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.