HELP! Sour crop questions.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Signofthethistle, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Signofthethistle

    Signofthethistle In the Brooder

    Mar 17, 2011
    I have a ISA Brown hen, about 9mo old who I believe has sour crop. I have read many of the posts here about this issue but still have a couple of questions/miss-givings about it.

    I noticed my hen had a bulging,swollen crop about 2 days ago as I was closing up the coop for the night. She was wandering around the run acting just as silly as the rest of our flock (8 others) and was eating and drinking regularly. I give them some scratch when closing up, in the run to help mix our litter and also to keep their systems going in the night. I live in Canada and it can get quite cold over the winter. I came inside and looked things up on this fabulous site, then immediately went back out and grabbed her.

    She came inside to the dog kennel, where all the sick chickens go to keep away from our cats and 3 dogs - all who are overly curious about their new housemate. We lined the kennel with newspaper and offered water with a vitamin supplement which I give them all winter.

    From reading on line, her crop felt like a water balloon underneath the skin and was just massive. That first night her crop was near the size of a grapefruit/softball size. She seriously looked like Dolly Par ton. I upended her and massaged the contents. OMG the smell. It was just horrible. She was quite calm the whole time and just let me do my thing. I let her breath in between of course.

    The next morning I changed her water and bedding, gave her some olive oil via syringe (not the easiest thing to do with a chicken!!) and again upended the poor dear and again forced out the foul smelling liquid. By this time the crop looked much better and she looked almost like a normal chicken. Once the liquid and swelling was gone I could still feel gritty like golf ball sized matter in there. I gave more olive oil that night and massaged (not vomited) the crop.

    Day 2 I gave her some strawberry yogurt and she ate it up like she was starving. I mixed some more olive oil into the crop and massaged it before and after she ate. I did notice she was moving her head/breast up and down like she was trying to burp or swallow something. She would do this once or twice then go back to being a chicken.

    Day 3 (today) I gave her some scrambled egg/yogurt/olive oil mixture and again she jumped all over it and just devoured it. I noticed around suppertime that she was talking to herself and scratching away at the newspaper. When I went in I noticed the stupid bird was eating the paper. Does she not realize that she has sour crop and I'm trying to fix it??? gaaaah.
    Because she was clearly hungry I gave her a little more of the scrambled egg with some olive oil. jumped into the bowl and happily sat there eating everything. She certainly has all her wits about her, personality is still there and she's quite active and jumping all over the cage. Since she was back to somewhat solid foods I also gave her a small bowl of the limestone, she ate a couple mouthfuls of that as well. She was fed around 10am and again at 5, at the later feeding her crop was larger and felt squishy.

    She did lay an egg the first and second day, but both were quite disfigured in their shells. I haven't gotten one today. The yolks were fine and the pups enjoyed the treat!

    On day two with the yogurt her crop and breast looked like they were back to normal. I could still feel the harder gritty lump that i'd felt the previous day and that morning after inducing her to vomit.

    On day 3 (today) it looks like her crop is getting larger again with the introduction to more solid food. It's the size of a tennis ball and feels quite squishy. It's no where near the swollen feel as the first night but I think it's larger than it aught to be. However, she has been eating a liquidy diet for the past couple of days with water. Not too much there to make a crop feel anything but squishy.

    On bringing her into the kennel on the first night/day she had perfectly normal poos. Day 2 they were quite watery, I can assume this is because she had no food and only on water, and day 3 they are again quite watery with smaller portions of normal looking poo. She has had no grains and nothing but water, olive oil, egg and yogurt (and a small amount of paper....).

    I'm wondering how long it is going to take for her to go back to normal, how long should I keep her on the above diet, how big should her crop be/feel on this diet and how do I know if it's working. Also, how long will it take, if the problem was dislogged, for her to digest the contents and get back to normal??

    Through this whole process she has been drinking well, energetic and yells her displeasure at being in the kennel whenever someone walks by and is in hearing distance (this is normal for her..... again, stupid chicken!)

    Any information would be awesome! I'd really like to get this girl back in fighting spirit. I've already lost 2 hens this year from my already small enough flock and really don't want to loose anymore (one to a predator and one to egg paritonitis). I've also read that some chicken owners have to do surgery on the crop. I really would NOT want to do this.

    I should also mention that my hens have straw as bedding in their coop and I use the deep litter method. I don't use wood chips as when I did they would be running around sneezing their heads off and were always pecking at their feet. They didn't seem like it much and were quite happy when I changed to straw. I'm not certain but this might have caused the issue with the crop in the first place since its the middle of the winter and there is nothing but snow growing in their run.

    All help would be awesome as I think she's growing tired of me poking around her body all the time and eating nothing but yogurt!!

    Cheers and thanks!

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