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Ill chicken for 3 days worried she is deteriorating

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Hi, I would be very grateful for any advice about Spotty a speckled Sussex bantam. First noticed she was ill on wednesday morning 3 days ago when she stayed hunched in the run. Her tail is down, feathers very ruffled up, looks very miserable, sits with her eyes closed most of the time. I picked her up and her crop at 10am was the size of 2 large chicken eggs it felt like it was full of corn but it was soft not hard, literally like a small bag of corn. I checked the other 2 and I couldn't feel their crops. She didn't eat,barely moved. I saw her do one poo which was green and white but sloppier than normal, we have found a couple of brown runny poos but not sure if she did them.

Anyway we checked out this site and thought she may have an impacted crop so we gave her olive oil in the morning and evening and massaged her crop, by the next morning it felt just like a couple of teaspoons of corn in her crop but this has remained ever since. We haven'tseen her eat anything. She occasionally picks a bit of grit up or something but then seems to decide not to swallow it. She didn't appear to be drinking either but yesterday she seemed to be drinking all the time. Basically there is no change and she sits hunched with her eyes closed.

We have had her for about 6 weeks from point of lay. We are unsure if she has ever laid an egg as we have never seen her but one of the other hens has laid them for about 3 weeks and we assume they are all hers (we have never had 2 in one day!). She isn't crouching although tonight for the first time she lay in the nest instead of roosting. Really worried she is dying and feel helpless not knowing what to do.

Sorry this is so long. Wanted to give as much information as possible. Does it sound like impacted crop or may that be a red herring? Many thanks for any help. Sandra

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Hello Sandra and sorry to hear your bantie isn't well.


Impacted crop would feel like a hard mass, where as sour crop would be soft, full of fermented yuck (technical term :wink: ).


Is she drinking? I would try and get as much fluid into her as possible. Water/cucumber/anything soft and liquid. You could try probiotic yoghurt and this will help with the sour crop (if it is that).


A trip to the vets asap if I were you. As she has been off colour for a few days, I think it best to get professional advice.


Hope she is better soon.

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Many thanks for your advice. We went to the vet this morning, he couldn't find anything specific with her. He thought her crop looked ok. He gave her an injection of something for worms as he thought she was too ill to absorb it orally and told us to orally dose the other two. He didn't feel that she had a bacterial infection. So basically I presume he thinks worms may be the problem.

She is drinking loads now, which is good but I can't get her to eat anything which is worrying. How long can they go without food? Does anyone know of any soft tempting treats she might go for? By the way they only charged us £13 which I thought was pretty good, I was expecting £60 or something!! Anyway she also has lice perhaps made worse as she has been unable to look after herself and bath etc. so they suggested buying childrens' headlice spray. Fingers crossed and thanks once more for you help. I shall let you know how she gets on. Sandra ps interestingly we haven't had an egg since wednesday so maybe she has been laying after all. We found a yellow thing today which I guess could have been one with no shell.

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we used "Johnsons Mite spray" for lice in a blue tin with a budgie on the front which we bought from pets at home £3. its very good stuff it killed lice instantly and my chook was lice free in 24 hours.


Never heard of using kiddies lice spray on a chook before :?

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Many thanks for your helpful advice. We couldn't get her to eat anything today so gave her a little by syringe today. Sadly she seems to be going downhill, comb is pale today. Frustrating not knowing what is wrong with her but I guess that's what it is like with chickens/animals. We feel we have tried our best. Will let you know what happens either way. Sandra

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Hi again,

Spotty is a bit better, but still not back to normal.

Hasn't eaten a single thing since becoming unwell - 9 days.

On Sunday as a last resort we started to feed her liquidised food ( layers pellets) with human feeding tube ( NG tube) - 15mls 2/3 times a day.

Push lubricated tube into mouth until it's at about crop level. Avoiding lungs. Using 20 ml syringe to put feed in.

Doing liquid rancid smelling poos.

Seems to be getting stronger.

This morning was first time she came out just after door opened in morning.

Hoping she'll start to eat something herself.

Seems to be taking a long time to get better but still seems to be improving every day.

Fingers crossed. Sandra

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Just to finish off the topic.

On Thursday we tube fed Spotty before work.

Getting up 20 mins early as usual.

In the evening she wolfed down wet wholemeal bread.

This was the first time she had eaten anything for 15 days.

We have stopped force feeding her.

She looks well, eating herself.

We presume it was a near fatal worm infection.

Thanks for the support and advice.

It's been an emotional roller coaster but all seems to be well.

Cheers everyone, Sandra.

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