If you saw our previous post about crop issues then you know one of our chickens, Scully, has been sick. WELL it’s been a journey, but she is finally recovered and back with her friends!
After the initial emptying of the crop and some minor improvement, Scully was still struggling to move food through her crop and into her gizzard. She was also not pooping very much, and when she was able to pass something it wasn’t a normal chicken poop it was more of a watery explosion (fantastic imagery, right? There are photos after the jump to gross you out even further) After trying for a few more days to fix the problem, Scully was losing more and more weight and we accepted that we couldn’t solve this problem on our own. Feeling her belly/gizzard revealed a hard lump that obviously caused her pain. We thought maybe she was egg bound, so we tried the warm water bath and checked her vent for anything that may be stuck. We removed a clump of grass, so at this point we figured she had a gizzard impaction and finally resigned to take her to the vet for a medical intervention.
Checking her vent and the grass we removed. She looks so stoked haha
Here’s her poops… not normal!
When the vet took a look at her he confirmed that yes, she had a blockage in her gizzard likely consisting of grass that wasn’t able to break down. He kept her for a day and performed a lavage by inserting a tube into her stomach and filling it with a saline solution to help flush things out. She was able to pass some solids and have a second lavage before we picked her up. After she emptied a bit more of her blockage we took her home and fed her. She still wasn’t very excited about the idea of eating, but after a few days she was back at pecking and scratching around for food (and trashing the greenhouse). Her crop was emptying far better and her energy was up. We followed the lavage up with a course of metoclopramide, 2.5mg twice a day administered by dissolving the 1/2 pill in water and squirting it carefully into her beak. The metocopramide helps the muscles of the digestive tract contract and move food through faster.
Here’s a poop after the lavage. She passed a lot of black tar-like stuff then some sludge before things got back to a more normal consistency.
She is now 95% recovered and back with the flock in the coop (I’m pretty excited that she isn’t pooping on my floor anymore haha). Checking her crop in the morning confirms that things are moving as the crop is nearly empty despite being full the night before. She is still pretty light, but should be putting weight on now. YAY!
A lot of people were surprised that we took a chicken to the vet rather than just killing her, I suppose, but because our birds are not for meat and neither of us could bear the idea of letting her suffer until she passed, it just seemed like the right thing to do. We want to treat all of our pets equally and if one of the bunnies was having this problem I wouldn’t hesitate to take them into the vet, so why not do the same thing for a chicken? She is probably grateful to us for giving her care, and when I go into the enclosure now she rushes up to greet me. Hopefully this is the end of the crop saga for little Scullers.
In the photo above she is scratching in the yard with Mulder. Back to normal! Here she is with Mulder, Britney and Squeak running on the lawn.