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Good Morning, I'm hoping to get some advice or suggestions for one of our young bantam hens please. Apologies in advance for my long post 😳🤦🏻‍♀️

Almost a week ago she started to have awful stagnant bog/water smelling poo that was inky black/dark grey, sometimes black liquid, sometimes liquid with some form. We then noticed a few days later that she was having strange neck spasms and on examination found a swollen crop. The following morning the crop was still full, tennis ball sized and feeling like a water balloon. She has been to the vets who inserted a tube to flush her crop, not much came out and what did was not sour smelling. The vet prescribed Baycox as they suspected coccidiosis. My husband did ask the vet about Nystatin for her crop but they didn't think it was sour crop. Our hen came home with a full crop which I was a bit upset about.

Fast forward a few days, our hen still has a full crop that doesn't empty by morning. It feels slightly less dough like and less of a ball but still full. She's eating a small amount, drinking, would eat grass if we let her out to free range and is pooing now and then (It's no longer smelly or inky black but not back to normal). She's obviously loosing weight now, she feels light as a feather and not as perky as she was. 

We have tried small amounts of Daktarin Oral the past two days out of desperation but no change as yet. We have also used some olive oil and crop massage. We rang the vets again yesterday to ask what to do next and they said they would have a think about some meds but they are limited with what they can give as it's a laying bird or food chain animal, something along those lines. We've heard nothing back from them as yet, I feel extremeley let down by them, the hen is our 4 year old daughters pet and much loved by us all. 

I'm also awaiting a delivery of Avipro Avian as I've read this can be beneficial but it's not arriving until tomorrow.

Can anyone advise how much olive oil should be administered per day and how often should we be massaging the crop. Any advice would be gratefully received thanks as we are at a loss at the moment. 🤷🏻‍♀️😢

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Sadly, black poo is often a sign of internal bleeding. It's possible that the crop lump is a tumour; the neck spasms are a reflex to clear a blockage in her crop. Olive oil for a bantam would be 0.5mL and administered in 5 x 0.1mL, giving her time to swallow it. Massage gently for a moment afterwards and every few hours is sufficient. It is good that her poo's are improving and perhaps she will sort herself out, perhaps not, but still worth trying everything you can. Losing weight could be poor digestive flora, which would also account for the smell, so the AA will help, but it takes about a week before you will see improvement. We mix an emergency dose in a jar (one measure to 100mL water) and give 1mL per day by syringe for a bantam, gently as with the olive oil. After a week stop and discard the remainder. Not sure any meds are going to help her anyway, the TLC you are giving her will be more beneficial.

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2 hours ago, Beantree said:

Sadly, black poo is often a sign of internal bleeding. It's possible that the crop lump is a tumour; the neck spasms are a reflex to clear a blockage in her crop. Olive oil for a bantam would be 0.5mL and administered in 5 x 0.1mL, giving her time to swallow it. Massage gently for a moment afterwards and every few hours is sufficient. It is good that her poo's are improving and perhaps she will sort herself out, perhaps not, but still worth trying everything you can. Losing weight could be poor digestive flora, which would also account for the smell, so the AA will help, but it takes about a week before you will see improvement. We mix an emergency dose in a jar (one measure to 100mL water) and give 1mL per day by syringe for a bantam, gently as with the olive oil. After a week stop and discard the remainder. Not sure any meds are going to help her anyway, the TLC you are giving her will be more beneficial.

I agree, you can only treat symptomatically at the moment, so treat what you can see.

I would be tempted to get another opinion from a chicken-savvy vet; roughly where are you located?

What you describe doesn't sound too brilliant :? I understand that you will want to try your best for her, but personally, I would cull a bird with those symptoms :(

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Thank you both for your fast replies, really appreciate it 👍🏻

We will try for another few days with the olive oil and massage and some tlc and cross everything 🤞🏻

We don't want her to suffer so if things go downhill quick or do not improve soon we will have to euthenaise her 😢 At the moment she's got good colour, active, drinking, eating, albeit less than normal, she's being pooing a bit more so far today, especially after massaging her crop and it's a mixture of firm/watery but normal colour. We've only had her ( & 3 others) since November, she was around 18 weeks at the time.

We are in Wales, Carmarthenshire area and unfortunately although our Vet Practice is a large one, no disrespect meant but we have yet to deal with a vet who "really, really" (old school) knows their stuff about chickens. I suppose they do not deal with many pet chickens, mostly large flocks on farms etc where if they are sick they are usually culled rather than treated. We've kept chickens for the past 8 years and have had to do a lot of research ourselves when one has been sick. We've obviously been lucky in the past as this is the first crop issue we've had to deal with. Will update in a few days 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻 

Thanks again

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I’d be very surprised if a hen that young had a tumour or internal bleeding.

I agree it doesn’t sound like coccidiosis so have a look at the ChickenVet website to see if there is a local vet who can help. If her crop isn’t sour smelling and is fluidy then massaging will help but if there’s no obvious mass of grass or anything then olive oil won’t help; I’d be tempted to starve her for a day rather than keep putting things in the crop.

Sounds like she has stasis which you’ll need to find the reason for, will PM you.

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*Update*

After getting nowhere with the regular vets who would not prescribe anything else for our little bantam on the basis the medication we wanted to try was not available for chickens, we finally managed to see an Exotics vet. 

He couldn't feel anything really fibrous in her crop and didn't suspect sour crop. He tested her poo and all seemed fine. He injected her with Biomoxyl and prescribed a 7 day course of Emperid Oral and was totally miffed why the regular vet was not willing to prescribe this 🤷🏻‍♀️

He said he'd be pleasantly surprised if the Emperid clears everything as the crop is so full and would normally require surgery. He thought she was quite perky and her weight was ok.

Today her crop is still full, it does seem to change shape and is sometimes soft, sometimes a bit firmer, things are moving through but very, very slowly. We have starved her for a day but she's back eating and drinking now and despite her problem looks healthy and has plenty of energy (although I know chickens are good at hiding things).

Unfortunatly I don't think Surgery is an option as it's very costly and we were told that it may not cure the actual issue, it may still return depending on the cause. We will just have to keep an eye on things, finish the meds and go from there 🤞🏻

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