I'm Such An Idiot! Please Help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AmyJane725, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. AmyJane725

    AmyJane725 Crowing

    Feb 22, 2019
    Western WA
    Hey, so, like the moron I am :he, I was doing some work in my coop last night, when what should happen, but my 2 month old barred Holland pullet runs up and grabs a screw from me. I tried to grab her but she wriggled free. I'm not sure if she swallowed it or dropped it when I grabbed her and it's buried in the foot deep pine shavings in the coop. I looked for hours, had a friend bring over a magnet (not strong enough I think), but all to no avail. Now I'm faced with the following possibilities:

    1) She swallowed it and could get a perforated digestive tract any minute (of course it had to be a pointy tipped screw) or it doesn't perforate, but she gets heavy metal toxicity.

    2) She dropped it into the shavings and it's buried somewhere, just waiting to be dug up and eaten by one of my other babies.

    3) She dropped it and it has already been eaten by one of my other babies.

    To really feel at peace I'd need to take all 13 of them to the vet for xrays and exams. That's a ton of money that I do not have right now. Couldn't pay for it if I wanted to (which I do). And if they all came up metal free I'd do a clean sweep of the coop. Remove all the bedding from the coop/run and pick through it until I found the screw.

    Is it possible for 2 month olds to swallow an inch long screw? I feel like there'd have been some choking or squawking from pain or something. I palpated her crop and didn't feel anything, though her crop wasn't very full or anything, so I'm not sure if I felt the right place. Right front breast, correct?

    Please help me. :hitI am just sick with worry.

    I thought about emptying out the coop, taking all the shavings and burning them and then sifting through the ash to try to find the screw. Is this crazy? I'm frantic. :th
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  2. Roo5

    Roo5 Songster

    Feb 17, 2019
    Your defiantly freaking out.My birds are 2 months and I’ve dropped nails and screws all throughout the cage and HAVE never had a bird eat them,they don’t do it, they just don’t, the bird would have to be STUPID.Dont waste your money on exams,that’s far out the way.Chickens know what to eat and what not to.
    Punkybrewster likes this.
  3. Norcal527

    Norcal527 Songster

    Mar 22, 2019
    Sacramento area
    Unfortunately chickens do ingest nails and screws at times. They're attracted to shiny things.

    That said, I wouldn't worry about it now unless she starts showing symptoms. Do you feel anything in her crop?

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  4. RhodeIslandRed5

    RhodeIslandRed5 Songster

    May 28, 2019
    East Texas
    @Roo5 I disagree. Chickens are dumb and do not know what to eat. My chick ate a small piece of duct tape weeks ago and I worried. Thankfully she's alright.

    If you grabbed your chick while she had it in her mouth , she would've seen you as a threat to her snack and possibly swallowed it.
    Willowspirit likes this.
  5. yickenscarf23

    yickenscarf23 Songster

    Oct 24, 2018
    It is probably nothing. We've had screws and staples all over the place from building the new coop and so far no accidents.

    Stay calm and keep a close eye on them. No amount of worry has ever fixed anything :hugs
  6. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Poultry are notorious for eating inappropriate objects, including hardware items. It is entirely possible that she did in fact swallow it.
    That being said, not much you can do about it at this point if she did eat it. You could take her to a vet and have her X-ray to determine if it is or is not in her digestive tract at this time or you could take the watch and see approach and respond accordingly if she shows signs of having an issue.
    I am generally in the latter camp there… and even if she became symptomatic would still probably not seek medical attention from a veterinarian as my poultry do not go to the vet. If I felt there was a problem and could determine that it was still in her crop, I would simply do a home crop surgery. Otherwise, if it became a problem and I felt there had been a perforation and she was suffering, I would simply take the steps to end that
  7. Roo5

    Roo5 Songster

    Feb 17, 2019
    Eh, maybe I just got lucky,I’ve never had a bird swallow anything metal,ductape is a bit more imaginable.

    My birds might peck or even pick up shiny things but have never swallow it, personally I think a bird would have to be really dumb to do so,as I’ve never seen a bird swallow a nail.Mine won’t even swallow small red plastic crap on the ground that are even more capable of eating rather then a nail, from my knowledge birds defiantly can pick out the good from the bad.The most I’ve seen my chickens eat is styrofoam, which also looks like crumbles of feed.
    trumpeting_angel likes this.
  8. Kathy Golla

    Kathy Golla Songster

    Jan 2, 2017
    San Francisco Bay Area
    If she did swallow it, it’ll go to her gizzard where it could stay or get passed.
    The gizzard is a tremendous organ and most likely over time that steel will get broken down and passed. In some cases too much foreign material in the gizzard can slow the gizzard down.
    If the hen starts to not feel well in the next month (the screw might cause the gizzard to slow down), then you’d need to find a vet that can fluoroscopy her and you’d see the screw in her gizzard. At that point you are looking at surgery to remove it for an easy fix. Or you can wait more time for it to break down and pass.
    All of this is worse case scenario, and there are plenty of other better scenarios that could happen before this.
    Just passing on what I know from my vet based on my hens eating airsoft pellets. I kind of agree older birds know what not to eat, maybe not younger birds. Above was the worst case scenario outlined by my vet, which never materialized.
    Just keep an eye on her. If she starts to feel poorly in about a month, you might know why, but it’s pretty rare. And make sure she doesn’t have access to eating any more metal.
    If you have access to a metal detector, that would be a good way to find that screw and pick it up.
    Btw heavy metal toxicity would not be an issue, even if the screw was galvanized zinc. Zinc toxicity from one screw would not kill a bird. I also know about metal toxicity from personal experience.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  9. AmyJane725

    AmyJane725 Crowing

    Feb 22, 2019
    Western WA
    Thanks for the reassurance.

    I don’t have access to a metal detector, but I think buying one would be cheaper than vet bills for 13 chickens. I could scan her and see if it’s inside her or not.
    Roo5 and RhodeIslandRed5 like this.
  10. Tycine1

    Tycine1 Crowing

    May 26, 2009
    David, Chiriquí, Panama
    I swallowed a mouthful of thumbtacks (the short pointy metal ones) when I was a kid, doctor said not to worry about it unless I developed symptoms of something bad... (I wonder how much that cost my parents). I think the advice is sound though, unless you see someone acting funky, I'd not worry about it.

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