Lethargic Australorp (possible impacted crop?)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by akatrielle, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. akatrielle

    akatrielle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2009
    San Francisco
    My 14 month old Australorp hen (her name's Hero) has been low-energy for about a month. She was eating well, her droppings were healthy, and she was still laying, so I didn't think much of it. But the past two weeks she has spent most of her time laying down on the hay inside their run: her walking is halted and looks painful; she'll take a few steps, her wings and tail will droop, and then her legs kind of just collapse.

    She has what feels like a mass of hay or grass in her crop that seems like it's stopping it from emptying (still full in the mornings after no eating for 12 hours). It is about an inch thick and maybe 2x3 inches and very fibrous. We have tried flushing her crop (nothing would come out), forcing oil and massaging, administering ACV water and fresh (home-made organic) yogurt to keep bad bacteria from building up, and have quarantined her and put her on a diet of soft scrambled eggs, yogurt, and softened bread. We are forcing fluids (water, once with baking soda as per a friend's suggestion before trying to flush), and she is drinking/eating a bit on her own.

    When we tried the turn-her-upside-down-and-force-flush-the-crop method, the lump seemed too big to get out (or we were doing it wrong?)...she gagged and opened her beak, but nothing came out. Finally we had to stop because it was exhausting and frightening her.

    Sometimes her crop feels doughy or puffy, but her breath is fine (and it's been too long to be sour crop-we would have lost her by now, right?).

    Her droppings are runny, but mostly because we have stopped feeding her solid foods until we can clear up the impaction. When she had access to pellets, they looked fine.

    She has stopped laying eggs, but it is possible that it's because her quarantine has just thrown her off - they are very lay-box trained and will "hold it" if they can't get to the box or are stressed out. She was laying every day until we took her off pellets and quarantined her.

    She lives generally in a large run with her 4 flock-mates (all the same age, all other 4 healthy and happy, it seems), which is on concrete with a deep layer of hay over it (3x3 foot dust bathing area in the dirt as well). They have a secured walk-up coop with good ventilation (also hay-lined) with two lay boxes and some perching area for sleeping. They eat organic lay pellets and appropriate veggie scraps from the kitchen/garden, and we let them roam the yard a few hours a day for bugs and such.

    We have decided we are not going to take our girls to the vet - too costly, and not necessarily the best answer for our situation. We'd like to see if we can handle this ourselves.

    Are there other methods that are effective for flushing out and breaking up a large impaction? Something we can feed her that will assist in breaking it down (it still feels very fibrous)? If it comes down to it and we have to remove it through home surgery, what tools/medications should we have on hand? What's the procedure, and what can we expect during and after (recuperation/recovery)?

    I have read that this is not a terribly tricky thing, and that there is not much pain or blood loss to the bird...but I admit it makes me very nervous to think about cutting her open.

    Please help - she is a very sweet bird and we love her very much - it would be horrible to lose her.
     
  2. akatrielle

    akatrielle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2009
    San Francisco
    Still very sick, and no change in her crop mass - please help!
     
  3. DaniLovesChickens

    DaniLovesChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2010
    Michigan
    There is a thread on here on how to do surgery for an impacted crop. If they live on hay, it's very possible that her crop is filled with hay (which I believe is the same as the chicken in the thread). Do they have access to grit?

    The thread should be easy to find.

    I had one with an impacted crop that I had to put mineral oil (3 cc) down her throat 3 times a day plus give her mushy food soaked with oil (small amounts at a time). I was never able to get her to vomit at all. It took about 4 days of this before her crop cleared out.

    Good luck with your girl!! [​IMG]
     
  4. akatrielle

    akatrielle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2009
    San Francisco
    I actually wrote to the gal who posted the surgery thread - she lives about 3 hours from me. Hoped she's maybe be able to at least give me some pointers.

    Her inability to walk has me concerned. Vitamin deficiency? Just basic weakness? She's been like this for WEEKS now, and we have to do something (new) soon - it's not clearing up on its own.
     
  5. thegoldengirls

    thegoldengirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2009
    Central NY
    Sorry to hear about Hero. If the crop is not empty in the morning, then I would agree that it could be impacted.
    Does she look like she's getting thinner? If it's just an impacted crop, then you would assume the weakness is from lack of nutrition.

    I had a hen who went for a few days with a "full" crop. I'm not sure if it was to the point of being impacted, but it was on it's way.
    I had great luck with taking a dropper and putting a couple drops of oil in her mouth for a couple days. I also gently massaged the crop. Not hard enough to hurt her, but enough to move things around a bit. That did the trick no problem.
    Occasionally I drizzle a little oil on their food just to head off any future issues. I also keep a double cat food dish full of oyster shells on one side and grit on the other.

    I would suggest using shavings in place of the hay. I keep a good layer of pine shavings in my coop, and in the bottom of their nesting boxes. Then I put just enough hay on top of the shavings in their boxes for them to make soft nests.

    Just my thoughts, but maybe something will be helpful.
    Best of luck to you!
    Keep us posted.
     

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