Impacted Gizzard

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by capassar, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. capassar

    capassar Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm not sure where to best post this but really wanted to get this information out in case a someone has a similar problem.

    In late October I posted on this forum asking for help with my Ameracauna pullet who was in very bad shape and had been diagnosed by a local avian vet as having an impacted gizzard. I found very little on this forum or anywhere else, so I am guessing this is not a very common problem. The vet made the diagnosis based on an x-ray which showed a mass of what "read" as mineral in her gizzard. The vet concluded that she had over-eaten oyster shell or grit. She is the lowest on the pecking order and had apparently been bullied away from the food. Hungry she had apparently filled up on oyster shell, the only thing readily available. Ethel, my hen, was extremely ill - not moving much, drooping tail, barely eating or drinking, very few, tiny poops. The vet kept her overnight, filled her crop by tube feeding (showed me how to do it) and started her on regimen of 1 oz of metoclopramide once a day until she regained her appetite. The metoclopramide encourages appetite, and essentially keeps things moving through the intestinal tract. Vet also told me to remove oyster shell form her coop. The vet said Ethel was "talking" to everyone in the office (a good sign) and had even eaten a few little pretzels. During the next two days I kept her in a separate crate, inside, where I could monitor her food/water intake and she could rest and conserve her energy. I was a little nervous about tube feeding, so instead tried to hand feed her yogurt mixed with olive oil and soft bread which I mixed in the blender, and used a needle-less syringe to give her water several times a day. Doing this is tricky, you must be careful to put it in the side of beak and give them a chance to swallow. Must be careful not to put food or water into windpipe. I found directions for doing this on this forum. After a few days she began to eat a little more, and we moved to soft scrambled egg for protein, and a little cooked irish oatmeal, and of course the essential yogurt mixed with olive oil. Once she began pooping a little more and a little more often I decided to put her back out with the other girls to improve her morale. By the fourth day I could get her to eat regular feed again, mixed with water to keep it soft and to make sure she was staying hydrated. She began to move about and eat on her own after 6 days, though I often stopped her during her free range time with a dish of food. Reminded me of following my toddlers around to encourage "grazing"! By day 8 she was eating grass again and pooping regularly. She had by now passed a good bit of the excess grit. Getting her to eat and drink regularly were essential in order to pass that excess grit through her system. I also feel that the olive oil and yogurt helped the gastrointestinal process, and she liked them too! We did have one other problem after the fact: She had become so seriously malnourished during the impaction that 2 weeks after she recovered, her beak became brittle and began to deteriorate. (Shows how close we came to losing her!) I became very alarmed and was afraid she would lose her beak entirely. I read somewhere that cod liver oil in 1/2 tsp supplement could help with beak regrowth and began to give a little every other day in their feed. Though she had lost almost half her beak, the beak completely regrew in 2 months. She is now totally recovered, has been laying every day, and is her sweet, flighty little self again.

    Lessons learned: I now keep several different feeding dishes in the coop so she always has a alternative if chased away, and watch to make sure she is eating her fair share. Be careful with oyster shell - I use ground up egg shells instead. Chickens' beaks can grow back. There is such a thing as gizzard impaction and it can be treated. Praying for chickens is not stupid and God loves them too ;))
     
  2. fuzzybutt love

    fuzzybutt love Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think i remember your old post! This is nice to tell of your experience. How nice to know it was a happy ending too. A lot of times us readers never really do find out what happened in the end, the author just quits posting. One of my low pecking order girls came close to having this happen, She had lost energy and seemed uninterested in food. I had read your grit story, so i sat and watched her. Sure enough i caught her sneaking over to the grit and filling up. I ended up having to hold her and feed her every day for almost 2 weeks until she got her strength back and felt confident enough to be with the others. I still have several feeding spots just in case.Thank you Thank you Thank you! She is my sweet pink egg layer.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  3. bluecoat28

    bluecoat28 New Egg

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    Thanks for your post about impacted gizzard. I slaughtered two roosters (reluctantly, of course), and cut open the gizzard, after watching this video where the lady cuts open the gizzard:

    So I opened the gizzard and there was A LOT of fibrous material in it. Now I am concerned that some of my chickens are starving nutritionally, even though they have plenty of access to food... I used to throw in handfuls and handfuls of grass into their pen, because they finished eating the grass in their area, and I wanted to "grass-feed"/pasture-raise the chickens.

    I do feel awful now, knowing that so much of the grass is still stuck in their gizzard! I have had these chickens for about seven months and they haven't died yet, and I was giving them grass as a treat up until a few weeks ago, but I'm stopping now until I better understand chicken-digestion.

    I want to put them on a special diet that improves their digestion...
     
  4. Charm1704

    Charm1704 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love EE's I am glad your's is doing fine!!!~Charm1704
     
  5. capassar

    capassar Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm so glad this post was helpful. Do you think it was the gizzard or the crop that was impacted? I have three girls who I'd hoped to free range but are technically pastured - that is they only roam free about 5 hours a day. We have too many dogs running around the neighborhood and have a had a few close calls. With chickens that are cooped up a lot (but not all the time) you really have to be aware of what they are eating. Mine get bored sometimes in the coop and start eating too much hay from their nest boxes or fill up on grit. I keep a close watch for impaction. I've also learned to never feed them cut grass - they need to be able to break off small pieces for themselves. I check their crops in the morning about once a month to make sure everything feels normal. I also feed greek yogurt with a little olive oil to keep everybody's digestion going smoothly. Good luck with your chooks everybody!
     
  6. sanatar

    sanatar New Egg

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    I really am glad to have found this post. I noticed my ameraucana eating a lot of grit about 9 days ago and didn't think anything of it. I went out to see her this past Saturday and it feels like her crop is full of grit. I am curious when your chicken had the impacted gizzard if you could feel grit in its crop, or if maybe I have another problem going on here.

    Thanks for your help.

    John
     
  7. yessa

    yessa New Egg

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    I just came across this post and I have a hen that I have been literally hand feeding for over two weeks now. Her early symptoms were not what you describe. She had diarrhea, extremely weak, ruffled feathers, eyes closed. etc. I treated her for a whole battery of ailments (wormers, antibiotics,corrid) but nothing has helped so far. She defecates very little and it usually diarrhea, although that has improved somewhat. Over the past few days I have noticed that her abdomen is tight and it feels like her gizzard is enlarged and hard. I actually think the gizzard is located on the other side of her abdomen but it is the only thing I can think of that would be that large and hard. Now I am wondering if she could have an impacted gizzard. Did you notice a large, very firm mass in the abdomen of your hen? This is left of center and feels about two to three times the size of a normal gizzard. When she lays down (which is always now) she extends her left leg far behind her, and straight out. I figure that is because it alleviates the pressure on that area. My hens are free range
     
  8. JensChickies

    JensChickies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for posting this. Not gives me a little hope. I believe my girl is blocked, so I too have been tubing feeding her. She eats a little bit but not very much. But thank you for posting this.
     
  9. MrsChicken1954

    MrsChicken1954 Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you capassar for posting this. For reasons beyond my comprehension I have had two chickens go down with symptoms which match blocked gizzard. One died and then the other showed the same symptoms the day she went. That second chicken went to the vet who examined her thoroughly, could find nothing wrong and gave her baytril as he couldn't think of anything else to do. A day or two later I still suspected a digestive blockage as despite not eating or drinking voluntarily, her crop was squashy in the mornings. I had treated for sourcrop but without success so again thought about a blocked gizzard and came across your post. It has been a bank holiday so no vet easily available but I gave her a big dose of liquid paraffin (you may call this something different in the USA) - probably much bigger than she should have - and I've been following up with live yoghurt + olive oil mixture by syringe. She started to produce dark green yucky stuff periodically after each dose of yoghurt and crop massage (been trying to squeeze the crop contents into the gizzard). Just before I took her back to the vet this morning she produced more dark green but with some brown and a piece of corn. She hasn't had corn for at least 5 days. She had also voluntarily eaten a little of the yoghurt I left down for her. I told the vet about your post and he agreed to give her metoclopramide. She had an injection and I have some 10mg tablets - 1/2 a tablet twice a day, then 1/4 twice a day once she starts to respond. I am hopeful she might recover now.
     
  10. JensChickies

    JensChickies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2014

    How is yours doing??? I gave mine some olive oil +water when she was impacted. Although I was tube feeding her, but it took a couple of days for her crop to empty.
     

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