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hen neck shimmy -- what is going on??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by thejoyofchicks, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. thejoyofchicks

    thejoyofchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 7, 2012
    one of my 2 yo buff orpingtons seems to have a strange "shimmy" motion she is doing with her neck. kind of a back and forth like an egret eyeing a lizard... or maybe a hula dancer? this has just begun today. noticed it earlier but thought she was just working some food down, saw her doing it again just now.

    i haven't gotten a chance to examine her yet. will try to grab her when i close the girls up for the night.

    she has been going through a major moult, but otherwise should be healthy. wormed them a couple months ago, and i don't think it's gapeworm.

    any ideas? should i be worried that she's got something stuck in her throat?
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Generally this maneuver is seen being done by hens with blocked crops, or crop impaction.

    I'd check her crop and see whether it feels abnormally hard or has an abnormally solid mass in it, even if the mass itself is very small. A one-inch-long mass or even smaller is sufficient to kill a hen, slowly, just by obstructing her crop opening regularly enough for her to struggle to receive nourishment in a timely fashion.

    You could separate her overnight with no food and see in the morning if her crop is empty, as it should be; this will make it easier to tell if there is an obstruction, because it can be obscured by food she's added to her crop. Sometimes it's not the crop that's blocked, but the stomach or bowels, and the crop is backed up because of that.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. thejoyofchicks

    thejoyofchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 7, 2012
    thank you!! i will check her crop this morning when i let them out.
    also going to research what to do if her crop is impacted or blocked. any expert tips?
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Don't wait too long to do surgery, if you realize it's not coming up through her mouth and can't go down through her body.

    If you can, get a vet to do it (strangely enough many of them seem to wait too long too, trying to shift the lump by other means)...

    But doing it yourself is a simple enough job, though often messy and stinky. Not something I relish doing but definitely something to learn about before you have an emergency case that needs it done before the hen goes past the point of no return. I waited too long with my first hen, saved the second though.

    It depends on what you're dealing with, you may be able to 'vomit' her (also worth looking into how to do that in advance) but that's generally actually more dangerous than surgery, oddly enough. They can easily inhale fluids and drown.

    It'd be worth asking people like casportpony (Kathy) for advice on vomiting them, or check this forum for threads on it. There's lots of other methods for dealing with impacted crops but if it's a solid mass you've got your work cut out for you.

    Good luck and best wishes.
     

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