hello all, first time i have posted here though have read lots on this site. very useful for a newcomer to chickens. well our little black Marans (about 2 yrs old) hasn't been herself for about 4 or 5 days now. there are a few possible reasons but i am stuck as to what to do. at first i thought she was having trouble laying (egg problems) as she has recently laid a couple of soft shelled eggs - at least we assumed that she had as she was sticky underneath with what looked like the remains of an egg in the straw in the nest box. we also realised a few weeks ago that she had been pulling out her own feathers underneath and on her front. some feathers are in the nest box but mainly i think she has eaten them. she will always eat an egg if she gets the chance and maybe the eggy feathers were tempting to her. anyway, i tried the warm baths - no luck, though she seems to enjoy them. the first couple of days she was drinking water but not eating, now she isn't doing either unless i put something tempting in front of her nose. i am now giving her raw egg mixed with water and veg oil. also, at the same time i noticed that her crop was full. it is still full after all this time of not eating anything solid. i have been massaging it for about 3 days. it isn't a hard lump, feels more like grit now. thought at first it might be feathers but now am not sure. she isn't doing anything, just sitting or standing around, but otherwise looks ok, as far as i can tell, just too quiet , she is normally bossy. we have 2 other chickens, both fine. they all free range round the garden and eat what they like with a layers mix as top up and treats. then this morning when i lifted her out of the box, i found 2 bits of grstly looking stiff underneath her. anybody any ideas what is wrong with her? i'm really worried. asked the vets and they aren't prepared to do anything. (i expect they haven't got a clue themselves.)
Anyways, I hope she pulls through! Crop problems can definitely be fatal, and often are if untreated. The crop should be empty the following morning, and if it is not, then that's a major concern. Search the site for these topics until the experts chime in with better advice...
Edited by Toddrick - 10/26/14 at 6:48am
Update in case anyone is interested. She seems to be on the mend. After a week of hardly eating anything and being very lethargic and quiet, the mass in her crop seems to be reducing in size and she wants to be out and about with the others. Could it just be moulting stress that is slowing her digestion down, along with eating feathers possibly???
I have tried several things over the week but can't say that I think any of them made the difference, possibly giving her yogurty porridge and liquid parrafin - this was just before the turning point although she'd had oil and liquid parrafin through the week. She has eaten so little and is very weak but so stubborn that she wants to go ranging with the others. Fingers crossed that she is getting better, I can't quite beleive it.
another update. unfortunately we lost our little black chicken in january. she never fully picked up and was just struggling along. guess we'll never know what it was. my theory - she had eaten something indigestible and though I managed to move it from her crop, it did some damage, or got blocked further along. a lesson for me. be very careful if your chickens show an interest in non-edible things that they come across in your grounds.
Just a suggestion, but your hen may have had a reproductive disorder such as internal laying, egg yolk peritonitis, or salpingitis. The material in the picture could be of so-called lash eggs which are products of inflammation inside. These hens are usually 2 or more, may have problems losing weight, walking, and may have occasional diarrhea or pass egg material. Here is a little information about those diseases: