Lethargic Silkie hen, full crop, very think


10 Years
Nov 22, 2009
Central Oregon Coast
I admit I am new to Silkies and haven't been as attentive with them as I could be this winter but I did notice one of the girls looking lethargic yesterday and picked her up to find she was light as a feather. Her crop is full but she is nothing but bone. They were all wormed 2 months ago but we wormed everyone again two days ago.

I have her in the house with me. She doesn't have mites or bugs. I have been giving her electrolytes and a drench mix with a syringe every few hours day and night. She seems better. I put chick food in the box with her but she hadn't eaten any of it all day, just the fluids when I put the syringe up to her beak and stick a drop at a time on her beak. I give her some fluids until she refuses to drink any more then I massage her full crop, hoping to get it working if it is impacted somehow, all I know is it feels full and lumpy, likely some oyster shells, grit and a bunch of scratch! She seems better tonight so I softened some chick food in the electrolyte mix and held it up to her beak, she really went for it for a few bites anyway. I swear, she can't see a thing because I certainly can't see her eyes without pulling up on her fluffy head. She smells odd, I can't describe it but it is not like chicken poop, more sweet. Her poop was sort of black and tary looking tonight so Mom suggested I start her on some Sulmet (sulfamethazine sodium) drinking solution an antibacterial as a precaution.

I realized that we have lost 3 or 4 hens in our free range flock this week AT least two of them can be blamed on being poisoned by my crazy father leaving a moldy bucket of scratch out where I found them gobbling down their final feast. :(
The hen that I fund yesterday seemed perfectly normal, her gizzard was full but her crop was empty, she didn't appear too thin. May have just been old. The other I have no idea as I didn't find out it had died until I found one of my parents dogs munching on a charred chicken breast they dug out of the burn barrel, another thing I can't get the crazy man to stop doing is tossing dead chickens, rats & moles in the burn barrel!

Just wondered if anyone had any suggestions on what I might do to help bring her back to health? She did try to roost on the edge of the box I had her in, none of them ever roost, was hoping she didn't get some kind of final burst of energy just before she dies, but she really does seem a little better. I have to go find some grit to bring in and make sure she has it if she needs it. Last year we had several free range chickens die off and it was worms and blocked crops. We cut open most the birds when they die to check out their crops, gizzard, heart and intestinal tracts to see what we see and last year several of them had crops full of scratch that had actually sprouted, is this because the crop wasn't working properly already or was it the scratch that caused the block? Very weird to find plants growing in their crops! I tell my father not to feed my bantams scratch but that lasts only a could days before he is tossing a ton of scratch into their pens again! Argh!

I can wave my hands all over in front of her and she doesn't seem to see me, is it possible for her vision to be completely blocked by all that fuzz around her face and could that be an issue for finding food?

Thanks, in advance, for your suggestions!

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