Button with impacted crop (?)


In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 9, 2013
Things have been going well with my 4 little rescued buttons until recently. About a week or so ago, I noticed one of them opening her mouth as she breathed, but I didn't think much of it. I noticed it again, more pronounced, on Friday, and was suspicious of something being wrong. She's now doing it most of the time. Every once in awhile, she opens it extra wide, like she's yawning, and sometimes when she does this she makes a sound like she's sneezing. I don't think it's caused by any kind of pathogen- though the birds were in rough shape when I got them, it's been a year and they've been perfect healthy eating game crumbles with finch seeds, egg, oyster shell, occasional vegetables and meal worms as supplements. After doing some research, I'm worried it's a crop issue.

I felt her crop first thing this morning, and I think I may have felt a hard lump. I couldn't smell any odor coming from her mouth, so hopefully it's not sour crop. She's still eating and drinking normally, as far as I can tell. Yesterday, after eating two big chunks of scrambled egg, she did a lot of stretching and "yawning."

I want to bring her to the vet tomorrow, but I'm worried they'll tell me they won't be able to help with a button (I called when I had an button with a dislocated leg and they advised me not to bring her in, as even though they are a first-class university vet hospital, they didn't think the stress would be worth it for such a tiny bird since they weren't sure they could actually fix the injury). Maybe, since this is a different type of issue, they will be able to help, but meanwhile I'm very worried about my little bird. Does anyone have any advice? I've read about the home remedies for chickens with impacted crops but I'm terrified to use them on such a tiny bird. I'm also worried that maybe this isn't actually an impacted crop, since I've never had any experience with it before.
If it is the crop it is usually not to much trouble to clear IF you know how to handle the bird. That being said it might also be gape worm, and that would need to be treated by a vet. Look for someone who treats chickens in your area and save that phone number! If it is a crop issue you can do several things to help but then again a vet would be best.
If this is a special pet then might want to spend the time and money to get it to the vet if he/she is one of many in your care I think I would just let it be and try a few home remedies, like placing it alone in a warm area and feeding tiny bites of food and even trying a bit of olive oil in the water or on the food?
You can replace buttons around here for about $5 so I don't think I would pay a vet $50 or more to save one. Just my 2 cents. Good Luck!
Well, I took her to the vet hospital. It's almost certainly not an impacted crop. The vet really wasn't sure what was going on. He did a full physical and listed a few possibilities, but nothing seemed to match the symptoms. He was able to rule some things out. It might just be that her trachea or something is deformed. But the good news is, the problems have been decreasing in frequency lately, so maybe it's getting better. If she gets worse, I'll take her back to the vet and they'll do some x-rays and further testing. So it's frustrating that I don't have an answer yet, but even though it was expensive I'm glad I spent the money to make sure that it wasn't something obvious and easily fixable. I would have felt awful if I didn't treat her for something that could have been fixed. Plus, the vets were thrilled to have a look at button quail. They also did some beak and nail trimming on both the sick bird and the one I brought to keep her company. It's a university teaching hospital, so it was great experience for the students.

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