The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

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Linda S
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

Post by Linda S »

Your girls are very beautiful the markings on their feathers are are striking, Hamble looks the picture of health with her lovely red comb and wattles :-D
What breed are they ?

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stripeddonkey
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

Post by stripeddonkey »

Thanks Linda. They are Barnevelders - a Dutch breed.
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

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Hi All,

Back after a traumatic few months including three bereavements - and not the chicken kind. Hope you all had a good Xmas and Valentines and Easter :)

I have a problem with one of my girls - Bella - I wanted to ask you about...

About four weeks ago, I started to notice Bella drinking more and her poos during the day were soft - sometimes watery. I reduced vegetable and fruit treats in case this was the cause but it continued. I then noticed her crop was really quite large during the day - and worse, wasn't completely empty in the morning. I put her on a week of Flubenvet to worm her (and the other girls of course). Still no help. Crop large, squishy by day (I think because of all the water she drinks) and firmer by evening. Loose and downright watery poos during the day but usually pretty normal by night. I talked to my vet a couple of times. He says it sounds like her crop is slow - could be a partial impaction and suggested giving her layers pellets - or mash - plus let her free range so the moving around can help plus she should pick up fibre. Through everything Bella is still laying 5 eggs a week. She is eating anything I give her and drinking loads. Last week I gave her layers mash with probiotic yoghurt for breakfast for three days. I then started her on Avipro probiotic four days ago which goes in their water. She drinks that fine. When she is out foraging she gets lots of bugs and worms and some very short grass. She is a daemon forager and her enthusiasm for this hasn't eased even with a huge crop. She has been getting out for 1-2 hours each day during the week and for 4-5 hours each day at the weekend. I never feed her large quantities of anything but it doesn't take much for her crop to balloon as it never properly empties. I got a bit of a fright three days ago. She came out in the morning ravenous as ever and had a little mash then a big drink. She then drooled out some of the contents of her crop. I picked her up and tipped her over briefly and a pile of crop contents came shooting out. They were brown - watery mash really. There isn't a disgusting smell so I don't think her crop is sour. I don't particularly want to do the tipping up, crop emptying thing as I think it is too dangerous. I have mixed some epsom salts into her mash the past two mornings to see if that gets her digestive tract going. I really am at my wits end. She seems happy enough except when her crop gets too big - she looks really uncomfortable then. My vet says that as long as she is pooing she isn't completely impacted so he wouldn't want to intervene and operate. I understand that but I don't want to leave things till they are critical before doing something either.

Does anyone have any suggestions re feeding, care, what to do next? Does anyone have/know of a vet that specialises in chickens that might be open to my questions. I think my vet is pretty well versed in chickens but not a specialist.

Bella is only 10 months old but she is a big girl with a big personality. I want to do everything I can to help.
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KarenE
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

Post by KarenE »

Hi SD, so sorry to hear you've had some bereavements {hug} I can imagine how dificult the last while must have been for you

I replied to your post on the other forum, but I've read some posts about molases (or treacle) being quite good to get the digestive tract working again as well - maybe do a search on those terms and see what you come up with (I can't remember if it was molasses or treacle now)

It doesn't sound like sour crop, I think you're right there. A few of mine over the years I've been chicken keeping have also regurgitated occasionally so don't worry too much about this. It might be an idea to get some extra grit into her. I think I'd be tempted to stop her free ranging for a few days just so I can properly regulate her intake - she may be eating some plant stuff that you don't know about. And maybe a diet of mash is a good idea for a short period of time, just in case there's something impacting on the way down that might be slowing down digestion of bigger foodstuff.Definitely keep the massage up and get some cod liver oil into her

Finally, my point about pendulous crop - if you have a look back through Sandy's diary, she had a girl whose crop had lost elasticity (not saying Bella has, but she might be stuffing herself to the extent that it might be starting) and Sandy had to massage Amanda-Jayne a lot so it might be worth looking through Sandy's diary for any tips (or even better, seeing if Sandy's around at the minute)

Let us know how Bella gets on {hug}
Karen
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stripeddonkey
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

Post by stripeddonkey »

KarenE wrote:Hi SD, so sorry to hear you've had some bereavements {hug} I can imagine how dificult the last while must have been for you

I replied to your post on the other forum, but I've read some posts about molases (or treacle) being quite good to get the digestive tract working again as well - maybe do a search on those terms and see what you come up with (I can't remember if it was molasses or treacle now)

It doesn't sound like sour crop, I think you're right there. A few of mine over the years I've been chicken keeping have also regurgitated occasionally so don't worry too much about this. It might be an idea to get some extra grit into her. I think I'd be tempted to stop her free ranging for a few days just so I can properly regulate her intake - she may be eating some plant stuff that you don't know about. And maybe a diet of mash is a good idea for a short period of time, just in case there's something impacting on the way down that might be slowing down digestion of bigger foodstuff.Definitely keep the massage up and get some cod liver oil into her

Finally, my point about pendulous crop - if you have a look back through Sandy's diary, she had a girl whose crop had lost elasticity (not saying Bella has, but she might be stuffing herself to the extent that it might be starting) and Sandy had to massage Amanda-Jayne a lot so it might be worth looking through Sandy's diary for any tips (or even better, seeing if Sandy's around at the minute)

Let us know how Bella gets on {hug}


Thanks so much for your suggestions Karen. Much appreciated.
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

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Hi SD - So sorry to hear that you have had a traumatic time of things. With regard to Bella I think Karen has been spot on with her answer. It doesn't sound like sour crop - you would know with the terrible smell that comes with it. Sounds more to me like compacted. You say you have been giving Bella Epsom Salts. I swear by this and the way I do it is to mix some up with water. put into a syringe and syringe it a little bit at a time. I have found, albeit if it is nothing serious, it flushes the system out. I would do this twice a day, morning and afternoon, but for 3 days only. If there is no improvement after 3 days, the Epsom Salts is not going to work. Mix as tablespoon in a cup of water and put into syringe - it really is worth a try and at the end of the day it is not going to do any harm. Yoghurt is good also and I give my older girls cod liver oil a couple of times a week on a bit of bread. There are so many things we can try, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. This chicken keeping lark is a learning curve and you never stop learning about them. Good luck I hope Bella goes on OK - Let us know.
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

Post by Cheshire Chick »

SD - I have just had another thought ..... I learnt a lot when I started to keep chickens from a lady called Terry Golson in Boston. She had a chicken blog and although she doesn't do the blog any more, you can still access it. She has kept chickens for over 20 years and she does a great write up on the benefits of Epsom Salts and all other health issues. Try hencam.com - Hope this helps.
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

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Cheshire Chick wrote:Hi SD - So sorry to hear that you have had a traumatic time of things. With regard to Bella I think Karen has been spot on with her answer. It doesn't sound like sour crop - you would know with the terrible smell that comes with it. Sounds more to me like compacted. You say you have been giving Bella Epsom Salts. I swear by this and the way I do it is to mix some up with water. put into a syringe and syringe it a little bit at a time. I have found, albeit if it is nothing serious, it flushes the system out. I would do this twice a day, morning and afternoon, but for 3 days only. If there is no improvement after 3 days, the Epsom Salts is not going to work. Mix as tablespoon in a cup of water and put into syringe - it really is worth a try and at the end of the day it is not going to do any harm. Yoghurt is good also and I give my older girls cod liver oil a couple of times a week on a bit of bread. There are so many things we can try, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. This chicken keeping lark is a learning curve and you never stop learning about them. Good luck I hope Bella goes on OK - Let us know.


Thanks CC for your input. I dissolved a teaspoon of epsom salts into a cup of water. I used this to create a mash with layers mash and also put some in a bowl. Bella eats the mash and drinks from the bowl in the morning. She gets more of the mash in the afternoon and in the evening. I figure if I can avoid having to use a syringe that will be less stressful (for both of us)!

Poor girl seems constantly starving. Yesterday and today I have kept her in her run - other than a jaunt round to the deck and kitchen where she gets her mash served morning and evening. Her crop is still pretty large and only going down by a quarter overnight. During the day her crop is squishy/doughy and by night firmer. Still getting poo although not loads - but then she is not getting loads of food I suppose.

I'll try some oil later today.
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KarenE
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

Post by KarenE »

What are her poos like, when she does them?

It sounds as though something may be slightly obstructing the crop opening or perhaps lower down in the gizzard. Keep up the massage, epsom salts and oil. If you do try the maggots as Kitty suggested, you will have to get them into her alive which means you'll have to open her beak and drop them in (being careful not to drop them into her windpipe!) otherwise she'll kill them as she eats them

Did you take her to the vets today?
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stripeddonkey
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

Post by stripeddonkey »

KarenE wrote:What are her poos like, when she does them?

It sounds as though something may be slightly obstructing the crop opening or perhaps lower down in the gizzard. Keep up the massage, epsom salts and oil. If you do try the maggots as Kitty suggested, you will have to get them into her alive which means you'll have to open her beak and drop them in (being careful not to drop them into her windpipe!) otherwise she'll kill them as she eats them

Did you take her to the vets today?


Yes, I couldn't stand the uncertainty and lack of progress any longer so I took Bella to the vet this evening. Her temp is fine. She is underweight - not surprised since she isn't getting all the goodness out of the food she is eating. He put a tube into her crop and tried to draw out fluid. None to speak of so not sour crop. Vet thinks it is partially impacted. Because she is bright and still eating, drinking and laying he wants to try her on a drug to flush her out. It is called cisapride and more commonly used for constipation in cats and dogs. It is a liquid I can either syringe into her mouth or hide in food twice a day. He gave her the first dose. Bella was really well behaved and quite curious during her adventure to the vet. I do hope this does the trick. If not then vet will do small op to open the crop and remove contents and hopefully blockage that way. Might be my imagination but her crop seemed smaller when I checked on her a little while ago. I guess time will tell.
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hi , they drive you mad , trying work out what their bodies are getting up to . Laying eggs is a worry (softies etc ) Don't lay eggs is she ill . Eating to much / not eating at all . Poos , enough said . Every thing they do in garden , sleeping . If I was a chicken I would be totally crazy .
Bob
Sure she will be ok . Always best to check .
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

Post by Cheshire Chick »

Fingers crossed that Bella is on the mend. Glad you took her to the vets as they obviously have a much better idea than we do about the workings of a chicken. I am sure the meds she has been prescribed will sort out the problem - best wishes - I know how worrying these girls can be!!!
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

Post by sandy »

Sorry SD short reply still typing with one finger }hairout{
Poor Bella, I do remember Amanda-Jayne having cisapride to strengthen the muscles in her crop. I had her from March 31st 2012 to July 16th 2013 so please take a look at my diary I have plenty of photos of her poor crop bless her. Lets hope the meds will strenghten Bella's crop with AJ it was too late and the muscle had gone hence daily tipping. Sorry to be pain making you trawl, hoping Karen will give advice on my darn tablet thingy so i dont have to use a keyboard.
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

Post by stripeddonkey »

Latest update on Bella...

After a visit to my vet last week, Bella has been on Cisapride - used for constipation - to get her guts moving fast. She has been pooing for Britain. Crop still huge and never reducing much at all though. My vet referred me to an avian specialist, whom I took Bella to, this morning. She is going to anaesthetise Bella and flush out her crop. She will then put down a camera to try to find what is causing the problem. I'll hear how she gets on later today. Bella was completely unphased by her vets visits. Hope she gets through this procedure as well as possible and we can get to the bottom of the underlying problem. I'll keep you posted.
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Re: The Dinosaurs in my Back Garden

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I'm so so sad to say that my darling Bella died yesterday. Her heart gave out as she came round from the anaesthetic. She wasn't even a year old. They did a pm and found that there was a thickening between the crop and gizzard so food wasn't getting through very easily - thus the crop emptying problem. She also had very pale kidneys (likely congenital) and was excreting traces of blood. Her liver was fine as were her lungs and heart. Vet thinks she was much more ill than it appeared before the op. Whilst it is almost unbearable to have lost her in this way - it looked likely that we wouldn't have been able to fix the problems she had anyway. I have lost my mother-in-law, my father-in-law and my brother this year so far. Now little Bella. I am struggling to say the least.

We still have Matilda and Hamble I'm glad to say. They are making us smile even today. I think I will add two new girls to make a mini flock of four. Need to look around. Does anyone know of reputable breeders in Scotland? I still don't feel up to rescue girls. I am looking for pure breeds, maybe Orpingtons or Wyandotes.

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