Calling all vets............

catherinet(5 IN)September 20, 2008

Hey CD3.....I may have asked this of you before, so please forgive my bad memory.

I had a chicken awhile back that got such a pendulous crop, that there was really nothing left to do, short of a reduction, which I chose not to have done. She eventually died.

I have another one now who's headed in the same direction......although I think I've caught it sooner.

I've tried to put soda bicarb and water down her throat, and then massage her crop, and lean her over, but nothing comes out. (with the other chicken, tons of stuff would come out). Its not impacted, because its so soft and squishy. but there's no sour smell to it either.

I think I tend to give my birds too much scratch. :(

I gave them several apples the night before I noticed her in the corner of the coop, puffed up.

I know it might be bacterial, or fungal. Since I have Baytril, I started that. I'm also giving her yogurt, and just a little bread drenched with olive oil....but she doesn't have much of an appetite.

I've heard of a few people surgically opening up the crop themselves, and cleaning it out. I suppose I could try that, with my husband's help. I just don't want to wait very long, since it seems once those crops get stretched out, the neuro connection gets broken, and they start eating anything and everything in site.......even though it just stays in their crop.

Any suggestions?

Please don't be mad if I've chosen not to take her to an Avian specialist. When I first got my chickens, I began spending hundreds of dollars to take them there, and I just can't do that anymore. I try as best I can to do what I can, and keep them comfortable.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

(Anyone else who knows chickens, please feel free to offer any advice).

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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

I'm not sure what the problem is with your chicken. My chicken medicine is very limited!

I dunno about opening her crop without anesthesia ... even a local. That seems very painful to do.If you want to lavage (wash out) her crop, you can get a syringe ...6 cc or so ...and attach a length of IV tubing that's been measured to reach the crop.

Pass that tube directly into the crop (DON'T get it into the trachea) and instill some warm water into the crop. Massage it a little and then aspirate the contents. Repeat as needed with new warm water.Â

Don't put so much fluid into her crop that it can get into her trachea! Then she's in SERIOUS trouble.

If she's not really eating and she's puffed out ... it sounds serious to me. She needs supplemental heat. She may have a systemic infection rather than a crop issue. Is she egg bound? Is she pooping? Does that stuff look normal or does she have diarrhea?

Sorry. I'm not much help here.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 8:19PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hi CD3,
Don't feel bad. Lots of vets don't have much experience with chickens. My hubby is out of town this weekend, and I was afraid to do the tube lavage by myself. I did get about 20ccs of fluid down her with a syringe. Bless her heart, she just sat there and let me do it!
She is still eating a little......yogurt and a little bread soaked in olive oil. She's pooping very little. Every time I see her, I tell her I want to see some poop! I doubt she's eggbound. Her abdomen is soft and all the girls have quit laying for a couple weeks.
Her crop unfortunately feels like Squeaky's did.......it had tons of thick mucous in it, and no matter how often I would clean her out, more mucous would form.
I realize that there's so much to go wrong downstream from her crop. Someone said that apple seeds were poisonous but I don't think that's true.
I'll try the tube lavage when hubby gets back, but he'll have so little time for a few days. I'm thinking it all might be too thick to even bring up.
If she has an infection, hopefully the baytril will help.
I swear, the minute I have a thought in my head about something........the opposite happens. Just the day before this hen got sick I said to myself "these easter-eggers (auracana mutts) never seem to get sick". I guess I jinxed things.
I've heard that the chickens don't mind being cut open for cleaning out the crop. I guess their skin has very few nerve endings. I don't really feel comfortable doing that yet, since there's still more non-surgical things to try, I think.
tomorrow I'll make a vitamin and electrolyte solution for her to drink. I like impacted crops much more than these "sour" crops. With the impacted crops, you just give them oil and massage the heck out of the crop, and it eventually breaks up and passes. But this other type of crop problem seems to be more serious.
Thanks CD3.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 9:36PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Lemme see if I can find some info for your chicky. While I'm doing ~homework~ can you aspirate the mucus out anf then instill the baytril into her crop with some warm water and gently massage it and leave that in?

I'll be back soon. Hope she's getting better soon! :-)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 8:25AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Hi again.

Could you take a swab of her crop and have a vet (any vet) check it under the microscope? We're looking for the organism Candida albicans. This *might* be what your chicky has as it will present as a general malaise (sometimes the only sign), weight loss, thickened "spongy" dilatation or pendulous crop with delayed emptying. The crop will appear to have a thick rough plaque membrane covering.

There's a few medications that can be used if that is it and it's also suggested they get supplementation of Vit. A and B complex.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 8:52AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Apple seeds contain cyanide. Bad stuff!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 9:46AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I thought it was just almonds that contain cyanide. Dang. I always give them whole apples.
This morning her crop doesn't seem as large, but its still full. I'm feeling alot of gritty stuff in there. I fear I may have put too much grit in her crate yesterday. When their crops stretch out, they sometimes eat inappropriate things or too much of something. Oh well.
I massage her crop aggressively about 3-4 times a day. This morning I gave her several cc's of olive oil and a couple cc's of water with vitamins and minerals. Then I gave her a baytril tab, and gave her some yogurt, which she lapped up.
I've heard conflicting views.......is it okay to give antibiotics at the same time as yogurt? Years ago, someone on the Lyme board said that its the yogurt that destroys the benefits of the antibiotic, but I find that hard to believe. It seems like the antibiotic would kill the good stuff in the yogurt.
I realize that if she has a fungal infection, the antibiotic is the wrong thing to give.....but right now since I have the baytril, I'm going with that.
She had a little more spunk today, so hopefully we're on the right track.
Thanks for your help CD3.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 10:26AM
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sheepco(MN z4)

How's she doin' Cath? Sorry no help here, I'm not a vet and have no chicken experience. Wish I did!

Any other chicken raisers out there?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 10:51PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks Sarah,

She's doing okay. But I've had a chicken in this condition before, and she ended up dying after a long time trying to get her better. Sometimes chickens get impacted crops, and you just have to massage the mass of grass, straw, etc., and give oil until it passes. But with this kind of crop problem....it could be a number of problems downstream.......like tumors, liver problems, etc.
I'll keep trying for another week, and if she isn't well, I'll try to put her back with the others, so she can spend the rest of her days with her sisters.
Thanks for asking, Sarah.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 8:49AM
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goodkarma_(5b)

Catherine do you have an update on your chicken? Hope she is better.

Lisa

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 10:58PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for asking! Actually, she's doing great! She was on an antibiotic for a week and I tried all sorts of ways of getting her crop moving, and it finally worked. YAY! She's happily with the others now and back to normal. But I do have to remind her fairly often to chew her food more before she swallows. :)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 8:58AM
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goodkarma_(5b)

Great News!

Lisa

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 10:15PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks Lisa.
But..........now I have another sick one! I'm learning as I go with these chickens! Hawk is another hen I have and now she has a huge, firm crop..........so she's in the infirmary now. Chickens molt every Fall, and I guess their protein need really goes up, and its good to feed them extra protein. I forgot about that. Hawk had a really intense molt, and supposedly they can turn to eating feathers to get that protein......so I'm wondering if she has a bunch of feathers stuck in there!
So I guess I can't put my nurses cap away just yet!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 11:16AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Unfortunatly feathers are a *super* poor source of protein! Can you get some forceps, maybe, and pull out any feathers from her crop?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 1:30PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hmmmm....I hadn't thought of that. I do have some extra long hemostats, but I would be afraid of puncturing her. She is such a feisty/nervous chicken. It would definitely be a 2-person job.
I can't really feel any quills. I can't even feel scratch. It just feels like a big solid slightly firm mass. It started to go down yesterday, but seems back up today. I'll keep up with my usual impacted crop treatment, and if it doesn't seem to improve in a couple more days, I'll probably give her an antibiotic, in case the stasis has caused infection.
I would be game (along with my husband), to open her crop and clean it out and then stitch her up, but I have no idea how we would keep her calm on her back.
Would feathers eventually dissolve???
Well, I'm on my way out to give her her spa massage right now. Hopefully she's a little smaller than earlier. She's getting tired of eating her olive oil-soaked bread. It was a great, gentler way of getting the oil down her.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 5:41PM
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