Help! Exploded eggs, naked chests, possible sour crop!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by akhadley, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. akhadley

    akhadley Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2014
    I feel like it never ends with my birds!

    My RIR Pearl has always been a bit of a pig compared to her fellow EE female and her crop has always been kind of big and soft. But I opened up the coop this afternoon and found an almost exploded looking egg (see photo) and the shell didn't seem fully formed. It almost had the texture of a reptile egg, but made crunchy sounds when I poked at it. So I immediately started checking out the girls, just visually because they don't like to be held that much. I decided it was Pearl because she had a bunch of poo stuck on her leg and feathers hanging off around that area too (however, as you can see the egg shell is not brown but more white which is closer to my EE eggs which are pale pale blue). I got a hold of her and checked her vent, no problem, but when I checked her crop it felt very large, round, and soft soft soft. No crunchy feeling of layer feed or anything. I haven't been feeding any real soft treats in the past days either. And then I realized that her whole crop area was bald! Her upper feathers cover it, but there are no feathers left on the crop area at all (see photo).

    So now I'm just super confused and worried. Both girls seem fine. Are eating, running around, not lethargic or anything.

    What does the egg situation mean?

    What does the bald chest mean?

    What do I do about a sour crop? Is that what's going on with her? Her chest/beak don't smell sour or bad. Where I live I doubt there is a vet willing to actually do surgery and I refuse to try and do something like that myself. I didn't know there was anything called pendulous crop, could that be what it is? I read that it can happen due to overeating and he is a pig. It's just her and another hen and she is very dominant/kinda mean towards the EE (i.e. eats first, eats a lot ...) And if it is pendulous what do I do about that?

    Please please please help.

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    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
  2. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Ok, let's take this step by step.

    First up: The bald chest. Have you noticed her spending more time than usual in the nest lately? And is her favourite nest full of feathers? I am wondering if she is going broody on you. I know she is a RIR but so are two of my Broody Hens! All of my girls plucked out their chest feathers before they went broody, exactly like in your picture. Don't be surprised if in the next week or two she refuses to get out of her nest box, puffs up her feathers and growls at you! The reason behind the feather plucking is so that when they are sitting on their eggs, they are able to regulate the temperature better if the eggs are flush to their skin. Either way, she doesn't look red and irritated like she would if she had a serious lice or mite infestation, so I think she might have done this one to herself. In that case, nothing to worry about. They will grow back eventually.

    Next: The egg situation. It is not unusual for a hen to lay a soft shelled egg occasionally, and it's also not unusual for those eggs to be slightly paler in colour than normal. They will do it for various reasons, including if they are new layers or if they are getting to the end of their egg laying career. Sometimes a lack of calcium can be the culprit too. The important thing to remember is that it should be an occasional occurrence, not a regular event. If that's the case, it's nothing to worry about. It looks like the whole egg was expelled, in which case she should be ok. I will get the occasional soft shelled egg from my girls too - the shell is sort of hard enough to hold the egg together, but quite papery to the touch. Make sure you remove all traces of it though, as the last thing you want is for someone to develop a taste for yummy eggs!

    Finally: The crop. Now this is the area I'm not so experienced in, despite having just lost a girl to sour crop myself. If her breath is not nasty smelling, that's good sign. It could just be that she has had a good feed and a big drink, and that's what you're feeling in her crop. I would make a point of checking her as soon as you go to your coop in the morning to see if her crop has emptied out. If so, you don't have an issue. I can't help but think that if she is eating, drinking and not lethargic she can't be too unwell. A hen with an impacted crop will generally present as looking fairly unwell, and she doesn't look too bad to me. I'm sort of in the 'wait and see' boat on this one, but maybe some more experienced chicken owners might have other suggestions.

    My best wishes to you.

    Krista
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
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  3. akhadley

    akhadley Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2014
    Thanks so much! Honestly, I know I'm a little crazy about these things but it really does help just to hear what others have to say instead of listening to my own crazy thoughts and worries. I have noticed feathers in the run, but always thought they were from my EE because they were white-ish (she's gray/black) but maybe they were Pearl's. Maybe she's eating her own feathers? I've read they can do that sometimes because there is a deficiency in their food intake. I'll keep an eye on her.

    Good to know that this egg situation happens sometimes. And it was exactly how you described it.

    I checked her crop first thing this morning before letting them free range and its basically down to being flat again. A little mushy feeling I guess but absolutely nowhere near what it was last night, which was like the size of a baseball. Just to be safe I fed them some yogurt and hard boiled egg just for easily digestible food for the day.

    Thanks so much for your help, it really put me at ease!
     
  4. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,576
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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    No problems, I'm glad to hear she is doing ok. Sometimes I think we take it for granted just how much they can actually eat in a day - mine quite often go off to bed with bulging crops. As long as they go back to normal by the morning they are usually ok.

    Your girl could be eating her feathers, but my gut tells me she is going broody. That sort of plucking is usually associated with a broody hen, and they will pluck their feathers out (in a very determined manner!) to feather their nests for the coming chicks. My girls took all their feathers out a couple of weeks before they went broody. At first I thought "What in the name of fire.....?" and then all of a sudden it was on - there was a puffy, fluffed out, flat as a pancake, angry broody looking up at me from the nest!

    Do keep an eye on her, but as long as her behaviour is normal (eating, drinking, pooping, exercising, socialising) she should be fine. And don't worry - I stress about my girls too!

    Krista
     

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