Pullet seeking plant matter, grit

cate1124

Songster
10 Years
Jul 3, 2011
136
204
187
I am baffled by the behavior of my 8-month-old Easter Egger, who stopped laying about a month ago. She was suddenly lethargic a couple of weeks back, so I took her to the chicken vet that same day. Her exam was normal, and her X-ray, too, though the vet remarked on a large amount of grit in the proventriculus. The vet gave fluids and an RX of Tylan as a prophylactic against something that might -- or might not -- be starting in her lungs. My hen was her old self the next morning, and the vet said I could discontinue the antibiotics, as syringing them down her beak was a big stress and, from her quick rebound, it seemed there wasn't any infection.

She has remained active, bright-eyed and healthy-looking, but in the last week or so is not eating much and seems to be very interested in plant material, snow crystals, and other roughage. (The flock ranges outside at least part of most days, and can also get grit free-choice in the coop.) Something seems amiss with her digestion that is making her want to load up on grit-like material. Her poop is often very watery, and solids are generally not cohered; she passes whole pieces of grass and fiber. I think worms are highly unlikely, given the time of year and where I live; also, the vet did not suggest them.

What the heck is going on? Could she just be in a weird growth phase reflected in diminished appetite for real food and increased appetite for roughage? Or is this distinctive foraging for roughage an indication of some lack I can address? She is a very slight hen -- under two pounds -- and I am concerned about the small amount of digestible food she seems to be eating; I want her to put on weight. I've offered every treat I can think of, in addition to layer ration, and apart from more dominant flock mates, so I know competition is not keeping her from eating.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,372
38,437
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Colorado Rockies
She may have two things going on. One, she may have pica. This is a compulsive obsessive condition that animals and people get where they feel compelled to eat some strange non-nutritional things such as rocks, dirt, sand, metal objects, paper, etc.

The second thing is it sounds like your little girl has an obstruction, probably down in her gizzard.

First, she needs to be kept away from grass and other hard to digest things for a while until this resolves. Second, you can try giving her oil to break up the blockage, and if that doesn't resolve the issue, you can try a flush, either molasses or Epsom salts.

Epsom salt flush is one cup of warm water with a teaspoon of Epsom salts dissolved in it. Give as the only water source for one day.

Or you can choose a molasses flush. You will mix one teaspoon of molasses in one-fourth cup warm water and let her drink it all.
 

cate1124

Songster
10 Years
Jul 3, 2011
136
204
187
She may have two things going on. One, she may have pica. This is a compulsive obsessive condition that animals and people get where they feel compelled to eat some strange non-nutritional things such as rocks, dirt, sand, metal objects, paper, etc.

The second thing is it sounds like your little girl has an obstruction, probably down in her gizzard.

First, she needs to be kept away from grass and other hard to digest things for a while until this resolves. Second, you can try giving her oil to break up the blockage, and if that doesn't resolve the issue, you can try a flush, either molasses or Epsom salts.

Epsom salt flush is one cup of warm water with a teaspoon of Epsom salts dissolved in it. Give as the only water source for one day.

Or you can choose a molasses flush. You will mix one teaspoon of molasses in one-fourth cup warm water and let her drink it all.
Hello! Good to hear from you! But wouldn't an obstruction have revealed on x-ray? If the vet could see grit in the proventriculus, it seems likely she would see an obstruction in the gizzard.

If I try these treatments, what oil would you use, and how would that be administered? Also, can the entire flock have either flush? I can separate her, if not. Just easier to not have to.
 

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