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Chicken with squishy crop & gasping/silent crowing

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by RaleighRancher, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. RaleighRancher

    RaleighRancher Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 7, 2012
    Raleigh, NC
    I have a 1 year old Blue Lace Wyandotte who has been perfectly healthy until yesterday morning.

    Yesterday I noticed that she was repeatedly stretching her neck and opening her beak. She kind of wheezes or squeals quietly when she opens her beak. It looks like silent crowing, but please keep reading before you diagnose her with gapeworms!

    She is not shaking her head. I peered down her throat and her trachea looked normal as much as I can tell - no redness, no visible obstructions, just smooth, pale walled trachea. I first thought she was straining to get an egg out, but I felt her rear end (from the outside) and didn't feel lumps or anything unusual there. Her rear end is a little pasty with white droppings, but her vent appears normal and the droppings don't smell any worse than normal chicken feces.

    While checking her out yesterday afternoon, I noticed that her crop felt swollen and squishy (about the size of a racketball maybe, only slightly larger than it would normally be in mid-afternoon). I checked my other 3 birds and their crops were about the same size, but distinctly firmer, definitely not squishy.

    After a little more research here, I held her upside down and gently massaged her crop yesterday evening. She vomited clear liquid. It didn't smell particularly strongly - just smelled like any other vomit. Her breath does not smell otherwise.

    This morning she was doing about the same. Her crop was not bloated - down to the size of a pecan but was still squishy. I held her upside down again and massaged her crop gently again. A little clear liquid came up, again, about the same smell.

    The only unusual thing in her behavior or diet recently was that two days ago, all four hens got out of their run and took a stroll through our tomato patch for about an hour. They have not gotten into the tomatoes before. There's nothing in the garden that's not in their run with the exception of the plants themselves - both are mulched with wheat straw, no pesticides or herbicides in the garden, and no strings or things like that. They did not appear to be eating the tomatoes, plants nor fruit.

    The four hens live in an open-air coop that is 50 sq. ft. inside, with about a foot of wheat straw bedding, and spend a couple of hours a day in a loosely fenced run that is about 200 sq. ft. (or more when they slip out, which is pretty often).

    I'd like to get her healthy again. I'm not thrilled about the idea of going to a vet for livestock, but if anyone can recommend one in Raleigh, NC, I might go for that.

    Should I treat for impacted crop? Or go for deworming just in case it's gapeworms? Other advice or diagnosis?

    Thanks!!
     
  2. RaleighRancher

    RaleighRancher Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 7, 2012
    Raleigh, NC
    Just an update from this afternoon. She has sat on the roost all day as far as I can tell. Doesn't appear to have eaten or drunk anything. Doesn't look noticeably worse. Just inactive. Her crop is still squishy, but not swollen. She still does the silent crowing thing when she is agitated (like when I go handle her). Still a little pasty on the rear but the vent looks normal and no abnormal odor to the droppings. Her beak/breath do not smell at all.

    Any advice? I have a package of monistat at the ready. Should I go for it or wait this out? Anything else I should do?
     
  3. RaleighRancher

    RaleighRancher Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 7, 2012
    Raleigh, NC
    Anyone? Bueller?
     
  4. iheartnh

    iheartnh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I don't have a solution, but can tell you we had a bad outcome after similar symptoms with my favorite little pullet a couple of months ago. She started to do the gasping thing early one morning, I did all the same stuff you did - inspection, palpated her crop, inversion, looked down the throat - couldn't find anything obvious. I separated her from the flock with food and water, and then had to leave (I had to attend a funeral). When I returned 5 hours later, she was significantly worse. I started doing my research, and was figuring it was gape worm, when my husband told me she didn't seem to be breathing. She had passed away.

    So, I never came up with a cause. I hope someone can give you some suggestions, and you have a better outcome. Good luck!
     
  5. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

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    If she were mine I would treat her with a wormer, just as a precautionary measure.. if she did not improve after the worming treatment then gapeworm could be eliminated as a possible cause.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I can't see that treating her would be bad. She kind of sounds like she might be getting sour crop, and may have a start on vent gleet, so treating with monistat might help both. I would also give her some yogurt daily and put ACV in her water.
     
  7. RaleighRancher

    RaleighRancher Out Of The Brooder

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    Raleigh, NC
    Thanks for the suggestions. Eggcessive, after reading your reply last night I looked up vent gleet. The coating on the rump feathers looks consistent with vent gleet, but she hasn't got any inflammation of her vent - yet. But your suggestion and that research convinced me that I should treat her with monistat. Thanks!

    Yesterday she pretty much just sat on the roost all day. This morning she was down from the roost and seemed to have more energy - she actually ran away from me when I approached her, instead of just sitting there. Her crop felt loose and squishy still, but not at all swollen. She also didn't do the gasping/silent crowing thing as much, even after I had to chase her down. Overall, I'd say she had improved somewhat already.

    This morning I popped 1/3 of a monistat suppository down her gullet quite easily and gave her a couple of squirts of good yogurt. She is our least approachable hen but was very docile about the whole thing. Fingers crossed!

    I've read varying things about monistat dosage. The package I got - or rather, had my wife get - is a 3-day treatment regimen* (1 dose a day for 3 days). Should the same regimen apply for a hen, but at reduced dosage, i.e., should I just do 1/3 of a suppository each day for 3 days?

    Thanks again.

    *PS Don't worry, I know not to put the benzocaine cream anywhere near the chickens.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  8. hrhta812

    hrhta812 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, I'm impressed you could get something solid down a chicken's throat! I hadn't been on here for a few days, so I just saw this thread. Glad to hear you're seeing improvement! :)
     
  9. RaleighRancher

    RaleighRancher Out Of The Brooder

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    hrhta812, it was actually easy, thanks in part to the gasping behavior. She opens her mouth real wide without me having to pry it or hold it. I just waited, watched the rhythm of the gasping, and steady, 1, 2, 3, dropped it in the next time she opened her mouth. It's a little nugget about the size of a chickpea. I was worried she'd try to cough it up, but I guess chickens can't do that, because it just fell right in as if nothing had happened. The yogurt was actually a little trickier because I had to keep a dropper in her mouth a few seconds at a time.

    I had a little better luck with the yogurt after I wrapped my handkerchief around her head so she couldn't see. A friend of mine taught me that on a canoe trip years ago when we found a great blue heron with a fishing lure down its throat. We wrapped its head with a small towel so it couldn't see and it calmed right down. Great big WILD bird and it just held still for us like a sweet little buff orpington while we removed the obstruction from its throat. Actually, come to think of it, that wild bird was more docile than this domestic wyandotte!
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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