Well Im not doing the water thing because if I killed the hen, I would have one less hen.
Im not performing surgery though..
I guess if it isnt better by morning, message, water, message, water....
Edited by chickenwhisperer123 - 7/13/09 at 9:38am
This sounds pretty normal. I wouldn't do anything if the bird seems OK. I had some cornish hens once...they had the biggest crops I've ever seen on a chicken. OK, so I haven't seen a lot of chickens, but they would eat all day and would seem like the crop was bigger than the rest of the bird.
We had a pullet last year that went a little nuts with some grass clippings. Either the clippings were too long or she was just too much of a pig (probably a bit of both), but she ended up with that same baseball sized alarming crop that freaked you out. We freaked out too so you're in good company. After a herculean search through all things poultry online, through the county extension and an inquiry to the state vet school this is the nugget we can pass on to you. What you do is a little of everything aforementioned. First, wait and see. If in the morning her crop has not noticeably gone down and is still hard then further action may be warranted. If it has gone down and "loosened" a bit, well then, she's just a pig. If her crop has not gone down and is still tight, first determine if she is still taking water. Laying hens, as you may already know, need to drink quite a bit of water and deprivation can seriously impact their cycle. More likely than not she is still taking water and just has too much unwieldy roughage in her crop.
It would be truly an emergency condition if your hen is unable to take water and would require an incision to clear the crop (it's gross, but doable- really). This would involve 70% isopropyl alcohol, an extremely sharp knife or scalple and some vinyl gloves and triple antibiotic ointment (all available at the drug store). This is a two man job -one to hold and one to operate (hint: vicks vaporub in the nostrils helps stave off nausea and drowns out most icky crop smells and be sure to lay down plastic for the mess FIRST not after you start). First pluck the area of the top 1/3 of the crop and clean it with the alcohol. Next, to one side or the other but off-center, make a vertical incision about 1.5 inches long. Work your gloved finger under the skin and pull the skin to one side so that you can make a similar incision to the crop (the idea here is to off-set the incision to the crop and the one to the skin so that it will have a better chance of healing properly). Using your index finger and by working the crop with your other hand clear as much material from the crop as you can. Clean the incisions making sure not to leave any crop detritus under the skin or in the incisions. Apply triple antibiotic ointment. DO NOT SUTURE. She'll heal just fine. Keep her on water only for 24 hours, yogurt or cooked egg for the next 24, mash for the next 24, advance to soaked crumble as she tolerates it- no grit or oyster shell for 5 days.
What worked for us involved mineral oil, some plastic tubing (available from your local still-room/medical supply store, the type used for enemas) and a 3cc syringe barrel without the needle. When instilling mineral oil into your birds crop, like they said before --the great danger is that the oil will end up in your birds lungs and not in the crop. My better half was in nursing school and thought "heck we put tubes down peoples throats, why not birds?" Well, amazingly enough, it worked and was well tolerated by the bird! We measured from the tip of the beak to the base of the crop with the tubing and cut it to length appropriately. Next we opened the mouth and peered down the gullet. Just like humans the windpipe is to the front and the esophagus to the back, so we gentled the tubing to the back of the gullet and down into the crop. With the syringe barrel we drew up about 1.5-2cc of mineral oil and inserting the nib into the tubing pushed the mineral oil into the tubing. Gravity took care of the rest after removing the syringe from the tubing- it just slid right on down and in! The tubing was then taken out (washed and later reused) and we massaged her crop -kneeding it between our hands like so much hard dough. Don't be surprised if it feels like you're kneeding a back of straw or saw dust or whatever - the main thing is to loosen the mass up and work the oil through so the material can pass. The last thing you need is for the stuff to sit there for days and ferment or grow a bug to sour the crop and really put your girl in danger. We treated our girl aggressively because of the amount of grass she'd consumed and for the tangled ball of muck that was clogging her crop. We started her in the evening with oil and massage, massaged in the AM and re-dosed and massaged in the pm...it took 3 days to clear. During those three days she ate very little to nothing but did drink regularly. Once her crop cleared she was back to her old piggy self...she even went broody! This year she's a proud momma with 7 chicks this spring.
in the past i had this happened while i find chickens are very much like my exotic parrots when they get hard crops that dont empty i will take a dropper and give them gatorade yep gatorade this has worked for me with my chickens but my vet told me to do this years ago on a $3000 parrot we had and worked fine so i have used when needed on chickens.
something i was told in gatorade that helped break down the goodies in the crop.
You didn't waste my time
I'm so glad to hear shes okay this morning!
Any time you need help or are worried about your chickens just ask thats what we are all here for to help each other.
It went down... Sorry to waste everyones time, im just a newbee freaking out...
<chuckle> Well, you got a fine scare there for yourself and probably saved a bunch of rookie BYCers (myself included) from freaking out themselves when they eventually run into that situation. Good to share experiences, definitely no harm done.
So glad she's better. I knew if the "hard lump" had only shown up that evening it was nothing to be concerned about yet and didn't want you to take drastic measures.
There are impacted crops and they can become sour crops and lots of good information has been posted here about how to treat them so this thread will be helpful to others - never a waste of time.