RIR, 8 months old, not laying eggs yet, hard and small crop that does not fill up, not eating as much

by Christina
(San Diego, CA)

As the title says, my sweet girl is not eating as much as she used to, her crop no longer feels full ever and is hard, small and always about the size of 2 grapes even at the end of the day (the size never changes), she is napping somewhat often and she's 8 months old and hasn't laid an egg yet.

I have had her since almost birth, her umbilical cord was still attached when I got her from the feed store, and she is super people friendly. I treat her like a pet and have her entire life, bringing her inside everyday for a few hours...she sleeps on the couch cuddled up near me or on my lap, I give her oatmeal, scratch, organic wheat bread, seeds, and whatever left over dinner was (I also give my other girls that too, but she gets first pickings). Her and the others also get their main food which is an Omega 3 feed pellet with oyster shell pellets mixed in and they free range all day long. I can feel her breast bone when I hold her, but she has always been on the thinner smaller side, so that seems normal for her? She is in pecking order #5 out of 6 chickens.

When she was a few months old a gate blew over on her and smashed her and she almost died. She recovered and seemed fine.

She also displays signs of jealousy when I pet or hold the other chickens-she will go over to them while I am holding them or after i have put them down and will peck at them and then demand to be held by jamming her head into my body or crying at my feet, or sometimes pecking me. I tell you all this because maybe it will help you help me? I don't know....

I noticed the past few weeks she has not been eating very much. She will have a little here and there, but before she used to be an endless trash can. Her crop never feels full anymore and seems empty at the end of the day. I have examined her poop and it is free of bugs or worms, but there are pieces of grass in it and it seems kinda dry compared to the others. She is still just as vocal as she has always been and seems to be alert. She has always been a very very mellow and docile chicken from birth, unlike my others. I'm very worried about her and there are no bird vets in the area, so that is not an option..

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by: Christina

Hello, she was not improving and I did find a vet to take her to. They did an examination and X-rays ( they had to put her under!!) and all they could find was that she was not carrying any eggs and she had an enlarged liver and spleen, so they diagnosed her with CANCER!!! Omg, I was devastated as I've become incredibly attached to her. I wasn't happy with the diagnoses and pushed the vet for other options and treatments. She wasn't very much help, but gave me a broad antibiotic (the name escapes me but it was pink like pepto bismol) and I gave it to her 1x a day over 6 weeks and after about 5 weeks she got better!! I couldn't believe it! I really thought I was going to lose her......but she is good as ever! She is eating normally and back to her prior self! She will now be 2 years old this July, and she still has not laid though. I don't mind, but very curious as to why she hasn't. Doesn't matter as long as she is alive though :)

Sick Chick

Sounds like she may have had sour crop. Chickens need a lot of water to help digest the contents of their crop. Much of a full crop is water that is soaking into feed and helping to break it down.

I know it's been a while. Did she get better?

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