Need help with a young hen acting strange

MarkS

Hatching
Feb 24, 2020
5
2
8
My chicken is young, she was born late fall, and still does not have all of her adult feathers, face feathers, a few white downey feathers near the wattles and beak.

I have some game fowl styled chickens. Saturday, 2 days ago, I noticed Eleanor off to herself not doing anything, just standing.
I see her shifting her crop area, moving it left and right, head elongating to help some sort of discomfort. She seemed sick to I grabbed her up and brought her inside.
She continues shifting her swollen crop, I had given them peanuts and I thought that maybe she had eaten a shell, I could hear something popping in her crop when I moved and squeezed it. THinkin this could be something caught in her throat I made some granite grit, and she pecked through it, finding the best pieces.

In the morning her crop had shrunken down. I have not seen her eating or drinking. She can walk but it is stiff and she has no motivation. Seems to prefer just standing in one place. She keeps her tail down, and seems to be tried but will not sit. She closes her eyes in sleep but can't sleep. Last night I saw her sitting, and her tail was flared out in full display, looking like how a chicken looks when they are on their eggs and fluffing out to get you to go away. At this time, I noticed the heavy breathing, like some people describe for egg bound. I kind of think she is too young for laying, but I am afraid that she is egg bound. She still shifts the crop, but not as often and not with the same frequency, 1 or 2 shifts instead of a constant adjustment.
I took her to work with me today meaning to take her to a vet, but none of the vets treat chickens so I am left to my own for now.

I gave her a warm epsom bath last night for 20 minutes, she seemed content and maybe even enjoyed it. I could hear noises, like a stomach grumbling, like she was hungry? I don't hear any throaty noises like congestion or smell anything sour like sour crop is supposed to be. So I think I will try to probe her this evening and check to see if I can feel an egg.

A few months back, I had become worried she might have had merricks, because she couldn't stand very well and was weak. I feed her a bung of bugs and egg shells and she got better in a day and was perfectly normal. I put this in here in case this is a continuation of the earlier problems. I raised this one by hand and so she didn't have the benefit of a mother showing her what to eat or anything like that after she was about 5 days old.

Any help in diagnosis or efforts to remedy her ailment will be greatly appreciated.

Mark
https://youtu.be/1OnWAy7ZfhI
this is a video of how she moves her head trying to adjust her crop. She still will not sit, stays standing.

that video was a few hours earlier today
I didn't soak her yet. I was waiting to see if I heard back from anyone here. I am going to soak her in a few minutes. How can that hurt anything. She ate some scratch when we got home, and ate a few blueberries at work. But eating seems to inflame the problem. Before eating the neck stretching wasn't as often or pronounced. But I have read that being egg bound can affect the whole bird from tip to tail so I will proceed as if this is egg bound, and wait to see if I get advice before I check for an egg. By the way she did poop, it looked a lot like a berry she has eaten a few hours earlier. I picked it up and put it outside, and when I washed my hands I saw something that looked like blueberry skin. The defecation was black, with some white. I don't usually smell chicken poo but this was not unpleasant, not rancid. She ate about 5 blue berries today, a bit of strawberry and some scratch. I don;t know how much water she has taken. I haven't seen her take water but she did sip at the strawberry juice on the plate. She is able to flap out of the box I took her to work in. But is mostly lethargic and lackluster. Definitely something beating her down.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,597
22,695
912
Colorado Rockies
It sure sounds like a crop disorder and her neck gyrations lend to that theory. So does her eating making it worse.

Feel the crop. Do you feel hard lumps? Does it feel like more than a golf ball size amount? To really confirm a crop disorder, the crop needs to be checked in the morning after the chicken hasn't had food and water for twelve hours.
 

MarkS

Hatching
Feb 24, 2020
5
2
8
I first saw it Saturday, this was after the peanuts. Sunday morning the crop felt empty. She seems to be passing stuff too. I have her inside, with some grit, some crushed egg shells, water and some scratch. I will give her some more berries when I get home since she likes them so much. The gyrations seem more frequent after she eats. If she got a peanut shell in her crop will it dissolve with time? I don't think anything feels like it is stuck in the crop, I think it is emptying. I soaked her in an epsom bath last night and then put a heater blowing on the box and she seems like like the heat, stays close to it. But when I checked her before going to sleep she was far from it, the other side. This morning she had moved to the heater side. I doubt this is meaningful, chickens like to sun. This morning I saw some gyrations before I left, and some more of the scratch was gone. I didn't look for poo, will update when I get home.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,597
22,695
912
Colorado Rockies
Peanut shells won't digest. They would hopefully be ground up by the gizzard and flushed out with the poop. If the gyrations continue unresolved, I would give her a teaspoon of coconut oil and do a light massage, but stop immediately if any fluid is regurgitated.
 

MarkS

Hatching
Feb 24, 2020
5
2
8
Would having problems with the crop make her want to stand up all the time, she rarely sits since I have noticed this problem. If she has something in her crop that wont go down would she be more comfortable standing? The one thing that really puzzles me is she doesn't seem to want to sit even at night for sleep.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,597
22,695
912
Colorado Rockies
The thing that concerns you is an individual quirk. Some chickens prefer to stand while sleeping. Others will crouch on the perch with their heads hanging down like they're waiting for the ax to fall.

A sick chicken will often stand off at the edge of the flock or hide in the coop. Usually, when a sick chicken is sitting in a crouch, they are too weak to stand.

Don't try too hard to get into the tiny brain of a chicken. There isn't room for the two of you.
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
27,803
37,484
1,182
Southern N.C. Mountains
I have her inside, with some grit, some crushed egg shells, water and some scratch. I will give her some more berries when I get home since she likes them so much. The gyrations seem more frequent after she eats. If she got a peanut shell in her crop will it dissolve with time?
Good suggestions from @azygous
The only thing I would add is stop the scratch and egg shells for the time being.
I would give her her normal feed that is soaked/wet and mushy. The berries are probably o.k. for a treat. If she's having troubles processing foods, then adding "hard" foods does not help.
She does need to be drinking. If she's not liking water at the moment, you mentioned she sipped at strawberry juice, mash up some berries, get the juice and add a little extra water - think out of the box here. Dehydration won't help her one bit, you want the system moving.
 

MarkS

Hatching
Feb 24, 2020
5
2
8
Thanks for the help. She seems to be better now. I still am not sure what the problem was but I will not give her peanuts anymore. Maybe she got some kind of cold and needed to be inside to weather it out. It has been warmer here for the past few days and I had let her stay in the yard/coop in daylight. The first two nights I took her inside. But yesterday she had enough spunk to outrun me even with a net so I let her stay out, when she had cornered herself inside the coop in order to stay.

Today I didn't try to catch her, but her behavior was normal. No heavy foot falling. No lethargic dazing. Back to a normal bird. I was able to get her to take a tiny amount of coconut oil. She wouldn't eat it. Should I have force fed her the solid oil or droppered it down? She only nibbled at it and seemed determined not to take it so I let her be. Not sure if that helped at all but I did try it and it was part of the solution. Elanor thanks you.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone if something else happens I will respond back but as of today I think things are better. And it seems to have been something she wasn't passing. I think it was a peanut shell.
 
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