Poor Beatrix

It is bad enough that poor Beatrix has been molting and looking quite ridiculous for the last few weeks.

IMG_4747She doesn’t exactly look her best during a molt.

But even as her feathers came back she looked pretty scraggly.  I was concerned.  Hens are aways lighter without their feathers, but Beatrix weighed nothing.  She was too skinny!  I checked her out and noticed her crop was very full..even in the morning.  Not good.

After calling a friend and checking online, I decided two things.  First, her crop was probably impacted and there was a bit of a sour smell.  For some reason, her crop wasn’t emptying and bacteria was growing causing the smell.  This can be fatal in hens so I knew I had to do something.  The second thing I decided was that online “remedies” were too varied and some were things I was not comfortable with.  That led me to my third decision, which was to call a vet.  The first vet I called had no appointments, but they recommended another Vet.  I was able to get an appointment with him for that afternoon.

So off we went.  He agreed that her crop  was sour and too full.  He said it can be caused by eating a piece of metal or some other shiny non edible object, but he couldn’t feel anything.  It can also be caused by eating too much long grass or not having enough grit…In any case he recommended separating her from the others, and massaging the crop and giving her lots of fluids.

IMG_4800He also prescribed Nystatin (which had been mentioned online as well) and metoclopramide (not sure of that spelling) for nausea.  He said to call him in a few days to discuss how it was going.  Poor Beatrix!

IMG_4799Here she is in her new quarters…not looking very happy at all.  She was even less happy when I had to give her the medicine.  

But she is a trooper and didn’t complain too much, though she was bored and lonely.

IMG_4807A mirror was added to her crate and she was fascinated with her new “friend.”

After a few days the sour smell went away, but her crop was still not emptying normally.  She was allowed a bit of yogurt and pellets soaked in water.  Not too exciting, but she did eat some.  And she is pooping which is good.  I am still giving her fluids and massaging her crop and it does seem to be improving.

But the weather has been SO nice (70F in November in New England!) that I couldn’t bear to let her miss it. She went up to the big run today for awhile.

IMG_4812

Perfect day for a dust bath!

Her sisters, from now on known as “the Mean Girls,” were not that pleased to see her.  They are best friends and have no use for poor little Beatrix.

IMG_4818They pointedly ignored her and finished their yogurt…

But Beatrix is used to them.  She enjoyed her dust bath and did some pecking and scratching.

IMG_4817It was GREAT to be outside again!

Her crop is getting smaller so I think she is on the mend.  She is still sleeping inside because she needs medicine 2x a day.  But I am hopeful that she will be joining her sisters again soon.  I will have to watch her closely for awhile to make sure she is ok.  We are still not sure why her crop became impacted so that is worrisome, but Beatrix is looking better and wanting to get back to her life!

Hopefully that will be very soon!

About patti

I am a retired kindergarten teacher, tending a new kind of garden now, raising chickens and exploring permaculture. I live with my husband, Bill, my beloved dog, Fergus and my cat, Mighty Merlin. We have a small cottage and a tiny bit of land called Brookwood Shire. It is our sanctuary.
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8 Responses to Poor Beatrix

  1. We had a chicken that got impacted crop – or something near it – more than once. We massaged it (which, surprisingly, she didn’t mind) and left her to it. She always got better on her own in a few days. There is clearly a design flaw in the crop mechanism somewhere. Unfortunately there’s not a lot we or our girls can do about it but soldier on – and dust bath in the sun. The world is a brighter place after a good dust bath!

    • patti says:

      I agree that a dust bath is very good therapy. As is being outside and scratching and pecking….being a chicken. I suspect that behaviour alone would stimulate the digestive system…at least it seemed to help Beatrix. Sadly chickens have been bred for egg production and meaty breasts. Possible flaws in the crop design are not a concern. So we chicken lovers will just have to do the best we can.

  2. wspines says:

    So glad that she is doing better

    • patti says:

      Me too. I hope she is back up in the coop by the week end. I will have to check her often and monitor the ” Mean Girls” so they aren’t too mean to her. I am still the boss and even Prudence knows it. 😊

  3. Joanne says:

    I’m glad to hear she is getting better.

  4. Michele says:

    Poor poor Beatrix! Lucky she has a wonderful mom like you who caught onto what was happening! Under your care she will thrive soon enough. What did Merlin think of having Beatrix in the house? Glad she is on the mend.

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