Absent For Hen Nursing Duties


Oh and a little bit of gardening.

Brenda has been very poorly lately, but now that she appears much better I am a little happier to blog about her, call it being frightened of tempting fate and all that. Yes I am highly superstitious at times. I noticed that Brenda was poorly looking one day last week, she had that classic ‘I’m not a very well hen look’  about her that I’m sure all chicken keepers dread seeing. You can spot it a mile off, if, like me, you study your hens meticulously. I’m still not entirely sure what the root of the problem was even though she was seen by a vet. Sometimes with chickens its a guessing game unless you go down the route of having X-rays and blood tests done, but because Brenda has a weak heart (a suspicion that I have had for some time now and confirmed by the vet) X-rays were not favoured at this point. With ex batts it comes with the territory to have the odd blippy poorly looking day, especially when they are fresh out of the battery farm. Usually this indicates that a soft shell egg is on route, they really can look quite miserable but once the egg is passed the hen normally brightens up.

Anyway, back to Brenda. She had been laying OK, so I knew something else was up. I kept a close eye on her and quickly realised that she was not eating or drinking and that her crop was very large and squashy to the touch. Sour crop crept into my mind and was quickly diagnosed by a vet , I was surprised that there was no bad smell about her which usually accompanies sour crop.  The vet did try and flush her crop of its contents but had no luck, so, for the next few days, she was taking nothing but water loaded with Critical Care Formula and Avipro through a syringe from me. I knew this would keep her going for a few days but she was getting weak and at one point collapsed. Because of her heart problem, her comb was very blue and I was very worried that we would lose her at any point. She started to ‘drown’  from excess build up of fluid so I immediately emptied her crop for her twice, getting some really nasty brown fluid from her. Once this was all out she really came round and was bouncing around after the other girls as if nothing had happened. So far so good and she is eating and drinking normally, her crop is emptying itself too.

Out of interest, if anyone else has experience of dealing with sour crop I would be interested to hear how you treated it and which medication you were advised to give. Hopefully Brenda will not be troubled by this again but I think it is important that I have as much information as possible to treat this condition as I can. I’m worried I wont be as lucky next time.

14 thoughts on “Absent For Hen Nursing Duties

  1. held her upside down and milked the stuff out ( yuck)

    then gave her small bits of soft brown bread soaked in live yoghurt.

    seemed to make her better for a few days, but sadly it was Genghis, who then got ill again and died.



  2. I certainly think that emptying her crop was the best course of action, particularly as she perked up so much after all the liquid was out. The avipro in her water must have done some magic too.
    Thanks for the comments and information, glad to say that Brenda is still doing OK so far. Fingers crossed.


  3. Definitely empty the crop – sour crop can be fungal, so we were advised to treat with a double whammy of baytril AND nystatin. VERY important to get the Nystatin into her, as it’s anti-fungal. Takes a couple of days, and some very smelly poos, but it did the trick with Cynthia. I think Cynthia’s repeated bouts of sour crop were actually a symptom of some underlying problem she had, but hopefully Brenda’s is just one of those things.

    We also gave live yoghurt mixed in with a little layer’s mash and that seemed to go down a treat, as well as the CCF and Avipro.

    Apparently new grass shoots are quite tough and can be hard to break down and pass through their crops, so maybe keep an eye on where she’s pecking?

    Good luck with her xxx


  4. Thanks Lucy for the info, unfortunately on that occasion we were not advised to empty her crop or prescribed nystatin. I have since researched this condition and agree that nystatin seems to be the most preferred med to use. Luckily, I remembered that someone we both know and trust emptied her hens crop and I recalled how she did it.

    Brenda is doing OK at the moment, growing spikes all over :)

    Hi Karin, I have been ill and over the bank holiday too! Thank you for your get well wishes, im feeling much better than I was :) Hope your well x


  5. Thank you CW, feel much better now and so is Brenda :)
    Currently trying to raise awareness for 10,000 battery hens due to be slaughtered on 29th June. Little Hen Rescue are going to do their very best to get these hens out, homes needed though!


  6. Oh..


    Are they ner me? could I take a few?

    I will go and investigate…via Google

    feel a bit lost without a few ex batts around..they add a certain “je ne sais quais”to Compost Mansions…..if you know what I mean?

    None of the other hens come and sit on my lap..or purr…. :-(


  7. I know exactly what you mean ;) Ex batts are just so friendly and love company of humans, amazing really. They really are just too forgiving.

    Please do get in touch with LHR via their website form, that would be fantastic if you could take some. I shall be helping out by rehoming from here in Bedfordshire, I dont think a co-ordination point has been set up near where you are, but hopefully something could be arranged.


  8. I’m glad you’re feeling better, although maybe not 100% yet, in which case I hope you’ll be back to full health soon. I’m fine, thanks, although I never seem to have as much energy as I need, but I’m working on that.


  9. Just stumbled on your site while researching the use of Nystatin to treat my rescue chicken (got her 7/3/10) Carmela’s vent gleet. So gladI found you!


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