ChickenMama308

Songster
Mar 17, 2018
123
71
101
Hi everyone!

My sweet hen Nani (2 years old rhode island red hen) has been through a lot these past few weeks, and where we're at now, is an impacted crop.

She's eating very little, but still managing to eat a bit of spinach. Overall low / sleepy energy and staying in one place mostly resting, but still has clear eyes and life-force in her, and is still fighting. Drinking a bit of water usually whenever I put it in front of her.

She is weighing just 2.11 pounds... less than half of her usual bodyweight.

- What does everyone recommend for this situation of an impacted crop on a severely underweight hen? Do I still try to feed her still or not? I wanted to tube feed her but not am weary of if that's still a good idea with this impacted crop... thoughts?

Today I plan to:

- get sardines for her to hopefully eat
- have her eat some additional coconut oil for easier digestion
- massage her crop often
- somehow get her to swallow some grit
- get her to drink as much water as possible


Any other thoughts? I feel the time is sensitive due to her being so underweight, so any tips or thoughts would be super appreciated. Thank you!!!
 
Sep 24, 2018
217
500
101
Northern Illinois
Hi everyone!

My sweet hen Nani (2 years old rhode island red hen) has been through a lot these past few weeks, and where we're at now, is an impacted crop.

She's eating very little, but still managing to eat a bit of spinach. Overall low / sleepy energy and staying in one place mostly resting, but still has clear eyes and life-force in her, and is still fighting. Drinking a bit of water usually whenever I put it in front of her.

She is weighing just 2.11 pounds... less than half of her usual bodyweight.

- What does everyone recommend for this situation of an impacted crop on a severely underweight hen? Do I still try to feed her still or not? I wanted to tube feed her but not am weary of if that's still a good idea with this impacted crop... thoughts?

Today I plan to:

- get sardines for her to hopefully eat
- have her eat some additional coconut oil for easier digestion
- massage her crop often
- somehow get her to swallow some grit
- get her to drink as much water as possible


Any other thoughts? I feel the time is sensitive due to her being so underweight, so any tips or thoughts would be super appreciated. Thank you!!!
I have used vegetable oil to help in impacted crop before. Another thing is, do you think she could be egg bound? RIRs are very prone to egg binding and your hen is about that age.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,753
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
Hi
Sorry to hear
your girl is unwell. It might be helpful to know what other things have been going on with her since you mention she has been having a rough time, however these are my thought on the current situation and your plans....
Today I plan to:

- get sardines for her to hopefully eat
- have her eat some additional coconut oil for easier digestion
- massage her crop often
- somehow get her to swallow some grit
- get her to drink as much water as possible

Do not give her sardines or grit. If her crop is impacted, these things will just add to it. The crop is just a hopper to store food until the digestive tract draws it down. It does not have a thick strong lining like the gizzard where grit and food are massaged together to grind the food down, so if you put grit in there and then massage it is most likely to cause abrasion and inflammation and make things worse. Oil and electrolytes are a good idea but no more spinach either unless you puree it in a Nutri bullet. Basically, you only want to give her liquid food that would easily pass through a kitchen sieve because her crop is already full of solid feed, be that vegetation and/or grains or whatever else you have given her.
Massage is very important.... even if you don't get the impacted material to go down much it will help for the fluids to filter through and those are essential to life. I try to do 10-15 mins of massage 4 times a day. Keep the bird somewhere warm. In the house is good because it makes it easy to treat her. She may also need a heat source because she will not be getting enough calories to keep herself warm and she has already eaten into a lot of her body stores by the sound of it. A heat pad or lamp should give her a boost. Her environment needs to be between 80-85F. I remove access to any fibrous bedding that can be eaten because that is sometimes the cause of an impaction. Their poop is usually pretty loose because only fluids are going through their system so a puppy pad can be helpful to keep them on as they cannot eat it and it is absorbent.

There is no point in tube feeding as that just fills the crop with more food that cannot pass. You can think of it like having a plate in front of you with food on it and your mouth taped shut. It doesn't matter how much more food you pile onto the plate, until you unblock your mouth, you cannot eat it. Same with the chicken except the food is inside her body but the blockage is below and will not allow her to digest it. I just give my impacted birds liquid feed, oil and regular massage. If after a day or two it has not gone down at all, you could try a stool softener like Dulcolax without stimulant or generic equivalent and if that doesn't work, surgery may be necessary. She is obviously very emaciated, so you can't afford to leave it too long before taking things to the next level.

What does her crop feel like? Soft and squishy, hard or perhaps malleable like putty? Has she had access to any long grass, grass cuttings, hay etc? Do you normally provide access to grit or do they have free range opportunities to find grit for themselves. What do you normally feed?

Are you sure the crop is the problem or could she have a problem lower down her digestive tract which is causing her crop to get blocked up. Reproductive disorders can often constrict the gut meaning that the bird cannot poop properly and waste gets blocked up inside them until their crop doesn't empty. You would normally be able to feel some abdominal swelling between the legs or below the vent if that was the case. Cupping your hand between their legs from behind is the best way to assess this and it is helpful to do the same with a healthy bird to compare, so you know what is normal. If she weighs so little then I doubt this is the case, but it needs to be checked.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,753
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
For information, there are several good You Tube videos on Crop Surgery if you do a search. It can be done at home and if you decide to go that route I can give you a few tips from the experience I had doing it. Super glue being better than stitching for closing up. I was amazed at the rapid recovery of my bird after surgery. She was happily on her feed running around as soon as I glued her back together and let go of her and she was wolfing down scrambled egg 15 mins later. She was back up to weight and laid me an egg exactly 2 weeks later and she was pretty thin when I did the surgery because I had been massaging her for 10 days trying to get it to break up before I bit the bullet and opened her up, so she had lost a lot of weight.
 

ChickenMama308

Songster
Mar 17, 2018
123
71
101
I have used vegetable oil to help in impacted crop before. Another thing is, do you think she could be egg bound? RIRs are very prone to egg binding and your hen is about that age.

Thank you! I will try the oil today, and in the beginning of this whole ordeal I was concerned it was egg binding as well but did check her internally and there was no egg thankfully
 

ChickenMama308

Songster
Mar 17, 2018
123
71
101
Hi
Sorry to hear
your girl is unwell. It might be helpful to know what other things have been going on with her since you mention she has been having a rough time, however these are my thought on the current situation and your plans....


Do not give her sardines or grit. If her crop is impacted, these things will just add to it. The crop is just a hopper to store food until the digestive tract draws it down. It does not have a thick strong lining like the gizzard where grit and food are massaged together to grind the food down, so if you put grit in there and then massage it is most likely to cause abrasion and inflammation and make things worse. Oil and electrolytes are a good idea but no more spinach either unless you puree it in a Nutri bullet. Basically, you only want to give her liquid food that would easily pass through a kitchen sieve because her crop is already full of solid feed, be that vegetation and/or grains or whatever else you have given her.
Massage is very important.... even if you don't get the impacted material to go down much it will help for the fluids to filter through and those are essential to life. I try to do 10-15 mins of massage 4 times a day. Keep the bird somewhere warm. In the house is good because it makes it easy to treat her. She may also need a heat source because she will not be getting enough calories to keep herself warm and she has already eaten into a lot of her body stores by the sound of it. A heat pad or lamp should give her a boost. Her environment needs to be between 80-85F. I remove access to any fibrous bedding that can be eaten because that is sometimes the cause of an impaction. Their poop is usually pretty loose because only fluids are going through their system so a puppy pad can be helpful to keep them on as they cannot eat it and it is absorbent.

There is no point in tube feeding as that just fills the crop with more food that cannot pass. You can think of it like having a plate in front of you with food on it and your mouth taped shut. It doesn't matter how much more food you pile onto the plate, until you unblock your mouth, you cannot eat it. Same with the chicken except the food is inside her body but the blockage is below and will not allow her to digest it. I just give my impacted birds liquid feed, oil and regular massage. If after a day or two it has not gone down at all, you could try a stool softener like Dulcolax without stimulant or generic equivalent and if that doesn't work, surgery may be necessary. She is obviously very emaciated, so you can't afford to leave it too long before taking things to the next level.

What does her crop feel like? Soft and squishy, hard or perhaps malleable like putty? Has she had access to any long grass, grass cuttings, hay etc? Do you normally provide access to grit or do they have free range opportunities to find grit for themselves. What do you normally feed?

Are you sure the crop is the problem or could she have a problem lower down her digestive tract which is causing her crop to get blocked up. Reproductive disorders can often constrict the gut meaning that the bird cannot poop properly and waste gets blocked up inside them until their crop doesn't empty. You would normally be able to feel some abdominal swelling between the legs or below the vent if that was the case. Cupping your hand between their legs from behind is the best way to assess this and it is helpful to do the same with a healthy bird to compare, so you know what is normal. If she weighs so little then I doubt this is the case, but it needs to be checked.



Thank you so much for your response!!
I posted an original thread with her whole journey here:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...se-help-cocci-diarrhea.1278010/#post-20573818

In the most basic explanation, she had lice, then cocci, then bad diarrhea, and now an impacted crop, over the last 2.5 weeks and during that time she has lost 1/2 her body weight and obviously I am super concerned.

I won't do grit or sardines.. thank you for the explanation! It seems to make sense. She is pooping regular looking (smaller) poops though ever since she started on the anti-diarrhea antibiotic Oxytetracycline yesterday - which I take to be a good sign. I fed her orally via syringe some coconut oil and gave her a massage and plan to do more massage as well - it doesn't feel hard which I also take to be a good sign. I'd like to put some things in a blender and feed to her orally as well. I'm thinking spinach, oil, water, nutridrench, and hemp seeds.

Luckily I live in Hawaii so it's not cold, but I will consider doing a heat lamp tonight as she is sleeping on our porch and it can be a bit breezy. Excellent idea!

I believe her crop, at least in this current moment, feels somewhat normal as it feels when it's full, not hard, and it feels like feed is in there though she has not been eating feed. (yesterday morning however, it did feel firm and unemptied). After our massage sessions it feels like the size of the bulge does go down. Normally she eats organic layer scratch and peck but over the last 3 weeks she's had a very light diet of some yogurt, nutridrench, rice, spinach, papaya etc. though my neighbor told me she's been feeding them fresh fish. They do have access to long grass etc. plants. She is free-ranged so hopefully she's eaten something to use as grit at some point but I'm not sure.

I just did the check of cupping the behind from the bottom as you mentioned and it actually did feel surprisingly full in comparison to the rest of the body... not sure if it's normal or not though.. I'll go do it to another healthy chicken to assess. I'm not sure if it's a crop issue or something else..
 

ChickenMama308

Songster
Mar 17, 2018
123
71
101
For information, there are several good You Tube videos on Crop Surgery if you do a search. It can be done at home and if you decide to go that route I can give you a few tips from the experience I had doing it. Super glue being better than stitching for closing up. I was amazed at the rapid recovery of my bird after surgery. She was happily on her feed running around as soon as I glued her back together and let go of her and she was wolfing down scrambled egg 15 mins later. She was back up to weight and laid me an egg exactly 2 weeks later and she was pretty thin when I did the surgery because I had been massaging her for 10 days trying to get it to break up before I bit the bullet and opened her up, so she had lost a lot of weight.

Oh man, definitely hoping not to have to do crop surgery, that definitely sounds intimidating / something I'd rather not have to do but I'm open to whatever needs to be done. Was it a sour crop for your girl by this point? Thank you for the resource!
 

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