April 8, 2008
on bare-backed hens and, impacted craw tomatoes
Today I got a
follow up from an earlier letter.
Hi Allison, Do you have
any advise for an impacted craw on an older hen? Our beloved pet,
Honey, appears to have this issue, so looking into it.
Also, I don't know if I told you... If you remember the feather
loss issue that we were having, you suggested might be due to the
rooster-hen ratio has been figured out! Our ratio was 2:30, which
wider than the minimum 1:8 ratio for breeding purposes. Shortly
after talking to you, the ratio became 1:30. Still experiencing
feather loss, we observed that there were NO feathers on the ground
and the hens were picking them off of eachother. This clearly indicated
a protein deficiency, a meat-based protein deficiency to be exact.
Since our winter was so extended this year as opposed to previous
years, we had never experienced this problem before. We were given
freezer-burned ground deer burger from neighbors to which I promptly
thawed, browned and tossed out for them. THEY LOVED IT! They have
also been given Tuna, Sardines and Mackerel. Pin feathers are starting
to come it and we are now finding excess feathers around the yard
again! :) Info can be found about this in Storey's Guide to Raising
Chickens. Cat food is a suggested remedy for this issue, but since
we are opposed to the ingredients in the commercial pet food industry,
we opted for real meat and thankfully could do it cost effectively
(free). In the meantime, I sent out an updated e-mail newsletter
to our customers, which included our findings, and were blessed
with someone offering an additional 7 lbs of freezer-burned meat!
Please let me know if you have any info on the craw issue. Thanks
the impacted craw, sadly, in this instance my advice would be to
cull the hen. If she is older than 2 years, the likelihood she will
recover from slitting open her throat to remove the obstruction
and then stitching her back up is low. To prevent this in other
birds when your ground is covered with snow you can provide a small
pan of 1/16 to 1/8 inch gravel with your feed and make sure they
always have access to water.
vote is always for comfort and care for the bird. IMHO its unlikely
she will survive, culling her may be the kindest thing you can do.
You can try feeding her a little mineral oil with a dropper and
keep her warm and with access to water and soft feed for a day or
two, but I am not sure you can help her with this problem.
regret for the bad news,
Glad to hear that your birds are responding so well to the additional
Cheers for chickens!
I started tomato sets. We put them in the ground on April Fools Day
and we are crossing our fingers there won't be frost. So far so good.