Sick Chicken...sour crop? worms?? HELP!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LovinThisFarmGirlLife, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. LovinThisFarmGirlLife

    LovinThisFarmGirlLife Songster

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    Warning, LOOOOONG post!! But I'm desperate!

    Ok so I've been researching and treating my chicken all day and I've read sooooo many threads that now I think my chicken has every chicken condition under the sun! SOOOO I'm going to post my situation here and hope someone can help me figure out what's going on.

    The chicken in question is a hen that I inherited with the property we bought this last August, along with 9 other hens. I have no idea how old she is or what breed she is, but I'm guessing she's over 5 years old and I'm pretty sure she's an ISA Brown. She's a very large hen.

    I've been watching her pretty closely for several days (I don't know exactly how long because tbh I just thought she was getting old and was going to die:oops:) because initially I noticed that she was going to the coop earlier than the other birds and was staying in bed later than the other girls. She would do this for a day or so and then the next day she would be out and about with the rest of them. Which is also part of the reason I assumed she was just getting old. I feel like it's important to note at this point that she and the other hens that lived there when we moved in are not friendly at all. Impossible to catch and not social.

    So today I noticed she didn't come to the "flock party" which is strange because all of the chickens come running when I call them for their treats. I walked around to the back of the house and noticed her tail sticking out from under a bush. I figured she finally kicked the bucket, so I walked over to pick her up and dispose of her remains. To my surprise she was still alive but clearly not feeling well. So the research began....... I initially thought maybe she was eggbound. she also had foul smelling poop caked all over her rear end, so I took her inside to give her a bath hoping it would help if she truly was egg bound, and also to wash her up. Well, i was trying to get her clean, but had a hard time seeing what I was doing so I gently leaned her forward so I could get a better look at her rear end, and then she vomited a LARGE amount of the nastiest stuff I have ever seen come out of a mouth. It was so dark brown it was almost black and it smelled horrendous. Like seriously awful. Reminded me of cecal poop. So after I finished washing her up I started researching...again.

    To make a long story short, I'm fairly certain she has sour crop. But the stuff coming out doesn't smell sour, it smells foul. Again, like cecal poop. She stinks in general. It's awful! Also, she's not eating or drinking and she actually let me pick her up which tells me she's really not feeling well. Shes not egg bound...i checked....akward :sick In my research I read that the caked on poo could be from worms?! Also, at this point, from what I've read, it doesn't sound like there's much I can do for her. All of the other chickens I read about that had similar stories to her died :(. If I can make her better I will do everything I can. But first I have to know what's going on! Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!! I don't have pics, didn't think to take any until now :/. I do have her quarantined in a large dog crate in my garage. I removed food and water so I can check her crop in the morning when I get home from work...I hope she's still alive!
     
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  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    Hi
    Sadly this is unlikely to be a simple case of sour crop from your description of the vomit and the fact that her back end is also bad smelling and a mess. The caked on poop is usually due to abdominal swelling which alters the angle of the back end of the bird so that instead of angling upwards towards the vent so that there is an overhang and poop falls free, the back end becomes more vertical and poop catches on the feathers below. The abdominal swelling can be caused by a number of different ailments (reproductive issues are common in sex links like ISA Browns) and most of them are fatal, sooner or later. They often cause a blockage of the digestive tract and this may be why you are seeing this foul smelling liquid coming up over.

    I'm afraid the kindest thing would probably be to put her out of her misery. :hugs
     
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  3. LovinThisFarmGirlLife

    LovinThisFarmGirlLife Songster

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    That's what I kind of figured. :( Although at last check she was still alive! I can't help but try SOMETHING. I don't know if I would be able to live with myself if I gave up so soon without trying to nurse her back to health. Also, looking at other breeds, its possible that shes a white orpington. Is that a breed that commonly has reproductive issues? I don't want to prolong her suffering if she will in fact die, but I also don't want to just kill her without trying. :barnie
     
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  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    I have a hen who has been going through a similar experience. You really need to empty her crop by making her vomit at least once a day. Note that this can be very dangerous and has to be done correctly, but even then, she could choke and die. After emptying the crop, she will need to have water with electolytes to replace fluids, and that is best done by tube or crop feeding. I did this several days in a row, and gave Poultry NutriDrench and a 1/2 tsp of plain yogurt with 2 ounces of water. Nystatin, available online from FirstStateVetSupply or from a vet is an antifungal that you can give as well. Some use Monostat 1/3 suppository given orally twice a day. My girl is still alive after 5 weeks, but still not well. The rotten odor went away after getting the rotted food out of her crop.

    A vet familiar with chickens is always a good choice, since they can show you how to tube feed, and can even do crop surgery if needed. Tube feeding is easily learned from YouTube cideos, and you can buy a temporary tube by using aquarium air tubing plus a large syringe, but only for fluids. A larger catheter or tube is better for food. Inside the beak the tube goes down the chicken’s right side of the throat, avoiding the large hole in the middle of the mouth which is the airway or trachea.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    Do some searching here on BYC and on Google by entering “tube feeding a chicken.” You will see videos, how to threads and pictures. Casportpony has a lot of threads to read.
     
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  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    There is a huge difference between an ISA Brown and an Orpington of any colour, but an ISA Brown is brown/red with white flecks and a white Orpington, (which is not at all a common variety) would be white! This makes me wonder about how accurate your descriptions of her symptoms are if you can confuse these two breeds. I must admit that when you said she was huge, it didn't seem likely that she was an ISA or any other variety of red sex link. Unless she is internally laying which would distend her belly and may her look and feel bigger.
    I can understand you not wanting to give up on her without trying something and I do my utmost to help any sick chickens I have, but sometimes trying to medicate them when they are dying is stressful for you and them and it is kinder to just end it for them. I could ask you questions to try to identify the problem but if you are not familiar with chickens and unable to handle the other members of the flock to compare, it will be difficult to interpret any results you give. Things like checking for abdominal swelling and assessing body condition by feeling the breast.... these are subjective unless you have something to compare with. A photo of her poop would be helpful if she is managing to pass anything. A photo of the chicken herself would also help.
     
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  7. Morrigan

    Morrigan Free Ranging

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    I know how you feel, wanting to try to do something to help your hen. Unfortunately, sometimes there really is not much you can do . . . and it stinks.

    All I can suggest is keeping her in a warm, quiet location and offering her water, and some high quality, easy to eat food like scrambled eggs and yogurt. If you have a nutritional supplement, like Nutri-Drench, you can give her some of that. If she doesn't perk up in a day or so, or refuses to eat, it may be one of those situations where it is kinder to humanely put her down.

    The only other thing to do is to take her to a vet and/or take a sample of her droppings in to be tested for worms. But honestly, if this was my bird, and she seemed this bad, I probably wouldn't go that route. Very few vets are truly knowledgeable about chickens and I've read precious few stories here where taking a very sick bird to the vet ended up saving the chicken.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
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  8. LovinThisFarmGirlLife

    LovinThisFarmGirlLife Songster

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    Wow 5 weeks?! You are one dedicated chicken keeper!! I think that’s amazing that you’re so diligent and won’t give up :). I don’t think this girl is going to make it. Especially if it’s goinf to talk weeks to rehab her. She’s sooooo skinny :(. I have a lot of the above mentioned supplies already so I will try that and see if she makes it. I used a syringe with an IV catheter in the tip to feed her some ACV water when I got home. When I went back out to get some pictures of her she was standing! So maybe there is hope? Only rime will tell I guess. Thank your for your input and advice. I REALLY appreciate it! I LOVE this forum and how supportive people are most of the time. I learn so much!!

    Wow. Maybe I’m just suuuuper pissy after working all night, but really?! If I knew all things chicken, I wouldn’t be asking for help! I described her symptoms as accurately as I could. Those have nothing to do with the breed of bird she is. I assessed for a bound egg, I induced vomiting, I’ve palpate her entire body, ESPECIALLY her abdomen to check for acites or any other abnormality. She was a massive chicken. Now she’s super bony and frail. I am able to handle the 6 chickens I bought and raised from chicks this past fall and I assess them regularly for issues so I AM familiar with what to look for. Compared to them she is very bony. No swelling anywhere other than a slightly squishy crop which like I said, I have been massaging and emptying. This morning when I got home it seemed to be smaller than when I left her last night, and I was unable to get her to regurgitate anything. She still had a foul odor though.

    I assumed ISA brown based on a picture I saw of one. Then as I was combing through other chicken breeds, I saw Orpington and there was a brown one that looked JUST like her. I assumed it was called white, clearly I was wrong. But why the need to question everything I said based on my inability to GUESS the breed of a chicken I inherited?! I’m LEARNING as I’m sure you did too. I appreciate constructive criticism, but don’t put me down just because I don’t understand the ins and outs of all things chicken at this time. I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got to work with.

    I took some pics of her this morning when I got home, I’ll attach and maybe you can tell me what she is? The problem, I’ve found, is that there are so many different colors of different breeds that a lot of them look alike. She hasn’t had any poop since yesterday, but the stuff I cleaned off of her back side was brownish gray and thick. Almost like sandy clay. I appreciate you taking the time to work with me on this so I can learn. I’m afdraid im too late on her, but hopefully I can know what to watch for/prevent/treat next tine. Just please don’t assume I’m an idiot just because I guessed the wrong breed.

    Thank you, I agree. I WANT to make her better, but I really feel like all I will be doing is making her miserable and prolonging the inevidable. She is tucked away safely in a large kennel in my garage with fresh water and some chick started (because it’s crumbled) soaked in a little bit of olive oil. My whole philosophy has been to keep things as natural as possible, but it’s so hard not to intervene when you see a living being suffering. I’m going to try today and see how she does. If she’s not even mildly improved by this evening I’m just going to leave her be. Thank you for your input, I really appreciate it!!!
     
  9. LovinThisFarmGirlLife

    LovinThisFarmGirlLife Songster

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    @reberascora here she is. What is she? DE1AD714-A0AC-48AE-A393-738AD007FDDA.jpeg D8BA6622-FCA2-4B66-8EFF-FB4CC9F8D8AA.jpeg
     
  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    I'm sorry if my post came across wrong. I should not have posted this morning at all because I wasn't in a good mind set. :oops: My apologies.
    She is a Buff Orpington. Not a super productive breed but that doesn't preclude them from getting reproductive issues. That tail down, hunched stance can be indicative of a reproductive issue. Most domestic hens are at some risk from it as they have been selectively bred to produce far more eggs than nature intended. They are increasingly vulnerable to it as they get older too.
    If she is skin and bone, she would benefit from a direct heat source even if you have brought her into the house. She is not metabolising food to produce body heat, so she has eaten into her body reserves(breast muscle) to maintain her temp. Anything you can do to assist her in that respect, should buy her a little time. Not sure if that is a heat pad you have her on already but if not, a heat pad is probably better than a lamp which can be dehydrating.
    Keeping her hydrated with fluids and electrolytes and vitamins is obviously very important. If you can massage her crop without her refluxing, 10-15 mins 4 x a day is usually beneficial. If she is refluxing then it is best to vomit her to remove surplus contents so that it is safe to massage without continued risk of reflux.
    If you are not feeling any abdominal bloat like ascites then there is nothing that can be done if there is a reproductive issue other than keeping her clean and the skin around/below her vent oiled to prevent further build up. You can trim her butt feathers to help prevent soiling.
    Good luck with her.
     

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