Silkie hen not digesting food

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by azathoth, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. azathoth

    azathoth New Egg

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    Oct 21, 2011
    Hi, I have a 4 year old silkie hen. We noticed she had been lethargic and not eating or moving much. Still standing but just staying still. She apparently wasn't eating the day we found her because her crop was small and hard. We figured she may have an impacted crop. Gave her a bit of oil and massaged the crop. This eliminated the hard feeling and we heard some digestive sounds. We gave her some easy to digest foods and water. She ate some yogurt and lots of water. She then started to regurgitate the water when she bent down to drink. At this point we noticed her crop was full and squishy and thought maybe she had sour crop, or at least couldn't pass much fluid beyond the crop. We started to drain her when we noticed this and she was in fact full of sour fluid with bits of feed and grass. We fed her yogurt, water, and some garlic and a little ground up grain.

    We did this for a few days and the sour smell is mostly gone, the crop isn't staying as full, and she isn't regurgitating water. Still passing watery stool and she doesn't want to eat much. It seems she just isn't digesting much food though and her crop is always full at night even if she doesn't eat much. Today we drained her and still found some of her normal grain from before this problem started, coming out. It has been 5 days since she ate that food. A vet is too expensive for us right now as our only car threw a rod and we must commute an hour everyday.

    She is more lively than when we discovered this issue. Could she be impacted beyond the crop?

    Does anyone know have an idea of what is going on with her?
     
  2. Dar

    Dar Overrun With Chickens

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    if you emptied her crop then she will need some grit to help with the grinding process... keep trying on the soft foods... make scrambled eggs and mix some grit in it and also mix the grit into the yogurt too
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    It does sound like she did and still does have a soured crop, although at that age, she could have developed other intestinal issues further down from the crop. Even though there is no smell to the crop contents, because the foods are not moving at the proper rate, there could still be a yeast or fungal infection in the crop or it will continue to sour if it is not emptying out each night. If she is pooping at all, even if it is a tiny bit, I doubt she is impacted further down, but keep an eye on this.

    I just went thru a long issue with sour crop, so I know what you are going thru. Since you can not see a vet, the first thing I would try is raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar in the water. Mix 3 tablespoons of the vinegar to one gallon of water. Offer it to all the chickens as it won't hurt them. Yeasts and fungus's can not survive in the highly acidic environment so just in case she IS suffering from a simple soured crop, this will keep it under control until she can shake it off.

    Next, I would only offer her soft foods like hard boiled eggs drenched in yogurt, soft veggies like tomatoes, etc...Do not feed her any sweet fruits that will cause the yeast or fungus to blossom. Stay away from the seeds also, as you are trying to allow her easy digestion, as seeds are hard to break down. Bread is ok, but nothing too yeasty. Tortillas are a good bread to feed. You want to give her digestive tract a break and allow to heal. Wet her feed down to make a mash so that it digests as quick as possible.

    Keep up with this for a few weeks. Keep her vomited when her crop feels too bloated and squishy. If you see her squiggling her neck around, that means her crop may need to be vomited or maybe just a burping. (to burp her, pick her up and hold her against you by her crop. That will expel the air from the crop and that air is very uncomfortable for her)

    Good luck with your baby, I know exactly what you are going thru. [​IMG]
     
  4. azathoth

    azathoth New Egg

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    Oct 21, 2011
    Thank you so much! I think we are on the right track but we started to get discouraged as the issue has been drawn out. Hearing these posts really helped.
    Can we use regular vinegar for one night until we make it to town tomorrow? Or will that harm her?
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    I have never used regular white vinegar before, however you should be able to use it for a short period of time with no ill effects. I would only use 1 tablespoon of the white vinegar until you get the apple cider vinegar. And of course you can use regular filtered ACV for now if that is all you have, the same as the unfiltered, but try to get the unfiltered stuff. All the benifits of the ACV are in the stuff that is floating around in it, the stuff that is normally filtered out with the grocery store stuff.

    This may take a while to clear up, so be patient. When you vomit her, only hold her forward and only for no more than 10 seconds at a time so she can breathe. You will never get it all out, but vomit her a few times each time to get as much out as you can. Leaving that stuff in her can kill her.

    Have you changed feeds in the last month? This can be an issue as a new feed may be causing her digestive trouble. Keep us posted on her progress! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Also...If she continues too long with this sour crop and loses a lot of weight, you may need to isolate her either in the house, or garage and add a red heat lamp to her at night only as sick birds get cold. I had to keep my girl under an infra-red heat lamp for over a month as she would get really cold and cold birds will NOT move their crops. You would be surprised how much poop they will make if the are warm versus being cold and sick.

    The reason I ask about the feed is that in my girls case, I had started them on a new feed and she turned up with sour crop. It did effect the others with diarrhea and such, but not as badly as the sick girl.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011

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