Impacted Crop or Brooding?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AsanumaGardens, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. AsanumaGardens

    AsanumaGardens Chirping

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    IMG_20180320_083448.jpg
    *I am a first time chicken owner*
    Chicken Age: 8 months
    Chicken Breed: Buff Orpington
    Chicken Name: Hilgard
    Chicken Typical Personality: Sassy AF

    I'm trying to determine if my chicken's behavior is sign of an illness (specifically an impacted crop) or if she is just getting broody for the first time.

    Here's the timeline:

    3/19 Yesterday morning: Hilgard was sitting in one of our nesting boxes. When I went to gather any eggs under her, she pecked at my hand (Sign of broodiness, I know, but in general she's a pretty feisty lady.)

    Yesterday evening: when I was checking for any late layers, she was still in the box, but this time I noticed her crop was full and quite firm. However I checked a few of the other girls in our flock who were running around and their's felt the same. I tried to offer her some water in the box and she just fluffed up her feathers and looked at me like I was an idiot.

    Last night: I peeked in the coop after dark, and she was sleeping in the nesting box. (Not a typical behavior for her.)

    This morning: when I checked on her, she was still in the nesting box, and her crop was still full. As mentioned above, she pecked at my hand when I went to retrieve any eggs under her (there were none.)

    Now, I haven't noticed any plucked feathers from her breast which I read that hens typically do when they are brooding, and I haven't noticed any giant broody poos that I've also read about. So I'm worried this might be an "I'm sick" behavior, rather than a "I'm trying to hatch an egg" behavior. Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

    Sounds much more broody than ill. :)

    Their digestion slows down during brooding since they only eat once or twice per day and hold their poo the whole time. The broody poos will usually be deposited quickly after running out of the coop. And smell horrific like dog poo. But early on may not be as bad yet. They can be sneaky as to when they are eating or not. And NOT all of my broody's pluck their feathers. Each one is an individual.

    Personally I WON'T let a pullet sit. Their bodies are still maturing, hence the difference in weight between pullets and hens. But also their mind is still maturing and they will be much better prepared to sit once they mature. It's like a 13 year old raising kids instead of a 23 year old. They set they lose condition, weight, and become shaky. My best suggestion is to break her by locking her away from the nest, doesn't have to be wire bottom as many claim. She will very likely go broody for you again in the future since she is now. ;)

    Otherwise, if you wanna hatch some eggs... there will be specific advice for that, so let us know.

    If I want to let a gal raise chicks with sitting that long or risking boys... then I adopt feed store chicks (under 6 days old) during the night after she's been broody a week. That gives me a chance to try breeds I may not already have. Never less than 2 but preferably at least 3. I even call the stores and see what they have coming in in case I want to wait for a certain breed.

    She wouldn't be staying in the nesting box if she had impacted crop. Egg binding, yes. But you should notice lethargy.

    Another way to test broodiness... is by removing her from the box and watch her behavior. Some will just sit there and not move for a moment after you set them down, some do a quick dirt scratch but they will quickly be frantic to get back to the nest. They may be making a cluck sound, and often do a squeal warning when other flock members approach. Oddly my really feisty girls... seem somehow more subdued (not lethargic) early on in brooding... which has led me to examine the vent for egg binding. :sick

    She looks as broody as ever. Buff broody's are affectionately known as Blondezilla. :p

    Best wishes for either route! :)
     
  3. AsanumaGardens

    AsanumaGardens Chirping

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    @EggSighted4Life Thank you for your response!! She seems pretty alert, annoyed, and vocal when I check for eggs, so I would not describe her as lethargic.

    Now we definitely don't want chicks at this stage, but potentially later in life. So if I could ask a couple of questions,
    1. Will "breaking" her broodiness now prevent her from ever going broody again?
    2. How can I block her from the nesting boxes but not the other girls? Do I need to move her to a separate enclosure?
     
    KikisGirls likes this.
  4. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    No breaking her broodiness will not prevent her from ever going broody again.
    It is all hormonal.

    Do you have a cage/wire bottom type dog kennel you could raise up off the ground to keep her in?

    #9
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    No... she will very likely go broody again. My gals who get broken take about a week to return to lay. And then SOME will be broody again within 3 weeks, like clock work. :barnie Others will become broody once or twice per year, which is far preferable for me.
    This is always the challenge. I have a smallish dog kennel that I use to keep her in the run/yard (where there is lots of other activity) without access to the nest. It has a wire bottom that I installed as removing nesting material IS key in most cases. But some of my gals are VERY determined and after having them in a wire cage for two weeks... the only one it was breaking was ME. :( I discovered that I can use an open bottom pen on the grass or ground and they will still pace and be just as mad as when they were on wire. The point of the wire and NO bedding is so they can't keep their bellies warm. But please don't resort to cold water dunks as that's just cruel IMO and maybe not even effective. I do still use the wire bottom pen for night time use inside the coop, slightly elevated. And test them either at the beginning or end of the day by letting them out and see their behavior. If they run off clucking you can be sure they will return to the nest before long. So give 10 minutes or so and check to see if she needs to be removed again still. If they ARE broke... they won't return to the nest as they have no eggs to lay yet for about a week-ish.

    Most of my girls only take a few days to break... though some are much more stubborn/hormonal. Earlier you start, the better. Anything you have that will work is fine... an upside down play pen, maybe laundry basket or whatever you have. It's OK to improvise. Even another secured portion of the yard. I still provide protection from the sun/rain as needed. :)

    :fl
     
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  6. AsanumaGardens

    AsanumaGardens Chirping

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    Ooooooooook Everyone. It is definitely broodiness. And lemme tell ya, her digestive tract is definitely working JUST FINE. I pulled the blondezilla out to see if she would walk around and the steaming pile that came out of her vent could only be described as extraordinary.

    So! we do have a smaller enclosure we could keep her in, but I worry about how cold it still gets at night where we are at. Should I just transfer her back in with the flock at night and pull her out in the morning?
     
  7. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    Sure...I don't see why not.
    Try it and see how it goes.
    Block the nest at night though.
     
    AsanumaGardens likes this.

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