Crop Feeding Sick Hen, Losing Wt, Slow Crop, Liquid from Beak, Wiggling Neck

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PostageStampRanch, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. PostageStampRanch

    PostageStampRanch In the Brooder

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    Hi Everyone,
    I've been a long time lurker on this website due to the awesome information and helpfulness of the community. Unfortunately, my first post is an emergency. I've searched many pages and can't nail this down. :he I don't want time to run out on my sweet hen. :fl Please pardon the length. I'm trying to give enough information so it's recognizable. Any help is tremendously appreciated. :D

    1) What type of bird, age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others?)

    • Cha Cha is a California White chicken (Leghorn x California Gray)
    • She is 7 years old (bought her as a pullet)
    • Currently 3 lbs., 9 oz. (down 3 oz. from baseline weight several years ago as well as more recently), but she seems like her keel is more prominent now. (Her coop mate is a heavier bodied Blue Cochin x Araucana hen.)

    2) What is the behavior, exactly?

    • I first noticed her occasionally sitting in the yard, resting more often, when her coop mate was scratching/pecking
    • Occasionally standing with her eyes closed
    • Sometimes tail was down (most of the time now)
    • Red comb had gained purple tips (bright red again as of 4/10/18)
    • Started roosting early
    • Poopy vent feathers
    • Standing in corner of run
    • Clear liquid (no smell) came pouring out of her beak when I picked her up to take her inside (4/2/18).
    • Became uninterested in food or treats (Around 4/1/18)
    • Stopped drinking on her own (I haven't witnessed it since ~4/1/18)
    • Wiggled her neck a couple of times (to the side, somewhat like an “s”), then it stopped (outside before 4/2/18 and again today 4/11/18.)
    • Brought her indoors to chicken hospital with flockraiser softened with water and a bowl of water with ACV (+ mother) in it. No interest.
    • Finally took some water from an eye dropper (~4/3/18).
    • Has also had borborygmi a few of times (early on, and more recently.)

    I researched how to tube feed liquids & food (on BYC, :ya) and finally got up the courage and supplies to do it. (I’ve made sure to push all of the air out of the crop tube before crop feeding her, but have still heard borborygmi.)


    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?

    I first noticed something was off about 2 weeks ago, but we had other things take precedence with a car in the shop after being sandwiched in a 4 car accident and an emergency health issue in the family. I brought her in 9 days ago and have been desperately trying to find a way to get her to drink/eat.

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?

    Her coop mate, Amy, has some runny poop on her vent feathers, but is active/eating/drinking/laying/normal.

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma?

    No.

    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation?

    I’m not sure if it’s connected, but I’ve been concerned about any signs of illness since taking her to an avian vet about 7 months ago. The vet aspirated fluid from Cha Cha’s abdomen and diagnosed egg yolk peritonitis (EYP). She was drained. We were sent home with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds as well as $275 less in my pocket.

    Side Rant: It was going to be around $650 if they had taken an x-ray that was IMO unnecessary since I was told EYP was determined by the color of the aspirate. I thought they should have aspirated the fluid, made a determination, and IF negative for EYP, ask if I wanted to have the more expensive procedures done to look for cancer or heart failure (the other two possibilities, both fatal in the short term). The cost went up from there with a hormone shot to stop egg production for 1 month that “may or may not work” that was quoted at $300, if I remember correctly. Also a hormone implant every 3 months or spaying, both even HIGHER in cost! Side Rant Off.

    The good news is I learned how to pill Cha Cha. I understand that, unfortunately, there is no cure and she will most likely internally lay from now on. Her last egg was laid about 9 months ago.

    A month or two ago I thought she could have ascites again, so after researching it online, I attempted to drain her with a needle syringe. Only one time I was able to draw about 7ml, then there was too much resistance on the syringe and I didn’t want to injure her, so I withdrew. After about 5 other attempts without fluid I opted to stop making the poor thing a pin cushion.

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all?

    I found very helpful posts by Casportpony regarding tube feeding liquids/food. I’m using a 16Fr catheter (lubricated w/olive oil) & 60ml syringe. I read one of her suggestions on starting with Pedialyte at 15ml per pound to rehydrate the bird first.

    After spending too much time reading the internet, I accidentally calculated 15ml per kg, so the first fluids may have been less than optimal. Although, since Cha Cha’s crop may not be emptying that fast, starting with less may have allowed her to keep it down. Water w/ACV (w/mother) and flock raiser softened with water was always available in her hospital cage. Not eating on her own. No drinking on own witnessed.

    Previous to her halt in eating she was daily given flockraiser (since she is no longer laying) and BOSS with occasional fresh (not moldy) vegetables (cabbage, tomatoes, etc).

    My Liquids/Food/Weight Notes (Please check my math):

    *4/7/18 Weighed Cha Cha at 3 lbs., 10 oz. = 3.625 lbs. = 1.64 kg*

    6:00pm – Tubed Cha Cha 1st time with liquids. 25ml warm water + Durvet Vitamins & Electrolytes. Room at 80° & warm fluids to reduce chance of regurgitation.

    7:30pm – Crop still feels more full than not, will tube fluids in morning.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    4/8/18 8:00am – Weighed at 3 lbs, 10 oz. (no change). Tubed 2nd time with liquids. 25ml warm water + Durvet.

    10:00am - Tubed liquids 3rd time. 25ml warm water + Durvet.

    2:00pm - Tubed liquids 4th time. 54ml warm water + Durvet.
    (Corrected amt is 3.625 lbs.x15ml=54ml)

    5:15pm – Cha Cha ate 32 mealworms! Very active/alert like her old self.

    5:30pm – Planned to tube 54ml warm water + Durvet. Reduced to 40ml for 5th liquid tubing due to some volume in crop.


    **Estimating crop volume at 50 ml/kg. First tube feeding of food to be one-third to one-half of estimated crop volume.**

    Cha Cha is 3 lbs., 10 oz. = 3.625 lbs. = 1.64 kg

    1.64kg x 50ml = 82ml crop volume. If 1st feeding is at 1/3 vol. = 27 ml, ½ vol. = 41 ml**


    10:00pm – 1st food tube feeding. Started with 41ml of 1 part Kaytee Exact Hand Feeding Formula + 2.5 parts warm water w/Durvet.


    ***Goal is no less than 5% of body weight in fluids per day. Cha Cha is 1.64 kg x 5% = .082kg = 82ml/day of water minimum. Summary for 4/8/18 total water tubed was 144ml + ~29ml water from food tubing = 173ml.***

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    4/9/18 6:00am – 8 hours since last food tubing. Room temp dropped to 74°. Turned heater on. Cha Cha is sitting. Squishy crop fits in my (small) hand. 2nd tube feeding reduced to 27ml. (Made w/plain warm water due to my sleepiness.)

    11:00am – Cha Cha weighs 3lbs., 12 oz. (gained 2 oz.) = 3.75lbs. = 1.7kg

    Recalculated crop volume: 1.7kg x 50ml = 85ml crop volume. 1/3 vol. = 28 ml, ½ vol. = 43 ml

    Noon – 6 hours since last food tube feeding. Squishy crop fits in my hand. Got Cha Cha in football position and ~6 drops of somewhat clear liquid dripped out of her beak. No smell. Postponed feeding.

    4:30pm – 10 ½ hours since last tube feeding. Room at 79°. Turned on heater. Squishy crop fits in my hand, maybe slightly smaller. Tried tube feeding food (down right side of her throat), got to 14ml of 3rd feeding dispensed when some came back up. A couple of meal worm skins (from almost 24hrs ago) included with very watery baby bird food. Smelled like baby bird food. Cha Cha pecked at food bits on towel.

    10:00pm –5 ½ hours since small amount of food tubed w/vomiting episode. Crop is now small. Goal was to tube 40ml warm water w/Durvet. Tubed 30ml when Cha Cha decided she was done with tubing for tonight. Boking, standing afterward, tail down.

    ***Summary for 4/9/18, total water tubed was 30ml + ~29ml from food tubing = 59ml - small amount vomited. Short of 85ml/day minimum water goal. Total food tubed was 41ml food w/water with a small amount lost to vomiting episode. Goal is be at 168ml-224ml food w/water per day (15ml per pound, 3-4x/day. 3.75lbs. x 15ml = 56ml per feeding).***

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    4/10/18 6:00am – 8 hours since water tubed. Feeding due. One of my kids left door to room open by accident, room 74°. Turned on heater. Squishy crop is a little smaller than my hand. Boking, sitting w/tail down.

    6:45am – Room 82°. Standing. Tubed 30ml of Kaytee made w/warm water + Durvet. Back in cage, she is standing, alert, w/tail briefly up.

    11:00am – Cha Cha sitting in cage. She weighs 3 lbs., 12 oz. (no change)

    12:30pm – Almost 6 hours since crop fed. Feeding due. Standing. Crop fits in my hand. Tubed 29ml Kaytee made w/warm water + Durvet. A little bit of walking/pecking/preening after.

    6:00pm – 5 ½ hours+ since crop fed. Feeding due. Crop slightly smaller than my hand. Standing. Tubed 43ml Kaytee made w/warm water + Durvet.

    10:00pm – 4 hours since last feeding. Room 84°. Crop fits my hand. Cha Cha struggled a bit before I could tube her and expelled a couple of drops of liquid from her beak. Postponed tubing (was planning for 20ml of Kaytee w/warm water + Durvet.). Just noticed that purple tips on comb are gone and it is fully bright red again.

    ***Summary for 4/10/18, total water tubed was ~73ml from food tubing. Short of 85ml/day minimum water goal. Total food tubed was 102ml food w/water. Goal is be at 168ml-224ml food w/water per day (15ml per pound, 3-4x/day. 3.75lbs. x 15ml = 56ml per feeding).***

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    4/11/18 6:00am Door found open again. :duc Room 72°. Turned heater on. Cha Cha is standing. Boks back to me.

    6:45am - 12 hours, 45 min since last crop feed. Room 82°. Squishy crop fits in my hand, no bad breath smell. Prepared 30ml of Kaytee w/warm water + Durvet + applesauce. (Out of 2 tsp Kaytee: 1 tsp applesauce: 1.5 oz water.) In football position, Cha Cha expelled ~1/2 tsp of liquid and what looks like a thin, pale sunflower seed (photo taken). She has not been fed anything like this recently. If it is a sunflower seed, it’s from at least 9 days ago, but she wasn’t showing interest in food then. Postponed tube feeding.


    11:00am Cha Cha weighs 3 lbs., 9 oz. (lost 3 oz.). Crop is slightly smaller in my hand. A couple drops of liquid dripped from her beak when I picked her up.

    Noon: Feeding due. She's resistant to me massaging her crop.Postponed tube feed due to concern over liquid dripping out if she leans too far forward.

    12:45pm – Sitting. Her neck is making an “S” wiggle motion, as if to dislodge something in her crop.

    She is not getting enough to eat, even with tubing.


    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

    Poop became watery, with green bits, some white. (Have a few pics if needed.) Really stunk about a week ago. Tolerable now…maybe I’m getting used to it, but it doesn’t seem as strong an odor. Pooping regularly. Became just watery on 4/10. Morning of 4/11 one poop was watery with green/white plus two 1/2” brown parts. Tinge of yellow & a little mucousy with the watery green/white poop in afternoon of 4/11. (Also have pics.)

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

    Trying to get her hydrated and able to move on to food as above. Could use some guidance.

    10) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird until you can get to a vet?

    If I can treat her myself, I’ll try. We really can’t afford the vet bills.

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

    I'll attempt this next.

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use.

    Outside is a coop with a sand run. Hens have free reign in our postage-stamp sized (fenced) backyard during the day when we are home. No hay or grass is present.

    Inside I’ve moved her into the chicken hospital in the bathroom so it can be heated to 80°. She’s on newspaper that can easily be replaced when soiled.
     
    orrpeople likes this.
  2. LittleCheepers

    LittleCheepers Songster

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    I am so sorry to hear that your sweet Cha Cha isn’t doing well. I can tell how much you love her and she has been very lucky to have been in your care. I wish I had some advice for you, but unfortunately I don’t. I’m sure someone more knowledgeable will be along to help you.
     
    Chickens r the best! likes this.
  3. PostageStampRanch

    PostageStampRanch In the Brooder

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    Thank you for your kind words! She is well loved. Cha Cha even has a mirror with her so she has another "chicken" to keep her company. :)
     
  4. LittleCheepers

    LittleCheepers Songster

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    You might get a stuffed animal to put by her. I’ve read they like that. Something she could snuggle with or lay her head on. Just for a little “company” while she’s all alone.
     
  5. PostageStampRanch

    PostageStampRanch In the Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2018
    That's a great idea! Thank you.

    I was scared to tube feed her if she may be too full, but I'm also scared she's not getting enough water/food. She just accepted 30ml of the baby bird food mixed with warm water + the Duvet and a little applesauce to hopefully loosen things up. She pecked a little at her surroundings. My only concern is she held her head up and made a motion with her beak, like when she drinks water, a couple of times.
     
  6. orrpeople

    orrpeople Grading essays - be back soon!

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    First, let me commend you for your detailed summary of your girl's condition! I don't think I've seen one like it yet! Your girl is in excellent hands.
    I'm so sorry to hear she is not feeling well, and sadly with the internal laying diagnosis, you may be choosing -at this point - just to exercise supportive end of life care. She has definitely lived a long life!
    We're you able to get some electrolytes down her? More than food, this would be important. Also, a good fast acting vitamin like nutridrench (my birds smell me coming with it a mile away, but I have had excellent results with it straight from a dropper followed by some plain water). The other thing I do is increase protein - but the Kaytee Baby Bird feed (I assume this is what you are tube feeding) is pretty good.
    There may be others with more suggestions, and I truly wish the best for you and your flock! :)
     
    Bonniebooboo likes this.
  7. PostageStampRanch

    PostageStampRanch In the Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2018
    Thank you for checking out my post and being so supportive! This hasn't been easy.

    I was wondering if the crop issues are developing due to her reproductive problems and how long it is fair to keep her here. Alternatively, I don't want to euthanize her if it might be something I could correct in case she still may have months left.

    The first day of tubing was water with vitamins and electrolytes only. The Durvet powder came from Tractor Supply Co. I've seen Nutridrench mentioned here many times, so maybe I should look for it again.

    As far as protein, she did independently eat many mealworms 3 days ago. It's the only thing she's eaten on her own. All of the Kaytee baby bird feed has been tubed with water that has the vitamin/electrolytes in it as well.

    What I've done so far with the tubing was a starting point that came from reading Casportpony's posts. Very helpful!

    Her poops seem to have improved a bit (but, I'm no expert) and they've been consistent, so maybe it's not a complete blockage? I'm just not sure how to proceed now.
     
    Bonniebooboo and orrpeople like this.
  8. orrpeople

    orrpeople Grading essays - be back soon!

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    Post a poop pic and maybe we can get @casportpony to take a look at it.
    Is She holding her head up okay? Does she appear to be in pain (hunched posture)?
    Tractor Supply should have the Nutridrench. If not, the children's vitamin poly-vi-sol without iron works too. Personally, I think you are doing all you can... There may be more antibiotic choice possibilities, but that is outside my expertise.
     
  9. PostageStampRanch

    PostageStampRanch In the Brooder

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    I'll work on getting the pics from my phone to BYC.

    She's holding her head up, boking, sitting, and standing. If she doesn't like something, it's not beyond her to fight a bit against it, so she still has some strength. Her tail is mostly down, but she's not fluffed up. Is there something else I could look for as a sign of pain?

    I'm not familiar with which/how much antibiotics work for which illnesses, either.

    Thank you again for taking the time to read and respond to my post!
     
    jacksonnotary likes this.
  10. orrpeople

    orrpeople Grading essays - be back soon!

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    Chickens are so good at masking their pain - the theory being that they can easily lose their place in the pecking order of even be ostracized from the flock for visible weakness. Hunching with tail down is about as "in pain" as they will ever show. They just move really slowly, sit a lot, and eventually struggle to maintain neck strength or keep their wings up. I've read a couple veterinary articles saying we often allow them to suffer too long because of their stoicism.
    Not that you're ready to think about this yet, but I've read this article a couple of times as I was at a crossroads with sick birds.
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/07/5-ways-to-prepare-for-chicken-illness/
     

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