Can the crop dissolve hard things?


12 Years
Jun 4, 2009
My bantam EE a year and a half old pigged out on grit leaving her with a badly impacted crop. I've been treating her for a week and her crop is slowly moving things out and she has pooped out quite a bit of grit but her crop hasn't completely emptied yet. In the mornings, it's a hard putty like ball, but it's slowly getting smaller. When I oil and massage, I can feel a hard piece of something, maybe grit, a stick, metal? I don't know but it's very hard.

I've been using Nystatin, oil and massage, baby food, yogurt, durvet V&E. She's pooping some, sometimes normal, sometimes straight water.

I can't do crop surgery, no supplies no helper no way. There is one vet I could take her to, but I do not want my birds sedated and I know he will sedate her for crop surgery. He's not great with chickens, he does parrots and such. I've already lost one to sedation during a procedure.

So I'm wondering does the crop have any digestive fluids to eat away at something hard?
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It's 1am and her crop is going down so I can feel the object a little better. Can't tell what it is, but I felt something sharp maybe like the tip of a screw or sharp stick? I couldn't really make out anything else about it so I'll check again closer to morning to try and figure out what it might be and how big it is. I'm guessing I'll have to take her to the vet Monday.
it could be anything. My hen Sandy was acting weird and I ended up taking her to the vet. They put her in oxygen and tube fed her and everything but finally she passed. The vet did a necropsy of her and found out she ate 3 or so of the little plastic things that cover screw holes in wood in her stomach.

I would get her to the vet asap while she's still in good health so she doesn't pass it to he gizzard or stomach.

So sorry that your going through this. This just kind of hit home for me since thats kind of what happened to my first hen.
I think this is going to have to be your call.

If she is a beloved pet I'd take her in to the vet. If she swallowed a screw then she will not likely be able to pass it without it puncturing something on the way out. There is a chance she could pass it without a problem, but are you willing to risk that? If she is "just a chicken", or you are unwilling/unable to get veterinary assistance then I'd use the "wait and see" approach. Her outcome may not be good with this approach, but if you can't get a vet involved, then that's the risk you have to take.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. It's going to be a tough call.
If you have the money take her to a vet. If not time will tell. I've read some post in the meat section where people would find all sorts of things inside of chickens. Such as nuts & bolts, rocks ,Etc.
Thanks so much for your replies and support. If it wasn't a weekend, she would've went to the vet but I think it's too late now. Now the game has changed, here's the latest.

After my last post I checked her again at 4:30am and her crop was less full but I couldn't feel the object. Fed her soft foods at 8:00am, and by noon her crop was flat for the first time in a week. So the object is past her crop now. She feels better, she's ravenous, and her poop looks normal again, but she hasn't passed the object. I don't know what it was but it felt like it had a sharp point, never could feel the rest of it. I'm hoping maybe it was just a sharp piece of grit I was feeling and she'll be ok. If it's not ok and her proventriculus or gizzard gets punctured, how do I know? What do I look for?

She is a pet (all my chickens are) but at this point I've decided not to take her to the vet. An x-ray might show what and where the object is now, but I don't think anything could be done now that it's moved out of the crop. I've heard surgically removing something from the gizzard is near impossible and vets won't try it. But I hope I don't regret my decision later. What would you do?

I'm keeping her inside, watching and hoping for the best. We also need to see if her crop will continue working and re-introduce her to her normal food. Her crop improvement began after I started Nystatin so I'm thinking there was yeast contributing to the crop-stasis as well as the impaction. She's lost some weight but she seems to feel a lot better since her crop emptied. We need to tone her crop back up too, it seems pretty stretched out. Not quite sure how to go about it though.

So what do you all think? Your thoughts and opinions mean so much. I'm hoping for the best and I hope I'm doing the right things for her.
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Hi BW...been awhile eh? I think you should just monitor her at this point and continue what you're doing. As long as she's eating and drinking normally, she's on the right track. Keep an eye on her poop, if you suspect a sharp object such as a screw and it punctures something inside her, you'll possibly see blood in her poop, then again, she may pass it, if that's what it is. I wish both of you the best of luck.
Thanks humble Dawg good to 'see' ya again! Yeah she's eating and drinking good. She's actually ravenously hungry. But her crop needs to tone back up after being stretched out so long so I can't give her too much food at a time. If I'd let her, right now she'd eat til she popped! Do you think her crop will tighten back up?

I'm definitely watching her poop. I'm not embarrassed (or am I?) to say I've dug through every poop she has had. Nothing so far, and her poop looks nice and normal. I hope this turns out well, she's already been through a lot.

Okay, just checked her again and her crop still has some soft food she ate before bedtime in it. I hope that's not a sign that something's punctured inside her. Her crop isn't as full, but shouldn't it be totally empty after 6 hours? She only ate yogurt and babyfood. I'll check it again in a couple hours. Maybe it's slower emptying because it's kinda loose after the week-long impaction. If so, I really hope that's not permanent.
I wouldnt worry too much. My favorite Black Star had a crop like that...looked like a beer belly (talk about bellying up to the lol.) Her crop was semi or full when she to roost in the evening, which is normal. It was always soft and kinda low slung in the was strange looking and I was always picking her up to check her out, all for nothing. I was always checking her poop too, so dont feel bad. There is no set time period when a crop should empty, it happens when it happens. If her crops gets impacted again, try olive oil soaked in bread w/ massage like you did...hopefully she wont eat so much grit.

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