Does hen have obstruction somewhere downstream of crop?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AbbyDog, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. AbbyDog

    AbbyDog Out Of The Brooder

    93
    1
    41
    Dec 2, 2010
    Hi, I need some advice. A couple of weeks ago, one of our 1 1/2 yr old hens showed the signs of an impacted crop. Her crop was totally hard with something- i thought at the time it might have been some broccoli. She was molting at the time, it was freezing outside and she was miserable. We brought her in, tried massage, oil, etc but after a week on a soft/liquid diet some of the hard lumps in her crop had disappeared but I could still feel something in there. So, we performed the crop surgery: cut her open and I pulled out a number of hard objects that were obviously not going anywhere. We finally determined that they were pieces of rind from a cooked pumpkin that the chickens had before Thanksgiving. See photo with penny for scale.

    Then, she spent the next week inside on a soft/liquid diet, (some yogurt, fine ground moistened crumble, some fruit) as I wanted to keep an eye on her. The wound healed very well, and she is back to her old obnoxious self and is very hungry- but something is still wrong. She just is not producing much poop, and what she does pass is very watery. Sadly, it seems as though she might have an obstruction SOMEWHERE downstream of the crop as her poops are basically water and are very infrequent- just a few a day. She has lost a lot of weight and I am worried. Yesterday afternoon I tried the molasses in the water with some applesauce- expecting a torrent of poo- but nothing overnight other than a little bit of greenish diahrea. This morning I gave her some more applesauce and then some oil-soaked soft bread- but her crop is now full and things just are not moving through at the rate that the other chickens are at. Some mornings it has seemed like she has completely cleared her crop, but other mornings there is still stuff in there from the night before. She is ravenous.

    I have massaged the heck out of her and am pretty sure that there is not still anything hard in her crop- but is it possible that one of the pieces of rind is somewhere in her tract blocking things up? Is there anything else that I can try, to stimulate her digestive track to clear it? My boyfriend suggested a cup of strong coffee [​IMG]

    Or, is it possible that her digestion is verrry slow for some other reason...? How long should it take for the molasses/applesauce to pass through? Should I be this worried?


    Any ideas would be appreciated, thanks!
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  2. AbbyDog

    AbbyDog Out Of The Brooder

    93
    1
    41
    Dec 2, 2010
    Sorry, here is the photo of the hard rind we pulled from Dolly's crop. The lesson is that chickens can bit off more than they can chew.




    [​IMG]

    And here is her most recent poop. i can see some stuff in there that she ate a couple of days ago. Does anyone know how long the digestive cycle should be in a chicken?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  3. AbbyDog

    AbbyDog Out Of The Brooder

    93
    1
    41
    Dec 2, 2010
    Anyone, any ideas? I hate to watch my hen just starve away.
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,094
    5,878
    701
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    These are all very good questions and need an answer right away so I am going to bump ya because I really don't have an answer for you, hope someone can help.
     
  5. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Are you offering your chickens grit? Not oyster shells - which they need also - but a grit from granite stone or a good mixed size of sand? Some birds are very picky about what they pick up for the gizzard and some will pick up anything shiny looking.



    The pumpkin rind is something that a healthy bird will be able to digest - passing easily from the crop, thru the proventriculus and into the gizzard and on to the intestines. (food is not digested in the crop - the crop is a thin skinned holding area/pouch for food) A healthy bird can digest a mouse - so a bit of rind is nothing.



    If the gizzard does not have enough grit to grind the food there can be problems. Some birds are more sensitive than others - just like people and all other living being. Without enough grit, you will often find whole pieces of food (grains, grasses) in the birds poop. Digestion will slow.


    I would offer her a small bowl or pan of grit. I would also feed her her regular pellets/crumbles but moisten them with water first. Commercial pellets/crumbles are fine/soft enough that the birds body can digest them without griding. All my birds LOVE the wet feed - I call it soup.
     
  6. AbbyDog

    AbbyDog Out Of The Brooder

    93
    1
    41
    Dec 2, 2010
    Yes, the hens do get grit. I was not giving this bird grit during and immediately after the crop obstruction, surgery, etc. as I was keeping her on a soft diet. I did gave her some last week with ground, moistened crumbles, but noticed it in her poop two days later. Is that normal? Does anyone know how long grit should stay in the gizzard?


    The rind that we removed from her crop was hard and stiff like bark or plastic.
     
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,094
    5,878
    701
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    sorry I have no idea.
     
  8. AbbyDog

    AbbyDog Out Of The Brooder

    93
    1
    41
    Dec 2, 2010
    Well, it's been two weeks since Dolly had the crop surgery, and she still has major problems.Yesterday afternoon I feed her a mush of banana, wet crumbles and well-cooked brown rice. She had access to grit, too. She was crazy ravenous. Her crop had a small but hard lump this morning, and there was diarrhea under her perch. At 7 am we gave her some olive oil and water with a syringe, and massaged her crop. Now, at 11:30, it is still super full and squishy. She has not passed anything resembling a normal poo in weeks, just watery diarrhea.

    It seems as though liquids are going through slowly, but not much solid. I am thinking that either I missed a piece of something hard in her crop when we had her open, or else she has an obstruction in her tract which is preventing the crop from emptying fully.

    This hen has lost so much weight, she cannot go on like this. Actually, in truth, neither can we. She is not acting like she feels bad- instead she is super active and angry- but I have her locked up in a small coop as she tries to fight with the others if i let her out (she was the dominant bird before).

    My options are to either cut her open again and see if there is something still blocking her crop, or just hope for the best (which is sort of what we have been doing for the past 2 weeks). I have tried to feel and determine if there is still anything hard within her crop (other than the food she ate recently) but she is so bony and thin that I can't make anything out.

    Anyone have any ideas, including any information on impacted gizzards, or how long it takes food to travel though a normal bird's digestive system?

    thanks very much.
     
  9. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Food to travel thru - about 12 hours from crop to poop. I know this because I remove feed at night from the birds I am going to process the next morning - and their entire system is basically "clean" with just a smidge of stuff in the gizzard (usually stemmy stuff that takes a bit longer to grind).


    I am sorry for your girl and wish I knew an answer.

    This very informative article might be helpful - http://www.ca.uky.edu/smallflocks/Factsheets/Anatomy_and_Physiology/Anatomy_digestive.pdf

    It
    talks about the workings of the chickens digetive tract. Maybe you can spot something in the article that seems "off" with her.



    I am wondering if maybe her system was starting to shut down before your surgery and so it is just very, very slow to start back up. Maybe probiotics (not sure on type or anything) would be helpful to her. Or if she ingested something in addition to the hard bits (screw, nail, some type of hardware) and is now showing the signs?


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. AbbyDog

    AbbyDog Out Of The Brooder

    93
    1
    41
    Dec 2, 2010
    That's a very good article about chicken digestion, thanks! Perhaps the obstruction is in the preventiculous as I can't really feel anything large and hard in her crop.

    It is really painful watching this hen get skinnier and skinnier while her crop takes forever to clear. This morning her crop had gone down but it seemed as though the liquid had gone through but there was still some solids left in it. i gave her some olive oil and water and massaged the crop- and that was four hours ago and it is still full. I don't think that she has pooped since then. yesterday, she did one small poop that looked almost normal- but the rest were the usual water with a brownish tinge. I wish that I could just call Roto-rooter!

    I have given her plain goat yogurt off and on for 2 weeks, and sprinkled some supplements that I found for birds called Ornabac on her food. I have not yet bought any acidophilus capsules but I guess that could be next.

    As far as a pre-existing condition goes- both birds had impacted crops were molting when I notice it. I wonder if they are particularly susceptible when molting. I know that the first bird got into trouble with grass clippings- which the others were OK with- but that taught me not to give them so much all at once.

    Yesterday, I found another bird who has really started to lose her feathers and was acting a little strange- and sure enough, I felt her crop and it was like a walnut. Horrified, i gave her some olive oil and water and massaged the lump until it freed up- but then this morning, it was the same- so it looks like I have a third on my hands. I wonder if she got some of the old hard rind, too. I am never going to trust my birds with that again.

    I would do the surgery right now on this one, but i am trying to get some lidocaine gel so that it is less painful for them first. My boyfriend is away, and I don't have a helper- so anything to reduce wriggling would be great.


    The only good news here is that the first hen that I operated on, about 6 weeks ago, just started laying again. Only problem with her is that she was away from the others for so long that they won't let her back in the flock and so she is preferring to hang out with me and the dog in the house.
    thanks for your help....
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by