Recovering from impacted crop surgery - what would you do? UPDATE

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by puddinbabe, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. puddinbabe

    puddinbabe In the Brooder

    Jul 5, 2007
    The hen had surgery at the vet on Friday the 16th. She was doing great right after her surgery. She hadn't eaten for quite some time so she started chowing down on some crumbles (she wouldn't touch moist crumbles though). She was drinking alright. We were giving her some oral antibiotics. Five days after the surgery she seemed to take a turn for the worse. She wanted to sit down in the back of the dog crate with her butt to me. She was closing her eyes. When she was on her feet she seemed wobbly. I spoke to the vet and all he could think of was to try some more antibiotics, which is where we are now.

    Its been 11 days since surgery and she's been in the house for 15 days. She eats a little, but she needs to eat more. She will perch at night, so she's not that sick, but I just don't know what to do. We're going to keep her inside till we're done with the antibiotics which is prob another 5-7 days. She does fight taking them with all her strength (you have no idea she wasn't feeling well while trying to open her beak). The incision is healing nicely and is very clean. She is still sitting in the back of the crate during the day while her perch isn't in there, but she isn't wobbly on her feet any more. I have been giving her dried mealworms as treats and she'd eat 100 if I would give them to her. She doesn't want yogurt or any other treats, not even scratch. So she's just eating crumbles and some mealworm treats. The bright green has gone out of her poop, but it is a little greenish still, and there isn't too much of it.

    I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do if, when the antibiotics are over, she remains in the same condition. I'm sure she misses being outside and having sunlight. I put her in the coop for about 15 mins the other day, supervised, and she just kind of stood there. She was the alpha chicken, so the new alpha was trying to fight with her which is why I didn't leave her in longer. If she doesn't improve the choices are to put her back outside in the coop and hope it raises her spirits/health or to put her down. She doesn't seem to be in pain, but you can never tell with chickens. I thought for sure she was doing to die last week when she shut her eyes and sat down in the crate, cause that usually seems to be the case. But she's hanging in there. But I can't keep her inside forever.

    What would you do? Any advice or tips to help her recover? Think she'll bounce back or does this sound terminal? The vet said there could be an underlying health problem that we didn't diagnose.

    Update - Ended the antibiotics 5 days ago. She still doesn't want to eat. She's decided against everything I've offered. I bought 50 super mealworms the other day and she ate them all in 24 hours. I bought some again today and she won't touch them. But her mood hasn't changed. She is still perching at night and is drinking water and getting polyvisol. She just doesn't want to eat. So today I took her out to the coop to get some sun and socialize as I'm taking her to the vet tomorrow (and she might not come back). She wanted eat hay, which is what got her into this mess in the first place. She saw a few shoots of new grass and ate those. So she wants grass and not yummy, wiggly mealworms.

    Her crop feels a little soft, so she could have sour crop which is what I'm going to ask the vet about. But she isn't shaking her head or moving her neck around funny. She's a fighter and I don't think I can try to empty it myself. I have to have another person around just to get a syringe in her mouth for meds. I have ACV in her water. I can't believe she's still alive after not eating for so long. My sicks hens usually last a day or two and die, but this one just doesn't want to give up.

    Any advice?
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I wouldn't worry too much if she's eating. If they're going to survive, chickens heal real fast.
    I'd stick with the crumbles and mealworms. Live mealworms and hard boiled or scrambled egg would be good too. She might be craving protein. She's probably not laying so some higher protein grower crumbles would be good too. Any chicken feed will have the right blend of vitamins and minerals. Since she's not out in the sun, the eggs would help with vitamin D.
    You could put her out in the sun for a few minutes each day.
    A little organic ACV in the water may help.
    I'd definitely keep her inside till fully recovered.
    When the antibiotics run out, get some probiotics in her.
    If it's extremely cold where you are, you may have to make plans to acclimate her to the weather.
    When you put her back in the coop, I'd pull the bully out for a couple days.
    Good luck.
  3. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Songster

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    I agree with all of the advice in the previous post. Another thought - antibiotics can be very harsh on the digestive system, on humans as well as chickens. Perhaps her appetite is not the greatest right now because of the antibiotics she has been on. Once the antibiotics are finished, I agree with probiotics (yogurt if she will eat this) to help restore balance to her digestive system. I had a hen on antibiotics once for bumblefoot, and while she was taking them and for a long time afterward, it was a struggle to get her to eat. I made her warm pellet mash, oatmeal, bananas, and eggs every day for weeks, just to get her to eat. I joked at the time that I cooked better for my hen than I did for my family. She gradually got her appetite back and gained her weight back but it took several weeks. Good luck to you - I hope this helps [​IMG]
  4. make sure shes staying hydrated. add some booster (electrolytes/vitamins) to her water - you can find the powder type at almost any feedstore for cheap.

    feed her boiled or scrambled eggs, oatmeal, crumble drizzled with some honey or sugar water...something to get her some protein and perk her up. Don't let her gorge on dry crumbles or she may just get re-blocked...keep an eye on her crop, make sure shes passing her food, every morning feel her crop area and see if its emptied out. if it is, your good. if it isn't hold her food for a few hours and just offer her water. check her again after a few hours to see if her food has passed.

    Does her crop feel hot to the touch? if it does - infection may have set in [​IMG]

    Try putting her outside in the cage, or stick a piece of wire in one corner of the run area so she has an area all to herself but shes able to be out with the other chickens for a few hours a day. maybe that will perk her up, and will also slowly make it easier to re-introduce her with everyone else when shes able to defend herself. Will make it easier on everyone with her long absence from the flock.

    Good luck!
  5. puddinbabe

    puddinbabe In the Brooder

    Jul 5, 2007
    Thanks for all the advice so far. I only have 2 other chickens and the sick one was usually the bully. If I let her mingle in the coop I'll just make sure to keep the other two away. I'll try to give her some cooked eggs soon. Her crop is emptying so the surgery worked. I can't tell if the crop is warmer to the touch than normal. Hopefully 2 rounds of antibiotics will knock an infection out. I'm in GA so its not too cold outside, but I have been keeping her in a warm room. I hope it won't be too hard to acclimate. I just hope she perks up soon.
  6. puddinbabe

    puddinbabe In the Brooder

    Jul 5, 2007
    Just decided to syringe some yogurt into her after the polyvisol. Its certainly sour crop because the smell of her breath while swallowing was nasty. The vet we're going to see is just a general vet, not specific to birds, so he might not really want to do anything. Anything else I can syringe in to her crop that will help this illness?
  7. epeloquin

    epeloquin Songster

    Mar 11, 2011
    Western Massachusetts
    I had a couple girls with sour crop and I gave them yogurt with olive oil. I used the Greek yogurt because it has a lot more enzymes than regular and I mixed about 2 tbs. of olive oil to 1 cup plain yogurt. I also added 1 tbs cider vinegar per quart of water. I wonder if the surgery 'shocked' the crop and it's just not working right yet. I had a back surgery and for part of it they went through my belly and had to move my innards and they shut down after for several days (ew...I know) but I wonder of the manipulation from her surgery could have had a similar effect.

    Anyway, try the yogurt/olive oil and cider vinegar/water.

  8. puddinbabe

    puddinbabe In the Brooder

    Jul 5, 2007
    I thought oil was only for an impacted crop. Any idea on the expected time frame of beating sour crop with just yogurt and ACV, if at all?
  9. Sour crop tends to come from bacteria from the feed sitting in the crop. the olive oil will help coat the crop and hopefully help move it on into the body. Olive oil, yogurt, and ACV are the only things I know to cure sour crop that are an option with this girl.
  10. puddinbabe

    puddinbabe In the Brooder

    Jul 5, 2007
    The vet gave me another round of antibiotics and an anti-yeast to help the sour crop. She's got 5 days. If she doesn't start eating again and getting better by then we'll prob have to put her down.

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