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First timer with chickens and one is sick

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mamaofthree, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. mamaofthree

    mamaofthree New Egg

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    Jan 23, 2014
    This is my first time ever owning chickens, and never thought something would go wrong. I have a hen with a severly impacted crop. She (babygirl) is soooo skinny and her crop is the size of a baseball. I feel horrible. I have tried oil, and started with a baking soda mixed with water. And just now doing the apple vinegar with water. I am afraid I may be too late to save her and with pay day being so far away, a vet is clearly not an option right now. Does any one know what I can do??
     
  2. alaskanchickens

    alaskanchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How long has she had it? Is her crop hard or is it squishy feeling? Is it tender?
     
  3. mamaofthree

    mamaofthree New Egg

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    Jan 23, 2014
    She started feeling down a few weeks ago. but ever since she was a baby she was a little top heavy, so I never noticed anything with her. it is hard, and she is so skinny. She was eatng a few days ago. and she had been swinging her head back and forth, but I thought it was from the cold. I got her inside now in a box with a towel. She is atleast keeping warm. She wont even open her eyes
     
  4. alaskanchickens

    alaskanchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What type of bedding are you using? Some pine and cedar shavings are toxic to chickens and sometimes they will eat a piece of straw that basically gets coiled up and blocks everything else from emptying. When was the last time she ate? A few days ago? I'm not sure where your located so I don't know what time it is but birds have schedules, even if its light in a room or outside, they will still sleep.
     
  5. mamaofthree

    mamaofthree New Egg

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    I am in Minnesota, she ate a few days ago, its hard for me to watch them with as cold as its been here. Plus I am not the only one who goes out to take care of them. So when I noticed the severity of her condition, I brought her in and started working with her. She is still in a tote with her eyes closed and I have tried a few things. We use straw for their coop. I called a few vets, but no one really deals with chickens here I guess. I don't know why
     
  6. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    My Coop
    Is she pooping at all? If so, what does it look like?
    If you are able, a telltale sign would be to check her first thing in the morning, before she is off of the roost, to see if her crop is still very full. If it is, chances are it is not emptying properly.

    However, I see that she is now indoors and doing very poorly.

    Her side-to-side motions, almost like snaking her head back and forth? She is trying to adjust her crop and get the contents moving. It does sound like she's having problems there!

    There are a few things that can be happening. She could have an impacted crop, which means a physical blockage has occurred, and the crop has been unable to empty into the rest of the digestive tract. This often happens when chickens, for whatever chicken reasons, eat a wad of something such as straw, lots of long grasses, even one person had hers eat a bird's nest. This packed organic material is unable to be passed through and the crop becomes 'blocked' or impacted.
    This in turn can lead to a sour crop, as the food contents in the crop spoil because they are just sitting there. Like leaving food out in a tupperware on a hot summer day. So it becomes a double problem of the hen not getting any food into her system, and having rotting food in her crop.

    Another option is that there is a blockage or problem deeper in the digestive tract. Because of the anatomy of birds, there is not much that can be done without the assistance of a veterinarian in this case.

    Digestive system (image not mine, used for educational purposes only):
    [​IMG]
    Problems with the proventriculus or gizzard can include physical blockages, or complications due to illness or lymphomas. Again, sadly, there is not a whole lot you can do if the bird has a problem internally without the aid of a vet.

    If you are unable to massage and break up the mass in her crop so that it moves on, after several days, your options are greatly diminishing, as surely she is wasting away from lack of nutrition. Does she still drink? It's possible fluids may be able to get past the blockage. Maybe not though.
    If she really is bound up that bad, the only option may be a crop surgery. This is scary, and not to be taken lightly, so research it carefully if you decide to try it. But, if she isn't even opening her eyes, I suspect she is doing very poorly. She may not have much time. I'm not trying to scare you, but in her condition a decision may need to be made quickly.

    Maybe someone else will have some input or mention something I am forgetting that can help you!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
  7. alaskanchickens

    alaskanchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If she's still drinking and it has unpasteurized ACV in it, it will help if the feed in her crop is bound up and fermenting. The only other thing I could suggest is to soak a little of her layer or whatever pellets/crumbles shes on in water, a dash of ACV and feed her very very small amounts through a syringe and massage the crop gently to get it to empty. But use caution when feeding her, if she woke up with her crop still hard try massaging it for as long as she'll tolerate it but be very gentle. If she's super skinny, It sounds like she's had some degree of this condition for a while.
     
  8. mamaofthree

    mamaofthree New Egg

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    Jan 23, 2014
    She is not eating, she is just lifeless. Its so sad and heartbreaking. I did talk to the vet and the vet believes she is just to far gone. It is definitely her crop. She is still alive, barely. But now I feel bad just letting her lay there suffering. She wont drink, eat or even open her eyes. I tried a mixture of peanut butter like the vet said, but she did nothing.
     

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