I noticed this morning that my sick hen has a crop that seems filled with air - kind of like a small sized balloon. For the last 10 days she has been slow moving with diarrhea (dark green chunks and white liquid), breathing heavy and constantly contracting her vent - like she was trying to poop. I separated her from the other hens to give her Terramycin (in her water). It has been 8 days on the antibiotic and she is getting thinner and weaker. I don't think she is eating or drinking any more. She also started bobbing her head. I'm not sure she is going to make it thru the day. A couple days ago she ate a tablespoon or so of white rice and fresh raspberries. The vet is not an option for me. Any ideas on what is wrong and how to treat her at home? Rosie is a two year old production red...she was one of the top hens in the picking order and a great layer. Thanks for any help or guidance you may have.
Sour Crop? How do you treat it?
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If she is able to defecate then it may not be the crop. I'm wondering if you don't have a couple of things going on. Was she laying before all this started?
Dumb question............................ but whats a crop?
Not dumb at all, we all had to learn. Usually the hard way. The crop is located in the front of the lower neck. When the bird eats or drinks you can feel and sometimes see a large lump in the neck, that's the crop with food waiting to be ground up and passed along the bird's digestive system.
Wes has some excellent graphics that are very easy to understand, if he comes by maybe he'll post them.
I didnt realize a chicken could get sour crop. With a parrot you use plain yourgert and also put apple cider vinager in her water. Agian, I didnt realize a chicken could get sour crop.
I do have a suggestion to try and support her. If her crop is not impacted, still questionable since she's leaving droppings behind, is get some hand feeding formula. If she is not completely down you might be able to encourage her to take some.
Hand feeding formula is a great thing to have on hand for sick, injured birds. They love it which keeps them hydrated and they're getting some of the nutrients they need.
Boy - I assume she has been laying eggs up until 2 weeks ago. I can't recall the last time I saw her in the nest box though. She really isn't passing much feces. Maybe a teaspoon a couple times a day. It is very runny and with little dark green solid flakes. The feathers around her vent are all gooped up with runny poop. Yesterday and the day before she was shaking her head frequently and stratching her ear area. She really seemed to appreciate it when I scratched around her ears with my finger...I don't know if the itchy ears are related. She also has been fussing with the middle of her chest. Something is hurting or itching there too? Today's head bobbing was new...it seems like she has a neurological problem because the movement is so bizarre.
My husband went to the drug store to find Nystatin. The pharmacist said it isn't sold over the counter. He said it is for fungal infections and that my husband should look at the athlete's foot fungus remedies. Is this the same stuff for chickens?
I'll try yogurt and a mashed hard-boiled egg in the morning. I'll see if I can get to the pet store and pick up the hand-feeding formula tomorrow. Should I stop the Tetramycin if I'm going to feed yogurt?
Also - sunlight seems to affect the antibiotic solution. It changes from pale yellow to almost rust-red color. Does this color change damage the affectiveness of the solution? The ladies at the feed store suggested a solution of 1 teaspoon powder to 1 quart water. I mix it fresh daily.
Thanks Robin416 for your help!
Hi, ella here...
I've dealt with this with 6 of my hens. Nystatin is the only thing that worked and it worked quickly. I got the Nystatin from a large animal vet (cattle etc...) for about $6 he mixed it up for me and didn't require a clinic visit. It may be worth it to call and ask local vets if they would consider doing this for a pet chicken. It never hurts to ask.
I wouldn't use Athletes Foot remedies without knowing what the drug in it is. Also it's probably meant to be used topically not orally.
The dark green blobs in her poo are bile, it's because she isn't getting any nutrition. Same for the head bobbing.
I would say to stop the antibiotics because it's decimating the bacteria in her system which makes it easier for the yeast and fungi to flourish. Yogurt with active cultures or probiotics may help, but I've never had them solve the problem.
Every hen that I've treated has eventually died, however with Nystatin they had months or years of recovery before relapsing.
Sour crop is usually a symptom of another problem. I discovered that my galvanized waterers were leaching heavy metal toxins into their water. Since removing them last year I haven't had a single hen with sour crop. It may also be a secondary symptom of cancer, infection, or any number of other things.
You can find some good info by doing searches for sour crop info on cockatiels and other birds, they tend to be treated by vets so there is more info from them.
Good luck with your girl, this can be a difficult problem.