Help! Sick chicken, fluid filled crop. Our Chickens are dying!!!!! PLEASE HELP!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LongMtChickens, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. LongMtChickens

    LongMtChickens New Egg

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    Jul 30, 2016
    hello,
    unfortunately in the past month we have lost 4 birds. We are not entirely sure why they are dying. It starts with them being lethargic and mopey. By the next day their cones are pale in color or become deep in red color. Out of the 4 hens, we had 2 continue to pick and scratch at their feed but seem to not eat a lot. After reading about the sour crop issues, I am wondering if this could be whats happening to them? They breathe heavy, tilt their heads forward, we can feel the fluid filled pocket in their chest/crop area. We have tried to gently massage the crop, causing the birds to vomit, (some have a clear fluid, some are tinted in color) the birds pass away while vomiting. We are tilting them forward, just as every forum we read tells us too. We are putting Apple Cider vinegar in their water. They aren't free ranging as much as we would like them too, as we have a horrible hawk issue. One of these birds started with the swollen abdomen, from fluid, which we drained, she seemed to be doing better, then the following day, the fluid started building in the chest area and she too vomited and passed. 3 of the hens have had the fluid "leak" from their beaks before vomited and passing away. We feel terrible. PLEASE anything you can do to help us figure out what is happening to our birds would be greatly appreciated!! We are thinking it could be a "sour crop", however what is causing this to happen?? The hens are between the ages of 2 and 4 years. We have seen a decrease in eggs (we have 20 hens and we only receive 6-7 eggs daily at the most). Could it be something feeding them?? We have 2 roosters in the coop, could they be over stressing the hens? Roosters are friendly.
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC
    What type of foods/treats are you feeding them?
    Do they have access to grit?

    It almost sounds like they are aspirating on their vomit.
    Are the crops not emptying at all? Full crop at night - empty crop by morning?
    What does the poop look like?
    Any smell to the liquid in that comes out of the beak - does it smell sour?

    You mention one hen that had fluid in her abdomen that you drained - did she have Peritonitis?
    Are all the hens between 2-4yrs old and how long have you had them?
    Have you treated them for worms?

    If you suspect sour crop, don't give any more ACV at this time. Feed only wet chicken feed and no treats. Give plain fresh water.

    With a loss of so many birds in such a short period of time, you really need to consider sending one for necropsy so you can find out what is going on.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/impacted-slow-and-sour-crops-prevention-and-treatments

    Necropsy and State labs
    http://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
    http://www.usaha.org/Portals/6/StateAnimalHealthOfficials.pdf
     
  3. LongMtChickens

    LongMtChickens New Egg

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    Jul 30, 2016
    Thank you so much for responding! Here our the answers to your questions:


    What type of foods/treats are you feeding them? Agway Egg Layer Pellets, we were giving the Agway Scratch Grains, we found out we could have been feeding them too much so we stopped giving this. They get some grit mixed in with their pellets, how much do you think we should be giving them? The instructions on the bag seem like you barely give them any-its 2 cups per 50lbs of egg layer pellets, they seem to push the grit aside. We also give them food scraps, left over garden salads, friut peels and pieces, bread, left over corn on the cob...(we have cut way back on the bread and corn intake we heard this may be hard for them to digest.)

    Do they have access to grit? See above

    It almost sounds like they are aspirating on their vomit. Agreed, they seem to once they are able to vomit i think this is whats happening, however what is causing the fluid to start pooling to begin with? i feel they are forced to vomit, as it is making it hard for them to breathe.

    Are the crops not emptying at all? Some seem to be emptying on most birds, the ones that start to show signs of lethargic, when I feel the crop it seems full, it is in the evenings when we discover it, when we check bird again in the morning the corp seems full still, then by the evening the bird is very mopey having trouble breathing and usually passes before the next morning.

    Full crop at night - empty crop by morning? See above-unaffected birds seem to be emptying overnight
    What does the poop look like? We have 25 (ish) birds, some of them have harder poop brown in color, streaked with white. One have softer poop, brighter brown in color, almost like a diarrhea. When we clean the coop we aren't sure who is leaving what droppings.
    Any smell to the liquid in that comes out of the beak - does it smell sour? One we did notice a sour smell when she was vomiting, it was yellowish/brownish vomit, the others we arent sure if it smells, maybe slightly but not as strong as the above.

    You mention one hen that had fluid in her abdomen that you drained - did she have Peritonitis? Im not sure, she was swollen all around her belly abdominal area, when i left her i could feel the fluid, I checked her numerous times a day before making the choice to drain her, every time i checked her the fluid was more, this made me try the draining. I probably got 50cc of fluid out. It looked a lot like urine. She was the only one out of the 4 birds that had the fluid in the belly area. THen it moved to her chest/crop.
    Are all the hens between 2-4yrs old and how long have you had them? Yes they all are. We purchased them from our Agway feed store as chicks. Some we have hatched from over the last few years. We rescued our rooster from a local farm, he fathered some our the chicks-the ones we have hatched. The ones that have passed 2 were from Agways (4 yrs old), one we hatched she was 2 years old, and the last was 2 years old another AGway chick.
    Have you treated them for worms? No we haven't, should we? How would we treat them? What sign should we look for to know that they have worms?

    Thank you so much for your help!!!
     
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    A video of the sick ones may be helpful, you can post it here or give a link to youtube - not everyone has facebook so if it's posted there, you will limit viewing.

    Can you separate the sick ones so you can monitor their food/water intake and their poop?
    If you have a vet they can do a fecal float if you take a poop sample to them, they can check for worms, cocci and any bacterial infections.

    IMO grit should be available free choice and not mixed with feed. Chickens don't need a lot of grit, so mixing with the feed is usually not necessary.

    For the sick ones, feed only the layer feed wet - mix it with water to make a mash. If you feel like they need a "treat" give them some hard boiled egg.

    Are the ones that are sick still laying eggs? Peritonitis can affect older layers and cause fluids to build in the system.
     

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