the story of the impacted crop

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by cobrien, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    First, has anyone else heard the old wive's tale that you shouldn't name your chickens, because the ones name are the first to die? It almost came true!

    I've had my 4 pullets for 1 week now, 3 black australorps and 1 marans. A few days ago, one of the australorps was chasing a fly around the brooder and almost killed it, but the injured fly made it out of the brooder and was struggling on the ground. I picked it up and gave it to the little chick. Ever since then, when I walk by, she runs up to me begging for more, and she hops into my hand. So cute! She is the smallest of the bunch and for some reason reminds me of a blueberry, so I named her Miss Halle Blueberry.

    Since she ate the fly, I figured I should give them some grit. I gave them a small amount of playground sand.

    They are being fed unmedicated starter feed and also have water with electrolytes/vitamins.

    About 12 hours after this, Miss Blueberry got an impacted crop and was lethargic. Her crop was 1/3 full and very hard. She was not eating but would drink occasionally. I had no experience with an impacted crop, but I do have experience with lethargic chicks, and that experience told me she was on death's door. I syringe fed her some sugar water, and then some baby bird formula. Then her crop blew up like a balloon. I did some internet searching to figure out that it was an impacted crop / sour crop. I massaged the balloon crop and it went down and she regurgitated a little liquid. She did one almost normal looking poo. She still would not eat.

    Everything I could find on line said not to feed her, but to give her diluted apple cider vinegar. I did that. But I was very worried about a small chick not eating and being lethargic and thought she might die from lack of sugar/energy. I read that bread+olive oil could be okay to feed, but she wouldn't eat it. Out of desperation I tried some whole wheat pasta + olive oil that we had laying around and she did eat this. It was the only thing she would eat. I was very worried that pasta has binding properties which could further complicate the impacted crop, but we kept massaging and hoping it was the right thing to do. I was a stress case and we stayed up all night nursing her.

    In the morning Miss Blueberry was in the same situation, not eating except for pasta, drinking some, lethargic, and her poo, which had been mostly normal during the night, was now clear liquid with tiny bits of solid green matter. By this time baby blueberry saw me as momma hen, which makes me very attached to them (okay I'm one of those softie vegetarian types with no kids, I confess!!), and I decided to take her to the avian vet. The vet injected her with some medication that clears out the crop. She also got an injection of fluids, and then we went home. Vet said no more pasta.

    Her crop emptied out, and she started eating the starter crumbles, and her energy is back! We are so happy that she is doing better. Although we had to pay to take her to the vet, another benefit besids her (hopefully continuing) recovery is that we got some fluids/syringes and tube feeding materials for baby chicks. I am a former vet tech and have sometimes been frustrated that I didn't have these supplies for overnight chicken emergencies, since I know how to use them.

    So now I am just wondering what caused the impacted crop and if I could have done anything better. Was it the fly? The sand? Note the dr. said the stuff in the crop was likely the crumbles and not sand (that's what I first thought it was, because that's what it felt like). Temperature in the brooder seems about right. Could some of these crumble bits be too big for tiny babies? Or could this just be one of the things that can happen to babies no matter what we do. If anyone has thoughts on anything I could have done better, I would appreciate the advice.

    I am so grateful for the BYC community because much of the advice and info on impacted / sour crop came from this site. I am convinced that the massages we gave her saved her life. She is now the friendliest of all of the girls, and my personal favorite. Hopefully the beginning of a beautiful relationship!

    Thanks everyone!

    Colleen
     
  2. mrsgibber

    mrsgibber Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 3, 2008
    Bolton, CT
    Congratulations on Blueberry's recovery! You are a wonderful chicken mama!![​IMG]
     
  3. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    i don't have much infor to help you, my experience with crop stasis has always been with a bad ending. I have question though, what did the vet inject her with and where was the injection placed? I am very interested to know this. thanks for sharing your experience!
     
  4. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    I can check on what the name of the injectable medicine was tonight. It was an intramuscular injection in the muscles to the left or right of the sternum.
     
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Pssst! Little Miss Halle Blueberry was too young for a separate container of grit...[​IMG]

    And when you do offer grit be sure it is the chick type, not hen grit...[​IMG]

    But some chicks are um, more obsessed with food than others and they can't seem to help themselves...

    Glad she's better!

    Just going through a crop impaction with a hen, worked on her for over a week, and she seems to be getting better, but it is a lot of work and one must be on-site to see progress...yes, she is named!
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009
  6. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    Thank you LynneP for the warning about grit, I will never do that again.

    The medication the vet used was metoclopramide, as I mentioned it was an intramuscular injection, in the muscle to the side of the sternum. It worked like a charm, it somehow moved the stuff out of her crop in a matter of hours.

    The little blueberry continues to do well, phew!!
     
  7. tryingtohaveitall

    tryingtohaveitall Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Ohio
    Way to go being a great chicken mama! I love her name. That's great that she's recovered and hopefully will go on to lay many eggs for you.
     
  8. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    And thanks for the info on the drug, didn't know about that one. I have to find a chicken vet! [​IMG]
     
  9. PQ

    PQ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 5, 2009
    Platina, Ca.
    I wish I had the no how as I just lost a bird to this. Its crop was not hard per say but was stuffed. I tryed many things but still ended up culling because it looked so awful and could hardly stand anymore. When we cut it open we found it had crumbles in the crop I wish I new you could massage it maybe I could have saved it. I really did get worried about trying to save after I read it could happen again.... is this true? Did I give up to soon?
     
  10. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    I wonder how that medicine worked?
     

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