. I also wonder about coconut oil. Coconut oil is anti-fungal and antibacterial, so it should help if things start to get sour in there AND give calories and lubrication like the olive oil. Why don't people talk about that as an option?
Thank you so much for helping!