Need help diagnosing...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lutherpug, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 5, 2014
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    Something is going on with my 7 month old Australorp, Beatrix.

    Her comb and wattles are darker and more purple (noticed this yesterday)
    She's lost weight, she is noticeably lighter when I pick her up.
    Her crop is distended but not hard. This is how her crop has been for as long as I can remember so I don't know if I missed something at an earlier state or if this is nothing and normal for her.
    She seems to be acting normal but I am not home during the day so I don't get to watch her for extended periods of time.

    I believe she is still laying eggs. There are only 3 hens in my flock and I do not think that my RIR is laying yet but we are still getting 2 eggs a day a few times a week, including today.

    I have not isolated her so I cannot confirm that her poop is normal, she is eating, drinking, etc. The other 2 hens appear to be completely fine at this point. For what it is worth, Beatrix was still scratching around and came over to peck my foot earlier when I was down in the run....

    My plan as of right now is to check on her first thing in the morning to see if her crop is full or empty as she doesn't have access to food or water overnight. I will probably isolate her for a few days just to get a handle on her food and water intake as well. We are traveling out of the country starting mid next week and are gone for 11 days which definitely complicates things as our chicken sitters won't be here everyday and certainly aren't equipped to do much more than check food and water and collect eggs.

    **Edited to add that when I went out to make sure everyone made it into the coop before the auto door closed, I noticed she wasn't roosting but rather sitting down in the sand. Could be something, could be nothing but I thought I'd include the info**

    Any ideas? Should we try medications? If so, what?

    TIA
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  2. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm going to reply to my own thread here as I'm sure at some point in the future somebody will find this info helpful when making decisions about their own birds-

    I ended up taking Beatrix to the local avian vet today as I had determined that her crop was likely impacted and I did not feel comfortable administering any treatment for this at home for the following reasons-

    1. Her crop was very impacted and pendulous. This has likely been an issue for at least a week or more and it was at a point that I felt a professional opinion was warranted.

    2. I did not want to spend 2-3 days trying to treat this at home to end up having to take her to the vet 3 days from now. This was particularly pertinent as I'm leaving for vacation in a week. I didn't feel like I had a few days to spare.

    Long story short, I checked on Bea early this morning before she had access to food and water. Big full crop. Not hard, almost doughy. Either way, it should have been empty. I brought her in the house and confined her. She immediately checked out the water and took a few big drinks. I went to work and checked on her as soon as I came home-about 6 hours later. She had pooped several times which I took as an encouraging sign but her crop was exactly the same as it had been for the past 24 hours. Called the vet and took her in.

    The vet confirmed that her crop was indeed impacted and attempted to flush and aspirate it with flexible tubing attached to a syringe. We pulled a lot of fluid, partially digested food and SAND out of her crop. Lots of sand. Lots and lots of sand. Apparently my girl Bea has been eating the sand in the coop. Ultimately, the aspiration wasn't going to be successful in removing sand from her crop so she is going to have her crop dealt with surgically tomorrow and will wear a crop bra afterwards.

    Couple of lessons learned for me-

    1. I will no longer assume that because I have an automatic coop door, 5 gallon bucket waterer, and feeder that holds days worth of food that my chickens are largely on auto pilot. Bea did not lose a lot of weight or grow a baseball size crop overnight. I missed it. Plain and simple. Going forward, I will check my birds every time I gather eggs.

    2. Sand is not for me. When I first built my coop and run I used sand in both. I ended up hating it in the run as it always had a bad odor, even when freshly cleaned. I chalked this up to our coop/run being built on top of clay earth which doesn't drain. At all. I switched to straw in the run which I compost and found this to be a much better solution in our situation. I left sand in the coop, however, as I liked the ease of cleaning. This incident was a wake up call. I had already been planning to remove the sand for winter as I like the idea of DLM and wanted to give that a shot. Needless to say, I'll be switching to DLM first thing tomorrow.

    I know that sand works for a lot of people and that a lot of people love it and are passionate about the benefits. I think that is all true and I'm glad it works for some people. And yes, I realize that chickens can, and do, eat pine chips too! Everything has drawbacks. My two cents here is that regardless of what you use in your coop, be more diligent than I have been and make sure your birds don't think it is a tasty treat.

    Here is to hoping Bea makes a full recovery after they clean out her crop tomorrow. [​IMG]
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Glad to hear that your avian vet was able to help you. Hopefully, she will recover from her impacted crop. Many people don't have access to vets, muchless avian vets who know how to treat chickens. I had never had a crop problem for 6 years with chickens, but this year had 2 that died with sour crop a cople of weeks apart. I have used sand in my run in the past, but it has pretty much disappeared until I replenish it. Maybe your hen needed some chicken grit, or was lacking in some mineral that made her eat the sand. They can get a lot of things out free ranging, but it might be good to occasionally feed some minerals and to have grit available for free feeding. Good luck for a full recovery.
     
  4. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kansas City, MO
    Thanks, I hope she recovers too. You're right, it's nice having a couple of avian vets in the vicinity, especially when they're reasonably priced. I wasn't offering grit which was a mistake so I'm certainly offering it now. I'm also going to add a few extra feeders in case there is a bullying issue I'm not aware of. Poor thing, I hope she does okay going forward.
     

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