My dad told me to put this on here; it's a little slapdash and hurried together, and it might repeat some of the things already mentioned on this page, but hopefully some of you will find it helpful. Posted in three segments as it is on the forum :)
So, Lyle thought it would be a good idea to have a Sticky containing a lot of the common problems experienced by chicken keepers, the ones we get asked a lot about on the forum. Good idea; it’ll help keep the forum tidier and is easier for newbies and older members to just read through one thread if a problem pops up.
Of course if, after reading the thread, you still have questions to ask or need something clarifying, feel free to start a new thread then…I just thought this might be easier :smile:
And finally, as ever, this is not the same as taking your chicken to the vets. As far as I am aware nobody on the forum, least of all me, is a qualified vet, and so if your chicken is seriously ill, please take them to the vet for their sake :smile:
Happens when, for whatever reason, an egg becomes stuck in the passage and cannot be laid by the chicken. Can often be treated from home, but in severe cases a trip to the vets is in order as chickens can and do die from this condition.
You can see the hen straining, pushing and looking uncomfortable
Hen goes to nest box frequently but doesn’t lay
Not moving much, may be laying down
Feathers ruffled, depressed, tail pointing towards ground
When you feel her belly towards her vent you can feel a hard lump
Things you can try
Firstly it’s important to keep the bird warm and calm, as it will make it easier for the egg to pass. For this reason a lot of people bring their egg bound hens inside (either in a dog crate or cardboard box) and keep them in a quiet darkened room – the darkness slows the egg laying process down so that hopefully a second egg won’t get stuck behind the first
Next, a warm bath can also be very helpful. Not too hot, and deep enough to cover the vent. It lubricates the vents and helps the hen relax her muscles. Hold the bird firmly so they can’t panic and splash or slip. Keep her in for 10+ minutes, and try repeat a few times throughout the day.
You can also try lubricating her vent using your finger and some vegetable oil – nice I know! This may help the egg slip out.
As I said before, if the egg is not passed within 24 hours maximum, get her to the vets ASAP. Likewise if the egg has passed but she is still acting unwell (there may be a second egg stuck) , if there is any blood or the egg was cracked, then she needs taking to the vets just to be sure she's okay.
As it sounds, an impacted crop is one that is blocked and therefore the chicken is unable to empty or digest the food in the crop. Much more common in free-range chickens that have access to long tough grass, which becomes knotted in the crop.
A hard, squishy or ‘doughy’ crop first thing in the morning (a healthy chicken’s crop should always be empty as they haven’t eaten all night)
Odd smelling breath, usually sour
Depressed behaviour, not eating, drinking or moving much
Things to try
One of the most helpful things you can do in this situation is massage the crop as often as possible; a minimum of twice a day (once in the morning and once at night) is a good starter. Chickens usually find this a pleasant experience, and it can help to unknot or budge whatever is stuck in there.
Add Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to their water – one tablespoon per gallon, about. Not only is this great for chickens in general, but it can also help dissolve any blockages in the crop.
Also withhold all treats given, and add water and vegetable oil to the Layers Pellets to turn them into mash. In severe cases it may be worth restricting food for 24 hours and just offering plain yoghurt and water.
If there’s no improvement within a day or so, or if the chicken stops eating or drinking, a trip to the vets is in order. In extreme cases surgery can be performed that will rid the chicken of its impacted crop, although this should be a last resort.
Coincides with the above condition, food in the crop begins to rot and turn sour. Symptoms and treatments are as above, but your vet may also flush your bird (using water and turning it upside down) and may be able to show you how to do it too. Only do it yourself after a vet has shown you, as it’s easy to accidentally flood the bird’s lungs which can result in death.