HELP!! hen is lethargic and not eating

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by codowd, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. codowd

    codowd New Egg

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    Sep 9, 2009
    My little 3+ month old Rhode island Red is lethargic, hardly eats or drinks and has a weird pale yellow and clear poop.
    This is the 3rd day. She was happy and healthy on Wednesday! Any ideas on what this is???
    Thanks:(
     
  2. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'm having a hard time getting a picture of what is happening. Do you have pictures of the poop (as disgusting as that sounds)?

    You said 3+ months. Is that a pretty close estimate of her age? Or are you unsure of her age?

    How long have you had her? Where did you get her?

    As much info as possible about what she eats (when she does eat) and where she lives will help.

    My first thought is the possibility of a crop problem. Have you felt her crop? Does she have an odor from her mouth?
     
  3. codowd

    codowd New Egg

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    Okay, the scariest thing just happened. I picked her up to check her crop to see if it was swollen, and she through up this brownish
    water. Her crop (I think) was full of liquid. Now she is barely alive!!

    [​IMG]
     
  4. AmyBella

    AmyBella Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Poor thing! I wonder if she has been drinking a lot without you seeing her? The poop could be water and urates. Does her crop feel big and squishy?
     
  5. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That sounds to me like sour crop. Does her mouth sort of stink? Probably her crop was a little impacted, and the contents started decaying while still in the crop.

    I will start looking too because i think i have some information collected, but if you do a search for sour crop, here on BYC, you will find some information.

    Will post again soon with more info.

    You may also want to change your thread title to indicate that you need advice for sour crop. I'm sure that you will need to act fast.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here are some helpful threads. I have simply quoted the advice of others who have more experience than i do.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=224315&p=2
    Let me see if I have this right - did you put the bird on any grit before giving the scratch? (Oyster shell doesn't count - it dissolves). If not, I'd suspect that she doesn't have grit in there and that her system backed up.

    Another thing is that any time you keep birds away from food, they're going to binge and eat until their crops are full like that. In her case, you want to keep crumbles in front of her all the time, free choice. Since she's possibly having crop issues, do not let her have any food that isn't very easily dissolved. In other words, if you put it in a glass of water and walk away for 10 minutes, you should come back and find it kind of puddled at the bottom of the glass. This means that boiled egg yolks are good (if mixed with water) but whites and scrambled eggs are not. Crumbles for now are good, scratch is off limits until she's well. Oatmeal is ok if you process it dry in the food processor before cooking.

    Also be quite certain that you're really seeing impacted crop as the crop storage area is *supposed* to mix food and water so that the feed is wet before it goes into the proventriculus. So it will feel squishy like that in the summer when birds are drinking a lot of water and eating feed, especially if they binge.

    This also means that if she feels light weight, you will want to add another feeding station so she has a place to go freely any time to eat and doesn't have to wait until other birds are out of the way. Otherwise she'll wait and binge.

    Make sure tonight one last time by removing her food tonight. Then see if her crop is empty mostly or still full very early in the morning. Then *slowly* introduce feed back starting with a small amount of a damp mash including yogurt, water, crumbles. You could add a little boiled/mashed egg yolk, and a 1/2 teaspoon of babyfood applesauce to help clear out her system if it's slow. After she finishes the small amount of damp mash, give her some more then wait 10 minutes to let her feel full. And then finally give her the dry mash free choice and keep it there.

    If the crop is still full in the morning, you will want to do the baking soda flush followed by a week of easily dissolved feeds, OACV in the water (1 teaspoon per gallon), and no solid feeds with that yogurt-damp-mash every day during that time, and of course keeping crumbles in front of her all the time after the first fast.

    Feeding the crumbles first after the fast as a dampened mash will help it to go through to the next stages of the digestive tract more easily. It won't have to sit in crop storage until she drinks enough water.
    Last edited by threehorses (08/04/2009 5:55 pm)
    Nathalie Ross [email protected]
    (http://hoovesandfeathers.homestead.com/index.html in progress)

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=212502

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=228248
    First, if her crop hasn't emptied, she is impacted. Has she ever had access to grit? If not, she and all the other birds should always have that before ever having access to anything like grass, etc. And the pebbles in the environment aren't necessarily sufficient as they have different hardnesses and dissolvabilities. They can have plenty of pebbles, but that doesn't mean that the pebbles will stay whole long enough in the gizzard to digest foods. Because of the great deal of improvement in food digestion and weight gain and health when propert granite (hard) type grit is given, it's worth the 5 dollars to buy some. You'll get your money back within 3 months in feed utilization and prevention of issues like this.

    IN the mean time, she will need the crop emptied out if it doesn't empty today. Feed sitting in there is rotting. That means that whatever dribbles through will be filled with bacteria and fungus. That's likely why she has the diarrhea - her good bacteria are now compromised, she's getting no nutrition, and the bad bacteria are taking over.

    She will also need to have nothing to eat but easily dissolved feeds for the next week. To test, if you can put it in a glass of water for 10 minutes and come back to find it collapsed you can feed it. If not don't feed it. These include: pellets made into "crumbles" in the blender, yogurt, boiled (not scrambled) egg yolk (not whites), a little applesauce (baby food type is best and cheapest) to help cleanse the crop, perhaps some crustless bread if you need it to carry something like oil. Cooked oatmeal, too, IF you put the dry uncooked oatmeal in the food processor and break it down into tiny particles before cooking.

    The yogurt's living bacteria help replace the ones that the toxic sludge seeping from her crop into her digestive tract are killing. They also help act against yeast/fungi blooms which are almost the rule in backed up crops.

    The applesauce gently cleanses while providing pectin to keep the GOOD bacteria happy. Its pH is conducive to good bacteria thriving, bad bacteria and yeast not thriving. It's easily dissolved and chickens like it.

    Boiled egg yolks: filled with nutrition yet easily dissolved, unlike whites or scrambled eggs. Will absorb easily so that she doesn't starve.

    Oatmeal: soothing to the gut; birds love it, so it helps hide healthy stuff.

    Vitamins: polyvisol non-iron fortified baby vitamins; found in the vitamin section (not baby section) of Walmart, CVS, etc. Because they're not in the water, they are more readily available and direct when given by mouth. You KNOW she's getting them. B vitamins in it will encourage her appetite, E will help inflammation and against some bacteria, A will heal her mucus lining of her crop and digestive tract.

    Whether or not you empty her crop, you also would be well served by adding organic apple cider vinegar to her water for a week to help cleanse the sludge, prevent too much yeast from forming (which will just make the crop more slow), and provide living bacteria to help the digestive system not be too poisoned.

    I'm also with dawn on not giving too much oil. They will only emulsify with whatever is in there and cause issues.

    She will need vitamins as she's not getting nourished as the food is stuck and rotting.

    So a treatment (provided her crop empties mostly) would be something like this for a week:

    Oil only once a day on a tiny piece of bread.
    A daily damp mash of crumbles, yogurt, boiled egg yolk, (and apple sauce every other day). Possibly some cooked oatmeal powder
    3 drops of polyvisol vitamins in her beak once daily. NOT in the water or food.
    OACV in the water (1 teaspoon per gallon of water)
    Free choice crumbles.

    Re-evaluate after four days, possibly allowing some gentle solid foods to be introduced slowly and grit at that time. NO grass, NO free range as they will only compound your problems.

    Incidentally, no - sand is not big enough. Test: get sand, try to grind up grass or corn with it. it doesn't work. Offer a little more grit - free choice. I'd also highly recommend oyster shell because even Layena is only designed for a scientifically average hen, while "real life" hens can sometimes need as much as double the calcium offered in the average laying product. The manufacturers can't put double calcium in because it would poison the hens that are average or need below average. So we offer oyster shells (not egg shells) because they're an easily dissolvable form of calcium that is very easily absorbed and the chickens are drawn to it. The feed takes care of the phosphorus and vitamin D required to dissolve the oyster shell. If you do this, your new layers (like this pullet will be) will not having near the sort of laying issues they would with no oyster shell provided. It's been the standard for decades, even centuries at this point - despite all new scientific options - it's still the one of choice even by professionals. And it's cheap. Much less expensive than antibiotics for peritonitis caused by soft eggs. I just put mine with the grit, or in a two-hole cat feeder. (I bought mine at the dollar store - they don't tip, they're the right size, etc etc. ) Hope this helps!
    Last edited by threehorses (08/12/2009 10:15 pm)
    Nathalie Ross [email protected]
    (http://hoovesandfeathers.homestead.com/index.html in progress)

    Based on that advice and my impression of your situation (and not personal experience), i think i would do that baking soda flush asap - and then see if you can feel and find what is blocking her up. Nathalie is very well-versed in matters of chicken care. No one's perfect, but I would put a lot of trust in her advice.​
     
  7. codowd

    codowd New Egg

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Thank you soo much for all the advice. I just hope I am not too late!
     
  8. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm definitely rooting for you. Let us know how it goes.
     
  9. codowd

    codowd New Egg

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Well, the poor thing died. She definitely had an enlarged crop that was full of brownish liquid.
    I want to thank all who helped with advice. She was my son's pet and he will really miss her:(
     
  10. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry. [​IMG]
     

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