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Mass in chest of hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by byouland, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. byouland

    byouland Out Of The Brooder

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    I've only had my hens for 8 months now so I'm still learning. I noticed one of my girls sleeping for the past few days in the nesting box and not wanting to leave. She has been
    loosing weight. I discovered a mass in her chest, not her neck. I was told it sounds like crop. I was told to massage it and give her grits and olive oil. I've been doing this for two days and its getting smaller but it's hasn't gone away. In afraid she isn't getting enough to eat or drink. Will this mass eventually pass or does she have to throw it up? Am I doing the right thing it does anyone have a suggestion? Here is a picture of it. [​IMG]
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    The first thing to do it to find out whether it is in fact her crop or not. If you can, check her first thing in the morning before she eats and see if it's still there, might be the best way to determine whether or not it's a crop issue.

    A pic of the whole bird, i.e. her face and posture, might help diagnose something.

    Also, what's her poop like? Sounds to me like it's not too likely the crop is at fault.

    Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
  3. byouland

    byouland Out Of The Brooder

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    I checked her this morning, and the mass is now long and going up her throat, instead of one big clump in her chest.

    She hasn't eaten yet, and is resting in her box. I'll try to post a picture of her today.

    After I massaged the area, and feed her olive oil yesterday, she pooped. Her poop looks normal, however it's much bigger.

    Is it normal for her to feel warm underneath? I'm thinking if she isn't feeling better by Monday, I'm going to bring her to see a vet. My husband isn't too keen on the idea because she's just a hen. But she's become part of the family. And I hate having an animal being sick.

    Thanks for trying to help me figure this out.
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Maybe a blocked up gut or crop... Can't be totally blocked if she's still pooping but having said that, even a partial blockage can kill them because food ferments abnormally inside them and they get toxified by it. Also, if it's a tumor causing a blockage, it can progress to a total blockage. Even long grass can kill them. Blockages move, too.

    You should research on this site how to manually empty a crop. They can't throw up properly, so you'd need to put olive oil down her throat, massage it, then hold her upside down and try to massage it out of her mouth while letting her take breaks to breathe. I've never done this but some people have saved lives with it.

    Alternatively you can cut the crop open. It's not a major surgery or anything like that, sounds far worse than it is, but better than losing the chicken. If the surgery fails to heal, generally, the worst that happens is that the chicken loses its crop. They live fine without their crops, in fact they don't even seem to notice. But if a blockage isn't the issue, or it's not a crop blockage, this is a waste of time.

    Definitely try to read up on chook anatomy if you want to do this yourself.

    I understand the 'no vet, it's just a chook' attitude, but I also understand the pro-vet attitude. After all it is an animal in your care and you have a duty towards it, sentiments aside. If we're talking about sentiments, well they are a large part of what makes life worth living, and you need to do what makes you feel right at the end of the day. It's not always of value to disregard all sentiment to be logical; some sentiment IS logical, lol! I wonder if I'm even making sense.... Anyway, I hope you find a solution and she makes it through this. An animal's emotional value can be far beyond its monetary value, and at the end of the day, the money isn't the prime factor for me.

    About her feeling warm underneath, well of course her body should have some heat, but I recommend you feel the other hens on the perch at night and see how warm they are. If it's a fever or elevated temperature due to infection, or inflammation or whatever, it will then become obvious.

    Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    I would tube water into her crop, massage it, wait for it to go down a little in size and then tube more water. I would not vomit her, nor would I attempt surgery, tubing water is a very safe thing to try and should be tried first.

    -Kathy
     
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Is this the same hen that you posted about in other threads?

    -Kathy
     
  7. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Never heard of trying to tube water into a hen with these symptoms, lol. Wonder if that would do it. Since she's already drinking water daily I'd assume it won't make a difference, but the massaging could... Hopefully without shifting anything dangerous further into her digestive system.

    Whatever you try, hope it works.
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    If the crop is hard and not going down in size tubing water and massaging will help unless there is a true blockage somewhere else.

    From: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/04/answers-from-chicken-vet-on-impacted.html
    "Impacted crop can be treated by flushing the crop with water to help soften up the “ball”. Using a syringe and tube, put water gently into the esophagus, behind the opening at the back of the throat that goes to the lungs. Gently massage the crop several times per day, softening the mass. Adding some vegetable oil may help a little, but you will usually get reasonable results from water alone. I would NOT recommend surgery on your own....if you cannot get the impaction resolved through massage, water and oil, contact a vet to help you out....gastrointestinal surgery has a HUGE potential to go horribly wrong in an amateur’s hands."

    I've tubed water to a few of mine and the crop will usually clear in 24 hours. Never had to vomit one, never had to do the surgery, water works wonders.

    -Kathy
     
  9. byouland

    byouland Out Of The Brooder

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    Update on my hen Speckles..

    I took her to the vet, and she confirmed that it was an impacted crop. Because I had been giving her olive oil and massaging the impacted crop for two days, the impacted crop started breaking down. The vet informed me that I saved her from having to have surgery, and that I did exactly what I was suppose to do. The vet gave me special food to give her for two days to help her crop empty completely, and this would help her crop heal. Thankfully she LOVES the food, and so do my other hens! :) Today she is eating normally, and her sweet personality is back.

    Thank you all for all your advice. Since I've only had my hens for 8 months, I still have a lot to learn. But it's so nice to know that when I have a question I can always ask you all.

    Thanks again, and have a wonderful Holiday.
     
  10. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Awesome, good to hear.

    I suspect a chook with enough natural oils in its diet wouldn't be likely to get blocked up; I assume that because blockages in my experience are very rare but some people seem to have them rather frequently, with one of the biggest indicators of likely crop blockage and similar being pelletized feeds in diets low in raw oils.

    I've never had to vomit a chicken nor do crop surgery, but haven't used water either; I'd think if it's that easy to remove the bird will do it by itself when it drinks water. However, if that works for someone, great. The end result is a life saved and that's the objective after all! I did lose one old hen to a mass of fibre in the crop, after I agisted her out for almost a year and she returned starved almost to death and having been fed pellets. More's the pity. Should have done crop surgery on her. Water and oil wouldn't fix that mass, it was solid. Couldn't have vomited it out either.

    Chickens and other animals routinely fed crumble, pellets, "biscuits", etc tend to have weak digestive systems and a dearth of natural raw oils in their diets, which results in drier mucous membranes for one thing. Cooked oils are harmful in their own way.

    Quote: Good to know. I suspect the "healing" food may contain Slippery Elm bark powder. If not, it's a great help, but your bird sounds like she's coming along great. Best wishes.
     

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