Suspected severe sour crop - new chicken owners

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChookieWookie, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. ChookieWookie

    ChookieWookie In the Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2018
    Victoria, Australia
    First post from long-time lurkers.

    We bought a couple of scrawny chickens from a dodgy back yard breeder. Both had pretty pale combs, patchy feathers. One had a runny nose and would cough/sneeze.

    Months later and one of them, the one without the runny nose, is very healthy - plenty of weight, bright red comb, and laying regularly.

    The other one, the cougher/sneezer is still very small and looks funny - like she has no neck and a puffy chest. That said, her comb did improve and she was behaving like the other hens and even laid regularly. In the last few days, she has become sick, exhibiting the following symptoms:
    • Pale comb
    • Severe lethargy
    • Isolation from other hens
    • Limited or no eating or drinking
    • Vomiting yellow foul-smelling liquid when picked up
    • Rattling sound when breathing
    • Very watery poop
    • Foul-smelling breath (actually started a few weeks ago)
    We did notice some lice on all of the hens and have dusted the flock, but we doubt this is the cause of such acute sickness.

    At this point we think it's sour crop and have done the following:
    • Dusted for mites and lice
    • Isolated her indoors
    • Manually induced vomiting to empty her crop
    • Fed some anti-fungal medication oil and yogurt
    • Fed some water

    We will probably repeat the above until she either improves or dies.

    Any advice to the contrary? Is she too far gone, and is euthanasia the only humane option?

    Slow / lethargic reaction (WARNING loud sound):


    Rattling breath (head tucked in wing):



    Thanks in advance for the replies!
     
  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Hi
    I'm sorry your hen is so sick. Answers to a few more questions would be helpful in deciding a way forward....
    1. How does her crop feel? Is it completely emptying overnight?
    2. How does her abdomen feel... between her legs and below her vent? Any abnormal swelling? Compare how she feels to a healthy chicken. Reproductive disorders which cause abdominal swelling can constrict the gut and lead to slow/sour crop. No point in trying to free up her crop if the blockage is further down her system. Is she passing any poop and if so, what dies it look like?
    3. How is her body condition? Does her breast bone feel sharp under her skin or is she still reasonable well padded.
    4. Have you massaged her crop or just vomited her and was she wheezy before you vomited her. My concern would be that she aspirated, either during vomiting or perhaps when she was refluxing on her own. Regular massage can help to break up a blockage but you need to be careful if she is refluxing and empty the crop a bit first. Obviously, if massaging her crop causes undue respiratory distress, discontinue. I normally aim to massage for 10-15mins 3-4 times a day and only offer homogenous wet food like crumbles/pellets soaked in warm water to form a mush or scrambled eggs. A poultry supplement like Nutri Drench or Poultry Cell is beneficial.
    5. Is she still interested in food and water or are you having to force feed her? Once they lose interest in food they rarely recover in my experience and it might be kinder to end her suffering.
     
    ChookieWookie likes this.
  3. ChookieWookie

    ChookieWookie In the Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2018
    Victoria, Australia
    It was full before she vomited. We haven't been observing her crop until today, so will see if it's empty tomorrow morning.

    We haven't checked that yet, will report back tomorrow morning after checking the sick chook and the healthy ones.

    Yes, it's mostly clear and watery.

    Extremely underweight. Quite bony.

    No massage before the vomiting, but she has been wheezing before that. Her crop has been massaged since vomiting.

    Sounds good, thank you for the detailed advice.

    Not really, we've been force feeding her.

    That's hard to hear. Will see if she gets better or worse overnight...

    Thanks for the questions and info =)
     
  4. ChookieWookie

    ChookieWookie In the Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2018
    Victoria, Australia
    Her condition was stable for a couple of days, giving us hope for a possible recovery.

    Today her condition deteriorated significantly. She was losing balance, not swallowing water or food, and almost never opening her eyes. We made the decision to euthanise her.

    She'd been underweight and had smelly breath for weeks, wish we'd looked into it earlier. One positive outcome is that we have learned a lot about crop health, and will be better equipped to recognise, treat and preferably, avoid sour crop in the future.


    R.I.P "Sneezy"
    sneezy.png
     
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    I'm so sorry you lost her, but it is good that you can put a positive slant on it by considering it a learning experience. I'm not sure if you would consider taking that to the next level by opening her up to find out what may have actually caused her sour crop as that could also be helpful in the future.... for example if her crop was blocked with straw or if she had a reproductive issue going on that had backed her up from lower down her digestive tract. Quite a few of us do our own informal necropsies and share photos of what we find and discuss the likely cause of death. I also palpitate the intestines for round worms and open up any parts where I can feel something suspicious. Round worms are about 1.5 inches long and 1-2mm thick so you can often feel adult worms inside the gut and this gives me an idea of the possible worm burden of my flock and indicates if it might be time to consider worming them. I consider finding one or perhaps 2 worms acceptable particularly in a hen that was sick for a while and her immune system compromised, but a significant number would be a red flag.
    I will find and post a link to one of the threads where we share such necropsy info/photos if you are interested.
     

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