Started offering scratch grains last weekend to my "free ranging" (inside electro-mesh netting) EE flock, due to recent low temps (below freezing), as I do every winter. Thursday a.m. I brought in "Violet", because she looked like she was going to keel over on the roost. She was left alone indoors in a cat crate for the day with only ACV water. Amazingly, she was still alive when I got home from work. Upon closer inspection that afternoon, she appeared to have a large, sour crop, and smelled like old bread dough/brewery. One tip sideways over the sink, and she vomited up mostly clear, sour mash smelling liquid with bits of this and that. She's been inside since, eating plain yogurt (greedily) and drinking ACV. I offered her tiny amounts of layer pellet yesterday afternoon and this afternoon, and she seems to be moving everything along. I think I will return her to the flock tonight after bedtime.
Friday morning, I noticed my heavily molting "Frigga" had an enormous right breast, and upon closer inspection, her crop was a baseball full of gritty material, and she was a bag of molting bones! Oy vey! In she came with Violet. the two transferred to the giant dog kennel. Frigga seems perky and feisty enough, just skinny. Friday afternoon, I used a dropper to introduce as much baking soda and water down her throat as I could (1/2 C b.s. to 1 pint water), bit by bit, massaging. She was burping up air that smelled like dog poo! I could not get her to bring up anything. Saturday, I switched to olive oil. So far, I think she's not aspirated anything from me force feeding her with the dropper. Sat. & Sun. the burps smell like compost. The mass has been looser, more maleable, gradually smaller, but I can not get her to bring anything up.
I know there are risks of aspiration when bringing things up from the crop, but I feel every time I force the dropper down her throat, I risk causing aspiration, too. She is less than cooperative with the forced feedings. She looks like a cast member from the chicken musical "Grease". She has the ACV and yogurt available at all times. I tried a molasses mixture (4Tbsp to 1 Q water) but they just stared at it. After about an hour, I swapped it out for ACV mixture, because I want them to drink as much as possible.
I have not found a source of Nystatin yet.
Oh, and the fact that she's in a heavy molt right now means my tiny bathroom looks like a beach when I'm done working with her, for all the dander on the floor! I got about a Tbsp. or two of olive oil into her today, still no vomit. Poor girl's exhausted:(
Any suggestions? What are your techniques for force feeding? I can't imagine how anyone could introduce a plastic tube down into the crop for flushing!
Also, just remembered, a few weeks ago, I switched to the metal water fountain (to use with the base heater), and so they have been getting plain water instead of the ACV mixture they were on all spring & summer in the plastic fountain. Lack of ACV + new grains + greedy chickens = crop issues?
Edited by Aimless Farmer - 12/12/10 at 11:32am
Everything costs a "bock"!
Everything costs a "bock"!