Silkie Crop. What's Normal. What's Not?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cbookout, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. cbookout

    cbookout Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2015
    North Texas
    Hello,

    My husband bought me a 3 mo old while silkie for my birthday 2 days ago. I also have Easter Eggers, NH Reds, Buff Orpingtons and Speckled Sussex hens. This silkie doesn't seem as hardy as my other birds nor as intelligent. I prefer hardy, larger birds that are excellent foragers and layers. It doesn't seem like this silkie will be any of these things.

    Yesterday I noticed it has a ping pong sized ball in its crop. I massaged it several times yesterday and this morning the size had gone down about 1/4 from its original size. However, there was still a firm mass in the crop after sleeping all night with no access to food and only water.

    The other odd thing is that she is pooping well and its is normal.

    Being that this is a new bird and breed to me and its seems to already have something going on only 2 days after getting it I guess I'm looking for some advice from fellow silkie owners.

    Can the crop be impacted even if the bird is having very regular and normal poop? If the crop is hard does that always mean an impaction or could it be overeating? Are silkies more prone to health problems (kind of like specialty pure bred canines)? I'm not sure I'm comfortable using a syringe to administer water mixed with colace because I'd be too afraid of aspirating the bird so any advice on how to do this is helpful too. And should I just return the bird since it may not be healthy?

    Any help or advice is appreciated.

    Thanks,
    CB
     
  2. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jun 23, 2015
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    Welcome to BYC and the wonderful world of chickens!


    Silkies are adorable and docile, but they don't get a prize for intelligence or strength. They are created through a lot of mutations, so they have extra toes, feathered legs, a crest, dark skin, and strange feathers. The crest can block their vision, but this is easily corrected with regular trimming (that is what I do). Silkies do well in a variety of weather conditions, but they don't do well when it come to flying, running or jumping, so they can't escape predators easily (I lost four to predation). They are, however, amazing broodies, and they are also okay at foraging.

    Make sure that they have grit available and plenty of water. You can try putting some olive oil (a couple drops) into the mouth to prevent a blockage or help get rid of any blockage. Otherwise, I don't think its something to worry about.

    Silkies are prone to head injuries due to the crest, toe problems becasuesof the feathered feet and extra toes, and parasites because of how they are feathered. They also do poorly in wet weather as they can catch a chill from getting damp.


    I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any questions you have. Best of luck! [​IMG]


    Princess, the wonderful mother of these three chicks (adoptive mother)
    [​IMG]

    Fred, a handsome rooster that we lost to predation
    [​IMG]

    Fred and his sister, Ginger, snuggled up with our kittens for the trip home
    [​IMG]

    Mavis, the brain trauma patient. She never did heal from the injury, but she was a sweet pet
    [​IMG]

    Our silkie flock, including the naked-neck rooster Flo, Toto, Princess, Cole, and Azul
    [​IMG]
     
  3. cbookout

    cbookout Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2015
    North Texas
    Thank you GitaBooks. You were correct. I'm happy to report that after 18hrs of withholding food and giving nothing but water and a teaspoon full of watered down plain yogurt our new Silkies Crop was completely empty. I changed out its flooring to part clean dirt with DE powder added, crushed oyster shell, chick grit and some pine shavings. Before it was all pine shavings. After I started food again its crop started to fill up again and get firm. I guess silkies just have more noticeable crops after eating than the other larger breeds? I check my others crops now and again and they are a lot less noticeable and less firm. Also I notice this one acting like its gagging a few times a day. Again something I've never seen in my others.

    Thank you for your advice. If I keep this little one I will most likely pick up a silkie companion from her hatchling companions. I introduced her to my 11 hens and 1 rooster today and my speckled sussex hens and speckled sussex rooster were extremely aggressive towards her. I'm sure if I left them alone together they would kill her. Luckly I have a large hen house and my original starter hen house and I'll just put the new silkies in there, separate but in view, until they are a bit bigger.

    I will say I've never seen anything sweeter than this bird. She will sit on my shoulder while I make breakfast for my kids, fall asleep in my lap at night, etc. Is that normal? I got my other birds at 2 months and although one of my buff O's and one of my NH reds will let me touch them and pick them up when I offer scratch none were ever as docile as this.

    GitaBooks, I am going to keep the head trimmed so it can be on the look out for an attack but what can I do about the toe feathers? Sure they look neat but they are completely impractical. I can't imagine the amount of poo that gets stuck in the feathers. Plus I would imagine its a lot like the dew claw in dogs and can get torn away. What can I do about these? Can I pluck them out now before they get extremely large and full of blood? Will they come back? Can I trim them? My birds have 10,000 sq ft of wooded space for free ranging at all times. There are large patches of grass and weeds and vines but its very wooded. Some areas I cannot even get to. I'm worried the more natural landscape I've provided for my birds might be a little too tough for Silkies and their special needs.

    Thanks again. Heres a pic. If you have an opinion on the sex too that would be great. It has blue earlobes which is super cool and no comb to speak of...yet.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Some chickens just seem more prone to "gagging", jerking the neck to help swallow their food down if they eat too much. A lot of my chickens do it, but it doesn't effect their health.

    Silkies are so sweet! Those raised around people make the best pets of almost any chickens out there. Some are even kept indoors. They like to stay around their house, they probably won't wonder too far away, especially if they aren't excepted into the main flock (they may be excepted, but they probably won't ever really hang-out with them).

    You can try trimming some of the toes feathers, but they get really matted and its hard to tell what is feather and what is skin. Trimming them would certainly work, just avoid new blood feathers or extra toes getting snipped.

    Very pretty chicken. It looks like a pullet. I'm glad you are getting her a silkie buddy. [​IMG]
     
  5. cbookout

    cbookout Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2015
    North Texas
    GitaBooks,

    Ended up going back and getting a little Hatchling companion for my silkie. Anna and Elsa.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  6. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Adorable pictures! They look so happy!

    And I love the names. [​IMG]
     
  7. cbookout

    cbookout Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2015
    North Texas
    GitaBooks,

    I found a guy that has 3 silkie chicks and he's trying to rehome one due to it not getting along with the rest of the flock. Its 3 months old, same as my little silkies. I'm trying to decide if I should take this little one from him and add it to my two. He thinks it a Roo based on the fact that it picks on his white one.

    Do you think its a good idea? I got mine from a breeder and mine were hatched and raised together. My white one is growing at a much faster rate than my black one. White one eats feed non-stop and I've noticed black one prefers to hunt bugs and is not as impressed with feed as much as my white one is. Black one prefers bugs, grass and fresh produce. But they get along great and are fairly docile. Although now that I have moved them out to a separate coop and run instead of living in my house 1/2 the time they are not nearly as calm and actually try to get away from me now where as before they would follow me around and just let me scoop them right up. Thats okay with me though they need to learn to run from predators and things that are bigger than them.

    I want to help with guy out and take his unwanted silkie. But I don't know anything about silkies. Would it be a bad idea to get a new silkie that is a proven bully or do you think my two would put it in its place since it was joining a new flock? Here are two photos he sent me of the bully silkie.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    He's a gorgeous color! I'm getting a buff chick in a few days. [​IMG]


    If your two silkies are pullets, then he should do well with them. Teen roos can be bullies, with both pullets (trying to breed with them) and other roosters. However, I find that my two silkie roosters get along and they share a perch at night and stand guard together during the day. Make sure he is healthy and then slowly introduce him over a week or two so that they don't feel rushed.

    However, if you have any concern about over-aggression, healthy problems, or having too many roosters then you shouldn't take him.

    Best of luck! [​IMG]
     
  9. cbookout

    cbookout Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2015
    North Texas
    So you think its a Rooster based on those pics?

    Right now (if my two silkies turn out to be female) I have one speckled sussex Roo for 13 hens. So if this is a Roo then will that be enough hens per Roo?

    Im pretty positive my little black silkie is a hen but the white one is growing extremely fast and its head feathers are not as rounded. So I'm a little worried already that it may turn out to be a roo. But I'm not sure. I just don't have enough experience with silkies to be a good judge.

    If you don't mind I'm going to take some pics of them close up and send to you later. If my two silkies are hens in your opinion then I'll probably go get this other silkie. But I don't think I can have 3 roos for only 12 hens.
     
  10. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Sounds good.

    I have two male silkies that get along, even with only a few roosters of their own (I have a standard rooster who gets most of them). However, mine were raised around one another (one is younger then the other and I think the older one sort of adopted the second. The second is the boss of the two, however).

    I'll do my best with the pictures.
     

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