Go team "Tube Feeding!" - Updated 12/29/2019

casportpony

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Best tube feeding video:
The link above requires a login, but I have the video saved to my drive and can email it if anyone wants it.

Two great threads on how to tube feed:

From Technical Procedures for the Avian Patient, by
Amy B. Johnson, CVT

Crop Feeding
Crop feeding is the main way to provide nutritional support to sick birds. There are many different formulas on the market including; Harrison’s, Kaytee Exact, Zupreem and Pretty Bird. Kaytee Exact makes a formula exclusively for macaws, which require a higher fat content. Crop feeding should only be administered to well hydrated, normothermic birds that are able to stand on their own. Formula should be mixed to an appropriate thickness to provide adequate caloric intake and should be administered at a temperature between 100˚-102˚F. Crop burns can happen at temperatures greater than this and are often not seen for several days. Symptoms of a bird with a crop burn are decreased appetite and drooling. If the burn is severe enough, a fistula will open in the crop and formula will drain from it.

When crop feeding a bird, calculate the volume to be fed at 3ml per 100gms up to every six hours for adults. Juveniles are fed 10 percent of their body weight several times a day. Always check the crop first for food contents or decreased crop motility before feeding. Weighing the bird at the beginning of every day will help determine if it is receiving the appropriate amount of calories.

Crop feeder or crop needles come in several different sizes depending on the size bird. Crop feeders are stainless steel tubes with a ball at the end. They can be purchased through www.vetspecialtyproducts.com. The bird should be restrained properly while the crop feeder is inserted in the bird’s left side of its mouth and directed toward the right side advancing into the crop. The trachea should be palpated separate from the crop feeder with the ball of the crop feeder in the crop. Once placement is confirmed and with the esophagus occluded by the head, the formula is given quickly. While maintaining occlusion of the esophagus the crop feeder is removed and the bird returned to the cage feet first and slowly letting go of the head, making sure the bird does not regurgitate. In the event that the bird should begin regurgitation, leave the bird alone. Aspiration is more likely to happen if the bird is stressed causing increased respiration and inhalation of formula. Monitor the bird for further respiratory signs and adjust technique or volume at next attempt at crop feeding.
 

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casportpony

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Just wanted to share some crop feeding videos that I found.

Crop feeding videos

These are using a crop needle, not a plastic tube.

This one uses a tube like I use

The hardest part is getting them to hold still. Ducks have a different shaped crop, so that's probably why you can't feel it filling. Duck looks like the one on the left:








-Kathy
 
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Krayfish57

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Feb 1, 2013
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I am a hospital clinician (respiratory therapist) so I am familiar with suction catheters, G-tubes, trache tubes. Where do I find a crop feeding tube/catheter? What size French for a 5 lb chicken? This is extremely informative and detailed.
 

casportpony

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I am a hospital clinician (respiratory therapist) so I am familiar with suction catheters, G-tubes, trache tubes. Where do I find a crop feeding tube/catheter? What size French for a 5 lb chicken? This is extremely informative and detailed.

Most vets will have them, but you could also use aquarium air hose or waterline for refrigerators, just heat the end of the tube with a lighter so there are no sharp edges. The size I use most is a 18 French, anything smaller and it's too hard to syringe food through. Have used an 18 on my 500 gram bantams, so I know it's not too big for your girl, lol.

-Kathy
 

Sarevan

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Sep 30, 2013
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The "tube feeding kit" I found was at Coastal Farm and Ranch. It was tagged as tube feeding for lambs. It is a size 14 french catheter and a large syringe. They had smaller and larger sizes. It was between 3-4 bucks, extra syringe was about a dollar.

So far I have used it on several chickens. I clean it after each use, flushing it out with boiling water, and then run some ACV through it, then rinse again with boiling water. I dry it, then store in a ziplock bag to keep it ready for next patient.

This item has been so useful, flushing out a sour crop, adding water/oil to impacted crop, feeding an Ill bird, getting meds into a bird. The large syringes help in cleaning vent area, feeding without the tube, use when giving by dripping into mouth several birds at once.

So far the syringes and tube have been the most used items in my kit.
 

casportpony

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I use mine just about every day, lol (long story). I have found that anything smaller than an 18 is too small for thicker mixtures, I actually use a 30 when I tube crumbles, otherwise it's a 18 for anyt bird over 400 grams. Jeffers also sells a lamb saver kit, but I don't know what size tube it is. http://www.jefferspet.com/weak-kid-syringe/camid/LIV/cp/S7-W6/cn/330/
 

Sarevan

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White Swan, WA
I found out tonight that the 14 is too small to feed liquefied crumbles or pellets, it just plugged up unless I cut off the tip. I made due will get a larger one tomorrow. A friend of mine uses surgical tubing but I think it expands too much.
 

casportpony

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I found out tonight that the 14 is too small to feed liquefied crumbles or pellets, it just plugged up unless I cut off the tip. I made due will get a larger one tomorrow. A friend of mine uses surgical tubing but I think it expands too much.
Even an 18 is too small for crumbles unless you put them in a blender first. I'm too lazy, so I use "big Bertha", the 30... Takes less than three mintutes to make the mixture, catch the bird and tube 120ml-180ml (2-3 60ml syringes for the bigger birds).

*Start off giving 2-3 ml per 100 grams of body weight and slowly work up to 5 ml per 100 grams of body weight. The average 5 pound hen should get 45-70 ml to start.
 
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