Well, I couldn’t write about this until I knew my Mabel to be out of the woods.
On Sunday, Mabel could not stand, she used her wings to balance and her tail was tilted down. When we picked her up in the afternoon her crop was hard and enlarged. We took the girls back to their run and Mabel proceeded to vomit water and slime. She had an impacted crop, a life threatening condition, according to everything I was able to research on-line.
The girls had been in the tractor on the lawn and we were very busy with the plans of the day. I never thought chickens had issues, for some reason I thought they just did their thing, gave us eggs and smiles. Wrong. Whether it was the long grass before we cut it or she gorged herself on grit we will never know, but the grit is no longer free range available. We’ll see how it gets to them, still not sure about that.
We set up the smaller brooder in the basement and took her in to keep an eye on her condition. I fed her olive oil soaked bread and yogurt , as per http://www.backyardchickens.com/ , they are my saving grace on many chicken issues. I continued to feed her 3 times a day with yogurt from my fingers as that is the only way she would eat. I also massaged her crop towards her stomach/gizzard three times a day in an attempt to break up the mass that had developed in her crop. I set myself to the realization that my brave Mabel may die in as little as 2-3 days from toxemia. I held water in front of her, mixed her crumble with yogurt, dripped water on her beak to get her to drink and spent many moments petting her and encouraging her to stand tall and rejoin her flock.
I will not kid you, I spoke to her in an encouraging tone and professed my love for her over and over again in hopes that a kind word and loving thoughts would help…I also became obsessed with her bodily functions, did she poop, how often,was it little or big, what was the consistency, does she need more liquids…I am now officially a chicken Mamma. Never before have I cared what came out of another living thing.
W went to check on her this morning and called out for me to come down to the basement. I called out first,”Is she dead?”. I just couldn’t go down unprepared. To my tears of joy she was standing tall and talking, no drooping tail, no wings down to balance herself. I immediately felt up her crop, small lump still there but nothing of what it was. We returned her to the crew, treated them all with seeds in yogurt( a new regular treat for sure) and have kept an eye on her all day.
The girls had a little time in the green house with us so we could enjoy them a bit more than usual. Nothing like a little scare to remind you to love those around you.
They had their “tea” on china, it was a green house social to celebrate.
We will keep a close eye on her for a couple more days and I am sure yogurt a-la-finger is still on the menu but I am happy to see her back with the girls, having a dust bath and walking tall.
My brave Mabel lives to lay eggs another day. Thank you.