force feeding?

kimb

Songster
10 Years
Nov 30, 2009
380
1
119
New Hampshire
Has anyone ever "force fed" their chickens....

I have a little silkie chick (the one that had the swollen eyes) ... her eyes have come down but she's undoubtedly partially, if not completely blind. She seems to have a hard time eating (she pecks around quite a bit) but she doesn't seem to want to eat the 1grower crumbles (she does better with starter sized feed so I've been using that)... but she's just not eating/drinking like she should.

If I use a syringe and squirt the water at the side of her mouth - she drinks/swallows- so I was thinking of using baby food and doing the same kind of thing.

She's really mellow and lethargic and doesn't really want to move around - so I'm hoping that if I get food back into her she'll perk up... but she's been in the "chick hospital" for almost 2 months now ...

I've been feeding mixed chopped (small) veggies and hard boiled eggs (chopped small too)... she nibbles but she hasn't had a full crop in quite some time ...

suggestions?
 

chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
77
216
Olympia WA
Have you tried feeding her crumbles mixed with yogurt, so it clumps together and is easier for them to eat? Here is an article on force-feeding:
http://www.avianweb.com/tubefeeding.html
Unfortunately BYC has just purged the pre 2010 posts, it is impossible to search earlier posts, but you can still look for stuff on google. I would really think hard about her quality of life if you can't get her to eat on her own quickly.
 

CrazyCatNChickenLady

Songster
10 Years
Jan 23, 2010
800
8
131
Berry Creek, Ca
I have a sick little chick I'm hand feeding now. I posted questions but no one really gave me the answers I needed so my previous vet-tech expirience kicked in.

I mix HOT water with crumbles til I get the right consistancy. LET COOL til its just warm and suck it up into a syringe(or pull off the back and push food into it). (like your doing with the water). put it on the side of her beak and see what she does. mine eats it. I have now switched to spoon feeding it to her and I kind of have to encourage her to eat by pushing it up to her beak. she's learning! besides that I also syring feed her plain yogurt(as much as she'll take 2-4 times a day, usually 2-2 1/2 ml's) and a few drops of vitamins since she's not eating well. the cultures in the yougurt should help balance out her stomach and has seemed to make mine more hungry. besides that I'm also giving her scrambled eggs. I think anything besides crumbles and eggs doesn't have enough nutrition in it that she needs to thrive.

I was advised to syringe feed as much as you can get her to eat and by my own expirience as often as possible. the more I feed her (also the more plain yougurt) the more she wants to eat on her own. She wont get up to eat so I leave food right in front of her.

Good luck and I hope this helped you!!
 

Kung Foo Chicken

Songster
11 Years
Sep 11, 2008
759
8
141
Upstate, South Carolina
My dad's EE chick had terrible cocci that took a long time to work with.
I had to carry him around for two months and feed him with a syringe.
I mixed chick crumbles into a consistency of very runny oatmeal sometimes a little avian vitamins.
Fed through a syringe with just small squirts (something like 1.5-2.0 cc. at a time.
Take your fingernail and open the beak a bit and slow squirt into the mouth.
Try not to squeeze in if they are freaked out and screaming because they will choke on it.
Kind of comfort the bird while doing it.
 

kimb

Songster
10 Years
Nov 30, 2009
380
1
119
New Hampshire
Thanks everyone...

she is eating (well I should say "snacking") she just doesn't seem to consume enough to really get her FULL.

I had been putting nutri-drench in her water (but now I've resorted to a couple drops every couple days) it seems to help get her more active and I did bring her outside with her "sister" in a small exercise pen and she did scratch and peck around ...

I think I'm going to stick to the small crumbles since with the egg... I didn't want to give her yogurt (because I had given her tetracycline) and in case I had to do another bout of antibiotics I couldn't feed the yogurt. .. I think Iam going to go in with the applesauce though ... see if that attracts her tastebuds attention
wink.png
...

And she has been getting a probiotic mixed in her water about 1x a week ...

It is very heart breaking - and I am entirely for quality of life over quantity ... but I don't think she's ready to give up yet, I feel like she's almost in "hibernation" in that she seems to consume "just enough" to hold her over ...

- she's a sweetie, but she is MUCH smaller than the others and 5 months old and her foot feathers are JUST starting to come in.
 

CrazyCatNChickenLady

Songster
10 Years
Jan 23, 2010
800
8
131
Berry Creek, Ca
Hi just seeing how your little one is doing? (Mine just wasn't strong enough to make it.
sad.png
)

I would think that you might want to give yogurt to help build up her gut-flora (good bacteria) as the antibiotics probably killed off the bad bacteria and alot of the good. your choice though because as you said if you do have to do another round of antibiotics you wouldn't want to be feeding her yogurt.

ETA: nevermind. I re-read and thats what the probiotic is huh?!!!
 
Last edited:

Kiwibird

Crowing
13 Years
Jan 24, 2008
730
1,947
447
NZ
I have a chick that was trying to open its shell against the top of the incubator - I didn't realise the egg was too tall for this particular incubator until the problem arose. So the chick got a bit stuck and a bit shrink wrapped. I am not happy with its development as it does not seem to eat and drink enough. I am trying syringing food as discussed on this thread.

I am not a co-ordinated person! If I get the beak open with my finger nail as mentioned, I find it really hard holding chick, beak and syringe, to get the syringe in place before the bird shuts its beak. Any tips?

I am then taking the syringe out while the chick swallows the mouthful and repeating. Is that the best way?
 

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