Tube feeding - having trouble pushing down syringe


Free Ranging
8 Years
Jul 13, 2015
Carnation, Wa
My 5+ year old khaki campbell hen stopped eating last week, and got dehydrated and lethargic. We took her to the vet and did blood work, fecal, started antibiotics, and gave her fluids. They taught me how to tube feed her and sent me home with the supplies. I've been tube feeding her successfully twice daily for 5 days now, and she is back to her normal self except she is not eating on her own yet.

My question is.... How can I make pushing the plunger on the syringe easier? I use a 60 cc syringe, lubricate the plunger with olive oil, and fill it with 40 ccs of omnivore "formula." I change out the syringe every couple days. Still I can barely push down the syringe, which makes it really hard.

I don't know how long I need to do this... Any help making it easier to push that syringe plunger is appreciated!!
Try making the food with more water or other liquid to thin the consistency. I have severely arthritic fingers with practically no strength left in them. I use raw egg or yogurt mixed into a strained baby food to make a syringe formula that is very liquid so it doesn't take as much strength to push the plunger. I forego the use of chicken feed when syringe feeding as it can't be thinned adequately for me to manage it.

If that fails, try asking at the pharmacy for a smaller syringe that will fit the catheter that has a much smaller profile and doesn't require your fingers to articulate as much as the larger feeding syringe in order to work the plunger.

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