Need to Tube Severely Molting Hen

micstrachan

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Oh, rats. She’s lost a significant amount of weight. Either that, or I didn’t get the proper weight the first time. I will step up my game. Remember the first day I was scared to death and started with fluids. She got very little food that day. Today’s been a pretty good day, so I hope it starts turning around.
 
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Overo Mare

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It's part art, part science and each bird is different. I had a bunch of young peafowl once, four I think, all about the same size. Three of those could tolerate 120 ml, but one could not tolerate more than 90 ml. You absolutely must weigh at least once a day. The has to be done because you must not let her lose weight while tube feeding.

@Overo Mare, can you share your experiences here?
First off....

Yay for mastering tube feeding! It really isn't as scary as it seems, huh? I remember my first time. So nervous. Now I can do it with my eyes closed. Also, your patient is absolutely adorable. ❤

I check poops, crops, and weigh my patients first thing in the morning. Every morning. I am super forgetful, so I like to take a pic of each bird on the scale. Easier for me to keep track of weight.

Once I'm done with that, then I am ready to tube. I use a 16 FR, but I also have a 14. I always make sure to place my tube so the tip is at the bottom of the crop. I'd rather it be way down in there than not far enough. When I place it, I hold the upper beak between my thumb and index finger of my non-dominant hand; placing my middle finger just inside to keep it open. This way you can really put a grip on their beak (upper only!), while stabilizing the tube, so they can't jerk away. I slide the tube between my thumb and index finger and periodically feel for it through the crop.


Once I'm in, I slowly and steadily (Think about two seconds between mls - just make sure it is both slow, and steady) start depressing the plunger. All birds are different as far as crop volumes. I always measure how much I put in my syringe before starting. When I'm done I calculate how much they got, by how much is left in the syringe. Don't forget to account for tube volume as well. My 16 FR holds exactly 3mls.

Periodically feel the crop to check how full it's getting. It is better to stop too soon, than too late. The more you feed, the more familiar you'll get with how much they can handle. I like to stop right where the crop opens up.

ChickenDigestiveTract.jpg


If you put your finger towards the top of the crop, about where their neck ties into their chest, you will feel that little junction. I stop when my finger can sit in that little divet, with their full crop touching the underside of my finger.

I have only ever tubed bantam Cochins. Very tiny birds. One could easily hold 50mls, while another could only hold 30 max. The crop will be firm, but still have a bit of give to it when you stop.

Sorry for the novel. If I missed anything, just let me know. You're doing great!
 
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micstrachan

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First off....

Yay for mastering tube feeding! It really isn't as scary as it seems, huh? I remember my first time. So nervous. Now I can do it with my eyes closed. Also, your patient is absolutely adorable. ❤

I check poops, crops, and weigh my patients first thing in the morning. Every morning. I am super forgetful, so I like to take a pic of each bird on the scale. Easier for me to keep track of weight.

Once I'm done with that, then I am ready to tube. I use a 16 FR, but I also have an 18. I always make sure to place my tube so the tip is at the bottom of the crop. I'd rather it be way down in there than not far enough. When I place it, I hold the upper beak between my thumb and index finger of my non-dominant hand; placing my middle finger just inside to keep it open. This way you can really put a grip on their beak (upper only!), while stabilizing the tube, so they can't jerk away. I slide the tube between my thumb and index finger and periodically feel for it through the crop.


Once I'm in, I slowly and steadily (Think about two seconds between mls - just make sure it is both slow, and steady) start depressing the plunger. All birds are different as far as crop volumes. I always measure how much I put in my syringe before starting. When I'm done I calculate how much they got, by how much is left in the syringe. Don't forget to account for tube volume as well. My 16 FR holds exactly 3mls.

Periodically feel the crop to check how full it's getting. It is better to stop too soon, than too late. The more you feed, the more familiar you'll get with how much they can handle. I like to stop right where the crop opens up.

View attachment 2476179

If you put your finger towards the top of the crop, about where their neck ties into their chest, you will feel that little junction. I stop when my finger can sit in that little divet, with their full crop touching the underside of my finger.

I have only ever tubed bantam Cochins. Very tiny birds. One could easily hold 50mls, while another could only hold 30 max. The crop will be firm, but still have a bit of give to it when you stop.

Sorry for the novel. If I missed anything, just let me know. You're doing great!
Thank you! You are right; not so scary!

I haven’t actually felt for the tube through the crop. Good tip!

Ester will eat a couple blueberries and wheat berries, but still won’t touch regular feed or water. I offered fermented feed, and she “smacked her lips” at it, but it was right after tubing, and she didn’t take any.

I really don’t like removing birds from the flock, but see no other option here since she’s still shivering occasionally, even inside the warm house, and is not eating (much) or drinking on her own.

I’ll keep at it.

So if I make the formula too thick, the tube shoots off the syringe. I have to make it pretty wet. Any ideas for boosting calories? Add raw egg? Honey? Coconut oil? Or just do meals more often. I tried to do every two hours today. Should I shoot for every hour?

Here’s a selfie we just took after her last feeding.
E7DC3381-0101-4135-8515-B564490C36F5.jpeg
 
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Aussie-Chookmum

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Thanks, Kathy! She’s been fed twice today and I’ll do it again soon. The little sweetheart is sooo good about it. When she knows it’s time, she starts sort of “smacking her lips,” even though she has a beak. LOL. Then she stands there and allows me to drape the towel over her back and wings, and gently tuck it around her. A couple tries last night she screamed, but I suspect that’s because her head and neck are molting too, now.

YES, there was a definite cecal poop last night before bed. Why is that important? Also, last night she had a few real poops.

This girl is living in the house right now. I feel so bad for her, but let her out for a bit Saturday and she just self-isolated in the coop shivering, so I brought her back in.

This video of her last night really shows her nakedness:
It's good to see her preening those pin feathers. Hopefully they will be opening out in the next few days.
 

micstrachan

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It's good to see her preening those pin feathers. Hopefully they will be opening out in the next few days.
I agree. I think (and hope) they are getting less uncomfortable. She’s mostly still just sitting around, but is walking more normally (vs. the sideways squat wobble walk).
 

Overo Mare

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So if I make the formula too thick, the tube shoots off the syringe.
Fun times, huh? I've made some giant messes before I finally figured out consistency.

I actually prefer using a bronchial suction tube that you would use on human patients that are on a vent. They are sturdier and my syringes lock into them pretty snugly.

Top is 14 FR lamb tube, bottom is 16 FR suction tube.
20200918_095750.jpg


With an 18 like yours, you'll need to make it a bit thinner. Think "pea soup". Make sure you're letting it sit for 5-10ish minutes as well. Don't let it get cold though! I make mine in a little dip cup, and set that down in hot water. I temp check with a thermometer before feeding.

How much are you giving her? I would fill her up to where you feel comfortable, wait for her crop to empty, fill again. The formula has all the calories she needs in it. If she is losing weight overnight, you're just not giving her enough. With my real sick birds, I tubed every 3 hours. Beginning at 8 a.m. and stopping at 8 p.m.
 
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micstrachan

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Fun times, huh? I've made some giant messes before I finally figured out consistency.

I actually prefer using a bronchial suction tube that you would use on human patients that are on a vent. They are sturdier and my syringes lock into them pretty snugly.

Top is 14 FR lamb tube, bottom is 16 FR suction tube.
View attachment 2476488

With an 18 like yours, you'll need to make it a bit thinner. Think "pea soup". Make sure you're letting it sit for 5-10ish minutes as well. Don't let it get cold though! I make mine in a little dip cup, and set that down in hot water. I temp check with a thermometer before feeding.

How much are you giving her? I would fill her up to where you feel comfortable, wait for her crop to empty, fill again. The formula has all the calories she needs in it. If she is losing weight overnight, you're just not giving her enough. With my real sick birds, I tubed every 3 hours. Beginning at 8 a.m. and stopping at 8 p.m.
Thanks for your feedback!
 

micstrachan

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I will admit I haven't gone through the entire thread.

Did you ever get her properly hydrated? She must be hydrated before receiving the formula.
Yes, I think so. Also, her poop was so watery, I thought it might be too much. Should I keep at it with the fluids? The formula is pretty watery . Also, while I’m using size 18 for fluids, I think I went with 24 for feed.
 
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