Ack! Is THIS an impacted crop?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 7, 2009
Coopertown, TN
I am freaking out just a little!!!! Newbie chicken-owner here with 15 5-week-old chicks. I just came back frim a weeklong trip, and went to check on my chickies. One of them has a SIGNIFICANT bulge on his/her chest!!!! It's not under the neck so I'm not sure if that could be an impacted crop? It's more over the right side of the breast, but it's obviously bothering the little bugger because s/he will walk with head held real high, and occasionally stretch his/her neck up and kind of gag. I picked it ip and softly palpated the area - it triggered the same kind of response and I was scared of injuring the bird, so I quit.

The birds are on starter/grower right now (Sunfresh) and they have a little litterbox with a mixture of sand and Stall-Dri to dustbathe in and provide grit. Their set-up and feed did not change while I was gone, I made any changes/additions about a week before I left so nothing new in their environment. They are in a big brooder with a 1/2" hardware cloth floor. I just can't think what happened to that one chick?

Please help me fix this issue before something bad happens to my little chickie!
I'm not an expert on this subject, but i remember a couple of tips. When you were feeling the crop, did you feel anything hard?

Also, you can give her some olive oil by mouth, which might help the contents of the crop loosen up and pass through.

I'm not diagnosing here; 'cause i don't know enough about it. But until you get some more specific direction, that's what i would do.
Well, I tried massaging the crop, but it doesn't feel hard, it just feels big like a big bubble. There is some stuff in there but it moves around easily. The chick has stopped it's weird walk and "gag", but when it let the flock out in their pen, this one ended up wallowing in a little hole in the ground. I thought it was just dustbathing, but it was in muddy gravel and not a nice dry hole like some other birds, so I went over to the chick. Fols it did not look good... just kind of curled up and lethargic. I picked it up and put it in a milkcrate to observe it a bit, and it immediately curled up on it's side, toes curled, and a bit trembly. The crop does not seem any worse though, or any more bothersome.

So, I took an old dog crate, put some bedding in it, some ACV water and a small saucer of olive oil. It's a few inches from the main brooder box so that it can get heat from the lamp above it, but the birds or their poop cannot come in contact. The sick chick drank the water and olive oil and was scratching around in the bedding about 10 minutes ago, so what the???? I mean, it was all curled up and trembling in the mud outside, could barely hold itself up, and now it looks okay except for that crop bulge. Is it sick? Will it be okay without food until tomorrow, or should I try giving it some food? WHAT IS GOING ON???
If it were me, and in lieu of more expert advice, i would keep her isolated until morning and see if the crop goes down. If the crop does't go down by morning, then there's definitely a problem. make sure she has plenty of water to drink and see what happens. Also, if you can, take note of her poop, whether she does, how much, what it looks like, etc. If she's pooping normally, that's a good sign too.
I had a hen get something stuck in her throat (grass probably) and she went very lethargic and so forth. I brought her in the house, fed her olive oil with an eye dropper...every few hours, I made her food real slurpy with water and it took her about 2 days to work whatever it was loose. Give it a try and see if that helps. But it may take a day or so.
Where are you keeping these chicks? In the first post you say they are in a brooder in another post you say one was in wet mud. Do you have any heat on them?

How long have you had the sand in there with them? From your posts I can gather at least 2 weeks. Sand is not a good idea to have with little ones as they tend to eat it and that can impact crops. Why would you use stall dri for dust bathing? I wouldnt want them to eat that either. Stall dri would be fine to use sprinkled in the shavings of a coop to keep down the smell and keep flies away. If these chicks are inside in a brooder still, there really is no need to dustbathe yet, unless you have a concern of bugs being in your house already.

Before you panic and treat something that is not wrong, determine whether or not there is a problem. Take away all food from this chick, offer only water (or acv water). First thing in the morning before giving any food, check the crop. Some birds tend to overeat and will fill their crops on a daily basis. As long as it is empty by morning, after going all night with NO food, there is no problem. Dont panic too much yet. Hope all goes well.
chickenlady I used stall dri in red clay for my babies to dust bath in from 2 weeks old on....they did fine with it, they are 1.5 years old.

The sand I agree could be a problem for the little ones. But the olive oil will not hurt the little one and it can help empty the crop.
chickenlady I used stall dri in red clay for my babies to dust bath in from 2 weeks old on....they did fine with it, they are 1.5 years old.

The sand I agree could be a problem for the little ones. But the olive oil will not hurt the little one and it can help empty the crop.

I stand corrected on the stall dri, however I personally would not use it for this purpose. Everyone is different. I agree that olive oil will not hurt the chick and will ease in emptying the crop. Hopefully, the crop will be empty in the morning and she/he will go on to live a happy chicken life.
Sorry about the confusion about the chickie quarters....

I have built a brooder out of 2"x 2"s and 1/2" hardware cloth, that is 42" square by 2ft high. This has a little doorway opening into another, similar brooder that is the same height and 2ft x 4ft. Both brooder boxes have a hardware cloth floor, they are on casters and I have pine shavings over an old shower curtain underneath to catch the poops. There are also roosting boards for the chicks running the length and width of the square brooder. Here is a picture (without the 2ft x 4ft brooder attached:

The waterers are now ball-valve "rabbit" waterers that work wonderfully well, there are 4 32oz bottles for 15 chicks. Also 2 trough feeders for them. I have a little litter box with sand and Stall-Dri for the chickies to play in, as well. I had read here on BYC that it is nice to provide that for chickies -actually some people here seem to recommend some consumption of Stall-Dri as a safe, gentle preventive of worms and mites/lice - and I watched them closely the first few days I put it in 2 weeks ago and none were having crop issues at all. So I'm not sure it's really the problem now, would that make sense?

This is all in my garage bay, and outside the garage, there is a 20ft x 30ft chainlink pen (one wall of it is the outside wall of the garage bay). When it is nice outside, I take the chickies out and let them have outdoor time. They are over 5 weeks old now, I've been doing this for about 3 weeks now and they have been doing fine. They are only out under supervision and in warmish, pleasant weather, and I rig up a watere for them outside, too. There is both sun and shade, one corner has a tarp stretched out at about a 3ft height so they have some cover. The pen is mostly green grass but the area under the garage roof overhang has gravel for drainage, this is where the sick chick was crouching.

I checked on the chick 20mn ago and now it seems okay, it had pooped a pretty normal-looking poop (tube-shaped, firm brown poopie with a white splash on one end). It is enjoying the olive oil and I've seen it drink some ACV water. But the crop is still full looking. Is it safe to leave it all night without food, and see if the crop is down by morning? Do chicks act trembly and curled up and crouching if they are not actually sick? If it seems better by morning, would it be okay to reintegrate into the flock?

Maybe it was just cold from the mud and rocks and too stupid to move somewhere else?

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