A little incident earlier this evening...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Ninjou, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Ninjou

    Ninjou New Egg

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    Feb 6, 2013
    We just lost our little 7 week old this past evening to something that I really wasn't sure how to handle, so I am looking for advice or what it may have been.

    For the past couple of days she had grown quiet, only chirping when there was physical contact involved with her. She would eat and drink, but other than that she remained in one spot and was silent. I also noticed her feces seemed to be almost purely water earlier today.

    When I checked on her in the later evening, I tried coaxing her into eating/playing and she suddenly started producing a strange mucus from her mouth. Before I knew it she was 'vomiting' a good bit of liquid and what I could only assume was recently eaten food (the mucus had turned yellowish orange and had pieces of the food in it). Within fifteen minutes she was gone, and there wasn't anything I could do for her.

    So, my question is, what happened? Was there something I could have done to save her? I would like to know what caused this and what it was so that I know what I'm dealing with if it happens again in the future.

    Thank you for your time : )
     
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What had her diet been? Did her chest look swollen? Sounds like one possibility could have been a sour or impacted crop. She may have choked while vomiting?

    Sorry for you loss :(
     
  3. Ninjou

    Ninjou New Egg

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    Her chest did feel a little swollen, and it felt very soft and squishy. I've been feeding her and ultrakibble for chicks for about 4 weeks now.
     
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Were they outside? Did she have access to long grass?

    A swollen crop, the clear poop and the vomiting make me think it was likely a sour or impacted crop. Not having seen her I can not be certain but it is definitely a possibility.

    Birds do not have a stomach. When a chicken eats the food gets stored in a balloon like organ in their chest called a crop. After that it passes on to their gizzard which is full of little rocks (grit) that grind up the food. This process can take about 4 hours.

    There are two problems that can occur in the crop. There can be a bacteria imbalance kind of like a yeast infection. This will result in a very soft, squeshy crop. This is called sour crop. Or something (usually long grass, but anything really) can becomes tangled or stuck and block all or part of the passage of food. This is called impacted crop. The chicken will keep eating and drinking because they feel like they are starving but no food is passing through (which is likely why she was eating food but her poo was clear). The crop will keep getting bigger and bigger with stuck food. If the food is allowed to sit in the crop long enough it will start to rot. This is also called sour crop. The crop will still be swollen and squeshy but will usually also have a hardish mass from the impaction.

    It is normal to be able to feel food in a healthy chicken's crop. Every night when they go to bed it should be full. If you inspect a healthy bird that has been eating you should be able to see and feel that there is food under the skin. If you suspect a problem in the future, isolate the bird and stop feeding it any solid foods. Feel the birds crop at bedtime and confirm that is it full and what it feels like. Then check first thing in the morning before the bird has eaten anything. If the crop is empty the bird is fine and food is passing normally. If the crop is still full (hard or soft) then there is a problem and you need to begin treatment right away.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  5. Ninjou

    Ninjou New Egg

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    Thank you for the information. She was not outside, no. I live in North Western PA, so it's too cold for her to be outside. How would you treat the crop if this incident were to occur?
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    You'll need to decide whether you feel it is impacted or sour crop first. I have no experience with either, have just read about them here. Here is a link to a thread with some information on sour crop, listed in our FAQ directory:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/614951/help-me-with-sour-crop-please

    Impacted crop means stuff is stuck in the crop. This can be a collection of hay or grass, a foreign object --a number of things. If you feel it is impacted crop, I'd suggest using the search function here.
     

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