6 week old hens, multiple "bloated crop" cases - what's wrong?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CptCluck, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. CptCluck

    CptCluck Out Of The Brooder

    82
    1
    48
    May 18, 2011
    Indianapolis
    My 6 hens are now 6 weeks old and there has been 2 cases of "bloated crop." I do not think it should be this common.

    These are soft crops, no bad smell that I can sense. When I make them vomit, it's just chick crumbles and water. These crops do not empty overnight, but only grow larger and larger.

    1. One chick got it about 15 days ago. We vomited her for awhile, gave her olive oil, separated her, etc. She stopped growing and got lethargic. Then we gave up, put her back in with the others, she promptly ate a cropful of sawdust. She was in bad shape - we did surgery on her and she got better - her scab is almost 100% gone and now she seems to be filling up with fluid again.
    2. Another chick has a big soft crop. She's weak and lethargic and in pretty bad shape.

    We keep them in a cardboard box with pine shavings, medicated chick crumbles (from Tractor Supply), and water from a nipple. The chickens that got this are both "Red sex links." We have two other very healthy red sex links and two other very health Tetra tints.

    This is bizarre. What am I doing wrong, and how do I fix it? I did not get chickens to keep on doing surgery on them!
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  2. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    When you say they got soft crops - what did you observe? Were they staying full overnight? Are you absolutely sure they weren't just FULL crops? Which is perfectly normal. My girls run around every evening looking lopsided. But by the next morning they're empty and ready to eat again!
     
  3. WI FarmChick

    WI FarmChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    380
    18
    103
    Feb 22, 2012
    Wisconsin
    Does this sound like the problem?

    Is more hard or like a water balloon? Sour crop will be like a water balloon; whereas, an impacted crop is hard. "Doughy" kinda sounds normal, but that is a vague enough term that it can encompass the whole range of possible problems. Is her crop still full in the morning when she awakes?

    If sour crop:
    Massaging the crop in a downward motion. Hold all food from her and give her water with some apple cider vinegar (ACV) added to it (preferably ACV with mother, but regular will do). Make sure it is in plastic or glass as ACV corrodes metal and this can be toxic. A few times a day (as available anyway), give her an irrigation syringe full of 1/2 ACV - 1/2 water. This will take some patience as you can only give a little bit at a time to ensure she doesn't choke on it. I had a hen with sour crop that I would massage her crop while giving her the syringe. It would gurgle something nasty and she would have gnarly burps, but she started pushing up against my hand to keep massaging her crop and would open her beak for more of the ACV mixture, so it must've felt better. Sour crop is a yeast infection in the crop (hence hold food so it doesn't ferment more in there). The ACV kills the yeast. After a couple days you should see a difference and after 4 or so days, she should be near normal. Sour crop kills, so act quickly.

    If an impacted crop:
    Hold food. Give olive oil soaked bread (the bread is just to get the olive oil into the bird). Oil seems to be the best remedy as it slicks up the passage way to allow for food to pass through. It gets tougher it is long grass/hay stuck.
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,010
    4,660
    581
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Never assume a day time crop has a problem until you check it in the morning. Birds can have funky feeling crops all day long. But it is not a problem IF the crop is completely empty in the morning. Check the crop first thing while still on the roost bar early in the morning. If it is still full and soft, it is on it's way to being soured. If it is a hard lump, then it is already impacted.
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,010
    4,660
    581
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Also...I had a heck of a time stopping my chicks from eating wood shavings. Shavings WILL block up a crop. To this day, my girls will eat any and all wood shavings, chips and any type of wood they can get their beaks on.

    So if you are having trouble with them eating the bedding, switch them over to grass hay. They will still eat the grass hay, but it will not cause any crop issues. You can also go with a wire floor.
     
  6. CptCluck

    CptCluck Out Of The Brooder

    82
    1
    48
    May 18, 2011
    Indianapolis
    Thanks everyone - I did forget to add the obvious, these crops are not normal "full" crops that go down each night. These are water-baloon crops that grow larger and larger while the bird weakens.

    I'm going to hit these girls hard with some Apple Cider Vinegar. Thank you.
     
  7. CptCluck

    CptCluck Out Of The Brooder

    82
    1
    48
    May 18, 2011
    Indianapolis
    One of my hens is so weak I don't know if she can survive 3-4 days without food. I think I'm going to have to keep feeding her.
    I gave her some regular ACV (I don't have the all-natural organic kind.) I have her a little dropper full, and put some in the water.
     
  8. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,010
    4,660
    581
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Try feeding her soft foods only like hard boiled eggs, yogurt or even crackers. Anything to keep her alive. Keep forcing water or ACV water down the throat and keep her warm.
     
  9. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    If the food isn't getting through - feeding her won't help anyway. I'd hold off as long as possible....you don't want to "feed" the yeast.
     
  10. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,010
    4,660
    581
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    A sour crop is only a slow moving crop. Things ARE moving thru her but at a slower rate. The crop is a muscle and a storage compartment for food. It needs to be of a very low ph to keep the food from souring. If you are not adding to the yeasts with sweet type foods, it is good for the crop to keep it moving with food. Without food, the crop CAN completely stop moving.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by