Crop Not Sour But Big and Soft, Also Wheezing - Advice?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cmberger929, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. cmberger929

    cmberger929 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 10, 2015
    Hi All,

    Need some advice. I have a one-year old hen and about 6 weeks ago I noticed a cough and some wheezing. No other symptoms (except recently I discovered a swollen crop, will get into that in a minute).

    Treated her for 2 weeks with Tetracycline and the coughing stopped within several days, but she still had a wheeze. She doesn't wheeze with every breath but it's there. I decided to give it a while longer thinking she could have a virus (as the feed store guy informed me) but no improvement on the wheeze. Again, no other symptoms, except maybe drinking more water than normal. Eating and pooping normally, not depressed at all. Still laying too.

    I then figured it could be gapeworm, so wormed her with fenbendazole. She completed her 2nd dose a few days ago, and still the wheeze. I gave her a closer physical inspection and found that her crop was pretty swollen. I hadn't noticed that before so not sure how long this has been going on (I should have checked her out sooner!).

    I'm thinking that her crop might be big enough to impact her airway - it's about the size of a smallish apricot. She doesn't seem to be struggling to breathe, but I wonder if that could be the reason for the wheeze. I did some reading on crop problems, and this is where I'd especially like some input.

    She doesn't have a smell, so crop is not sour. It's not hard, instead it's soft and squishy. So it doesn't seem to be exactly impacted - based on what I've read I'd expect the crop to feel harder. In the morning (after taking away her food overnight), the crop was a little smaller. Still soft and squishy, and it bounces back when I press on it or pinch it. I massaged it and she didn't seem to mind at all. I gave her some granite grit today to see if that would help, as she has never had any except for chick grit in her earlier days (I didn't realize they needed to continue with grit).

    I've read these forums and found great information on impacted and sour crops, and yeast infections, but this doesn't seem to quite fit and would like to hear your suggestions on where to take this next.

    In summary:

    -One year old hen, started coughing 6 weeks ago
    -Treated w/Tetracycline for 2 weeks, coughing stopped but wheeze persisted
    -Wormed with fenbendazole thinking possible gapeworm, wheeze persisted
    -Noticed large, soft squishy crop (smallish apricot sized), not sure how long this has been going on, wondering if the source of the wheeze
    -Crop is not sour, nor does she have any other symptoms - she's acting very normal except drinking more water than normal
    -I've had her in the house this whole time with supplemental heat
    -I've been putting vitamins and electrolytes in her water and occasional probiotics

    Thank you for any help/feedback!
  2. cmberger929

    cmberger929 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 10, 2015
    Happy update from this morning - I took away food AND water overnight, and her crop was much smaller, though still swollen and squishy. The size is now down to less than a ping pong ball. Best of all, the wheezing seems to have stopped!!!

    My plan is to massage the crop a few times today and to start feeding her again in the morning, only soft foods until it resolves. I be keeping a close eye on her in the future as I've read these things can tend to reoccur.

    Still happy to receive any advice that might be helpful in this situation. Thanks!
  3. welshbird

    welshbird New Egg

    Dec 29, 2016
    Henllan, North Wales.
    OMG! Aren't our chickens a worry!! I'm a complete novice so can't offer any advice but just wanted to wish your chicken all the best. Please keep us posted on her progress? ... Joanne
  4. Cynthia12

    Cynthia12 Always Grateful Premium Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    It sounds like your plan is working. Hope you can keep that crop down with the massaging. That may be all she needed until it all goes through. Good luck!
  5. cmberger929

    cmberger929 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 10, 2015
    Thought I'd post an update since we are still working on this problem. She's much better, but still has about a ping pong ball size amount of food in her crop every morning, which feels fairly firm. I have a plan though. But first, let me give you an update...

    Since I last posted, I started giving her 100 mg of docusate sodium twice a day for several days in a row, along with a few crop massages, which helped her pass some of the obstruction. I kept a close watch on her poops during this time and found some that looked like it was composed of pellets. Seems she was not digesting something very well, perhaps pelleted feed - and if that were the case this means it would have been in her crop for weeks, because we had switched back to crumble. But I also have been giving her a good amount of safflower seed as a treat since she's kind of skinny, so it could have been that instead.

    She then developed a big sour crop. Yuck. I think loosening everything up created the right environment for that to take hold. I treated her with an antifungal (miconazole) and it went back down. It reared up again when I re-introduced some moistened layer crumble, so I think anything starchy is no good right now. I am now feeding her primarily eggs, mealworms, plain yogurt, and shelled sunflower seeds. No resurgence of sour crop yet.

    My plan is to keep working on whatever it is that's still stuck in her crop. Since the docusate sodium worked somewhat, I'm going to use that again but do things a little differently by putting extra water into her crop with a tube feeder, and then give her plenty of crop massages - I don't think I did enough of that before. I plan to spend a day or two doing this to see if that will clear the rest out.

    Keeping my fingers crossed!

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