what chickens can eat

This is our mama Silkie Hen, and her six cute-as-a-button little chickies (one’s hiding behind her).

Aren’t Silkies the funniest, cutest chickens you’ve ever seen?

They’re just too posh to put in the coop with the rest of the flock. No. These beauties have their own special coop all to themselves.

Unfortunately, her rooster (who was also quite a character himself) disappeared about a week ago. Guess a fox got him, poor fella.

Also unfortunately, two of these chicks mysteriously died today. I’m not sure what went wrong, but I found one dead in the yard, and the other abandoned and very weak. I tried to nurse it with sugar water, but it died a little while later.

And then, as if that wasn’t sad enough, when I was putting the hen and her chicks up for the night I noticed one of the babies doing some funky thing where she would stretch her neck up toward the sky, open her beak, and act like she was trying to gulp something down. She just kept doing it, over and over again.

My hand took a beating as the protective mother attacked me when I reached into the cage, but I was finally able to get a hold of the baby chick and bring it inside for a closer examination.

I watched as the chick opened its mouth and stretched its neck upward again, and I could see that there was food or something packed in the back of her throat. She was getting weaker by the second.

We couldn’t just let it die! So, Jerry and I went to work trying to do whatever we could to help.

Holding the chick on its back, I held its beak open while Jerry reached in with tweezers and carefully removed what globs of food he could get. When we couldn’t get any more out, I used a dropper to put two drops of olive oil into the chick’s beak to loosen the remaining food.

I rubbed and rubbed her neck, trying to free the clump from her throat. I had no idea if it would do any good. Her head was rolling back, and her eyes were closing. I knew I was losing her.

I just kept talking to the poor little thing, and massaging her crop. She gasped once again, but this time I couldn’t see any food stuck in the back of her throat. She’d swallowed it down!

I put her beak to a little bit of water, hoping maybe to wash down whatever might be left.

And after a minute, she stopped gasping and was chirping again!

I put her back outside with her mother, whom she was happy to quickly work her way underneath to join her siblings in the warmth of the hen’s body for the night.

My only guess is that she’d had an impacted crop. I REALLY hope she makes it!! I’ll check on her first thing in the morning.

UPDATE (next morning): I’m happy to say the chick is FINE! So glad she made it alright.

Do you have any experience treating an impacted crop?