I'd like to share my experience after reading your wonderful post in an effort to help others who may run into the problem I had in which I could find next to NO information on.
My 2 yo EE hen suddenly was found sitting in a corner, eyes closed, not eating and after picking her up.. seeing that she'd lost an enormous amount of weight!! She was nothing but feathers and bone!! I also noticed her crop was large and felt like a huge ball of dough nearly the size of a tangerine!! Lastly I noticed there was basically no poop under her in the roost in the morning. Instead the bedding was wet without any solid material?? It smelled really bad in there also!! Ugh... REALLY BAD!! I knew I was going to lose her and COULD NOT allow that to happen!! I have two hens.. this one, Livie, and a BR named Daisy. They are my pets and are very very much loved!! In my opinion, due to the huge amount of weight she'd lost.. getting some food and nutrients in her was the first thing I needed to treat. I had guessed there was no solid poop in the roost only because she wasn't eating and thus only the liquid waste was being expelled?? I really had no idea why for sure though and no idea what to do about this.
I immediately began getting info on how to tube feed her. Being a nurse of 25 yrs it really wasn't an issue to me. I simply needed to know a chicken's anatomy and once I'd studied that I was good to go. I used the Exact baby bird formula mixed up with something called Nutri-Drench (2cc) which is a vitamin supplement for use in an emergency situation with chickens as it can be detected in the bloodstream in just 10 minutes!! I HIGHLY recommend the use of this product as I've had very good results with it. I've even used it in between tube feedings with her if she looked a little slow and less active again thru this entire illness. So keep this handy and in mind as a quick "pick me up" if it is necessary!!
I began doing tube feedings twice a day for about 2 to 3 days until she began eating on her own again well and began walking around and showing interest in things again. However there STILL was no poop under her in the roost?? I knew then that she had a good chance if I could now only get rid of the doughy stuff in her crop and get her pooping again. I massaged her crop several times a day without results.
I was told to heat approximately 3cc of vegetable oil to a very warm temp, but of course not hot enough to burn her, and put it all down deep into her throat with a syringe. I did this. The next morning there was poop all over the roost under her once again!! Thru this entire process there would be days where again I'd find barely no or not any poop again, so I'd again give the 3cc of heated vegetable oil. It seemed to work very well. However when using a syringe to give ANYTHING to a chicken you MUST BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO GET ANY INTO THE TRACHEA!! I DO NOT recommend that anyone do this until they have become very familiar with a chickens anatomy!! When doing this, it is very important to go deep down into the throat, behind the tongue and tracheal opening as well as to put the liquid in slowly to be certain that there isn't any backflow of liquid that could easily flow into the birds trachea!! AGAIN.. please ONLY do this once you are familiar with the chickens anatomy and are comfortable with it.
Time to see a vet!! Well we saw TWO vets.. neither of which knew a thing nor could find a single thing wrong with her??!! She had a blood count, a full blood chemistry panel, a fecal float test, etc!! $400+ later I knew it was up to me to find a way to save her!!
As far as nutrition, she was eating on her own her crumbles. I supplemented twice a day with white rice, potatoes, veggies of all kinds which I rotated around, eggs, cantaloupe, grapes, etc etc. I made everything boiled and very soft then mashed it all up well for her. I gave her basically as wide a variety as I could in an effort to get some really good nutrition in her as it was obvious she was NOT able to absorb 100% of her intake with that huge ball of dough in her crop!! I could have continued tube feeding but since she was eating very well on her own I chose NOT to continue putting a tube down her throat unless it was absolutely necessary to feed her in that way. That was MY choice only and just MY decision to do it this way. Others may have another preference. All are fine as long as the bird is getting the most nutrition in her possible in my opinion.
Now for the doughy crop. I searched high and low EVERYWHERE for some info on this and found only ONE treatment for it!! It sounded RIDICULOUS!! The vets said NO WAY!! So I looked some more!! NOTHING!! All the while this doughy crop seemed to be getting harder and I had to do something FAST. I decided to try that "ridiculous" treatment!! This treatment is as follows:
1/2 teaspoon of each of the following:
Next a good squirt of lemon juice
2 Tablespoons of water
This is to be tube fed 3X day for 2 to 3 days. Thus this is what I did crazy as it sounded!! I did it the two full days. It became softer and became more liquid like with each treatment. On the third morning HER CROP WAS EMPTY folks!!!! YES INDEED THAT "RIDICULOUS" TREATMENT HAD SAVED MY GIRL!!!! I couldn't be more grateful to whomever posted that treatment as I found no way to contact that person??
Last issue I had to resolve was that her crop was now not emptying all the way every morning. It seemed to be kind of slow or sluggish from having all that doughy stuff in there for so long?? In fact I'm pretty certain the crop muscles had even stretched some as well. I decided to start her on probiotics. All I had on hand was the human brand called Culturelle. I looked it up and found that it was fine to use the human grade. So I opened a probiotic capsule and sprinkled the powder into her food.. (in the home food I am giving her). The following morning her crop was much smaller than the last day?? Wow that was really odd but I wasn't going to complain!! After giving her a second capsule the following day, on the following morning HER CROP HAD EMPTIED COMPLETELY!!!! I really don't know HOW this could have happened this way... but it DID. I CANNOT however swear that it was due to the probiotics that her crop emptied... it could have been coincidence?? I personally DON'T buy that though. I truly believe it was due to the probiotics that her digestion began working properly again and thus she arose with an empty crop!! I will now swear by them as far as how well they've done in OUR case however!! I am giving them to both my hens once a day and they are doing GREAT!! Livie now has A RAVENOUS APPETITE and is slowly gaining her weight back. Both are looking very very well. Their poop is nice and solid. I will continue them on probiotics as they HAVE helped my hens in so many ways.
THIS IS MY STORY AND MINE ALONE. I AM NOT A VET NOR ANY MEDICAL AUTHORITY ON CHICKENS BY ANY MEANS!!!! So, please do not take this as proven fact and proven cures for a chicken!! This is simply our story of the way I was able to save my chicken from this type of illness. IT WORKED FOR US... I HAVE NO IDEA IF IT WILL WORK FOR YOU!! However, I feel confident enough with it, that I feel it's worth sharing!! I wish anyone who chooses to use my method all the luck in the world that they should have the same WONDERFUL OUTCOME that I had!!!!
This is my Olivia, AKA Livie, now well and thriving and I couldn't be a happier chicken mom!!
And here are BOTH my girls, Daisy and Livie!!