Mama Red's Impacted Crop
By Tania McGuire
Peers, Alberta, Canada Edited by Alan Stanford, Ph.D.
I’m thinking before I get into this article I will state: In the event
you are closing your flock (no more new birds introduced to your flock
unless desperately needed) you would be wise to learn how to save
those birds that may have meaning to your breeding plans.
I have found there are so many problems your birds can get, and there
are also a lot of problems that can be fixed. Why lose those precious
birds? But then again there is a time to say, “Enough suffering, I’ll
let you go!” This is the lesson I have most surely learned, and has
contributed most greatly to the growth of my soul.
The following isn’t exactly a story, but a report that was done for
future referencing of care taking. This may also help someone else,
and please call me if you ever need additional info that may not be
covered in this article, as I will always try to help.
A large watery crop made Mama Red get treated for everything possible
in the last six months, yet the crop remained full of fluid and souring.
The size of the crop seemed to reduce the time that she brooded and
raised her offspring. It would seem to always return to an extremely
large watery condition after the young matured. Though the hen seemed
to always stay content despite her overly large crop.
I would make her empty the remains in her crop by forcing her to vomit;
otherwise she may have drowned herself with the continual souring
and engorgement of her crop.
On one occasion I tried mineral oil soaked up in bread, it did nothing
to relieve her. Later I tried an Epsom salt flush. The excess fluid
disappeared but there was still a small mass that remained, though
it seemed too small to cause any problems, and she was once again
returned to her family.
I then read about crop worms, so at this point she was given a shot
of Ivomec (Ivermectin). No results after a week or two. Later, after
hearing thrush could be the problem, I was able to obtain some copper
sulfate. She was given the copper sulfate in water along with 1 teaspoon
of yogurt daily to replace the microflora. Still no improvement. The
crop kept gorging and she was assisted with the evacuation of excess
fluid as needed.
After all this the only thing left to try was surgery. She was still
in good weight and had a good appetite, so now would be the time to
try the surgery, before she lost condition.
DVM David Holroyd of the Edson Veterinary Clinic in Edson, Alberta
performed surgery on The 28th of December 2001.
A small area on her crop was shaved. A local was given in the crop.
Mama Red was restrained by myself in an upright position. Her feet
were restrained together in one of my hands while the other was holding
her in this upright “penguin” position. (If there’s a next surgery,
the wings need to be bound somehow).
The incision was made and a mass of extremely sour contents flowed
out. Through all this Mama Red did not seem stressed at all. A mass
of straw was removed, though this did not seem like enough to have
caused any great problem. She was stitched up and an iodine solution
was washed over the surgery site. Her weight was taken and she was
given a shot of Spectam antibiotic. Procedure done. . . And now for
the hopeful recovery I had been waiting for.
Mama Red was alert and hungry after the procedure.
DAY 1: Her diet was runny baby food (pabulum) with nutripet (a tiny
dab added to the pabulum) Her water had Mineralytes Plus (an electrolyte
solution) and 1 teaspoon of yogurt two times daily.
DAY 2: Fed approx. 2 tablespoon of thick soupy pabulum every three
hours. Bird consuming an excess amount of water. Color in comb and
wattles comes and goes. She begins to sing, Crop is still watery and
quite large (swollen from surgery??).
Bird continues same diet until day 7. The food was thickened with
oatmeal gradually. Bird is extremely hungry and her stool is watery.
On this day I introduced a tiny bit of layer crumbles. Also second
injection of Spectam antibiotic. When the hen would rest she would
gasp a bit, unsure why, yet it almost ceased after her diet changed
to more chicken food. (layer crumbles)
DAY 10: The yogurt was discontinued. Bird was extremely hungry until
I made gradual change from soft food to crumbles. Stool also firmed
up. The crop at this time in the AM though empty is still puffy and
watery and not feeling very large – about the size of a large plum.
My thoughts on this are were that the crop had been distended for
such a long period of time that muscle tone had been lost, and needs
to be shrunk by many small meals and not let her overload on food
until the crop returns to normal.
DAY 12: The hen could now be trusted not to over gorge herself with
a full bowl of crumble in front of her (crumbles aren’t as tasty,
DAY 14: In the AM her crop is still staying small with just slight
scars of the surgery to be felt. Her stool are solid and normal, her
color is back in her comb and wattles. She is still gasping every
so often, still unsure why?? Usually when resting – usually doesn’t
seem to be a concern. At this point, Jan. 11. 2002, I would say her
surgery was 100% success.
DAY 25: Mama Red has started to lay eggs again – there is no more
** Also note: This bird is in the warmth of my house in a hospital
cage in which she has no way of eating bedding or coming into contact
with her fecal matter.
THANK YOU to Doc and my friend Laura Jackson!!