Sick bantam

by Amy

Question:

My sick bantam has a lump in the front of her neck. I felt around and it seems to be her neck is all tucked up and kind of bent. I don’t really know how to explain it.

She also is really lethargic and not her normal bubbly self. When she went to peck a piece of bread her beak went close but didn’t make contact like she couldn’t judge the distance. When she walks sometimes she loses her balance and uses her wing to stand up.

She and my other bantam have been spending a lot of time in their laying box but I haven’t had an egg for over a week; if you could help me that would be great :)

Answer:
There is a lot going on with this poor girl! If the lump is low, at the base of her neck/throat, this could be an impacted crop.

If she ate and didn’t drink enough the contents of the crop will harden. If you can get her to take some fluids, try gently massaging the lump.

Adding liquids will make it possible to break up this blockage, if that is the problem. Her weakness could be caused by her digestive system not working.

I would try some warmed Gatorade, which could perk her up and help loosen an impacted crop or warm water with a little apple cider vinegar, or plain warm water.

Not laying could mean she is egg bound. In order to lay eggs chickens need good muscle tone and good hydration and calcium. It’s impossible to say what started her problems.

Since chickens deliver their eggs through the same vent as they poop, this can cause failure of her digestive system and being blocked up with toxic excrement.

I would suggest gently checking her vent area, up towards her legs, for any solid mass there. You should be able to tell if there is an egg.

I’ve never had an egg bound chicken, but have successfully treated smaller exotic birds. The books say to “steam” the vent by holding the bird over a hot cup of water. This hasn’t worked for me.

I take them to the sink, hold the bird upside down, and run very warm water from mid chest, over the vent and down the tail for about 5 minutes.

The theory of the heat is that it can relax the muscles allowing the eggs(s)to pass. I’ve also used a little mineral oil gently applied into the vent with a glass eye-dropper. (If there is an egg, you don’t want to break it inside her, so be very gentle in catching/handling her.)

Then I set the bird on a heating pad set on low and wait for an egg. I would continue offering fluids and massaging the crop, if you believe it is impacted.

Generally the first sign of being egg bound is weakness. A bird with a blocked system quickly becomes ill. They lose appetite, thirst and strength.

By the time you are seeing the signs, she might have gone days being blocked, so time is of the essence! A trip to the vet would be highly recommended, but often there is not one available that knows chickens, or the expense is out of reach.

We hope these suggestions help, but they are only guesses based on past experience and what you are able to relay. We wish you and you girl success in getting through this.

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