Doughy stubborn slow crop

AggieKat

Chirping
May 3, 2021
45
37
64
DFW area Texas
😢Hi all! Worried about my Australorp hen, Henrietta. She has always had a more difficult time when eating things than the other two girls, but it has recently gotten much worse. Her crop was very saggy and full looking and then about 2 weeks ago, I noticed liquid coming out of her mouth when she bent over while free ranging in the yard at dusk. I figured out it was sour crop and treated according to the post by @azygous I think? that is mentioned for help with crop issues.

Well, I think we got the yeast infection under control (because the awful, nasty yeast smell is gone) but her crop is still a mess. Very slow and doesn’t empty at night. Tonight it was literally like Playdough. I could mold everything inside it and it stayed put. She is drinking water and wants to eat EVERYTHING. She seems so hungry but then she overeats or eats weird stuff like broken acorn shells and grass, which I think the grass is what stopped her crop up in the first place.

Her poop is still mostly water with dark brown lumps in it. She is definitely smaller now than the other two, so I feel terrible that I didn’t notice this all sooner and see she was having issues. She is also missing the feathers on her crop area, so I don’t know if she plucked them out herself or what. The other two girls are perky, eating fine and laying eggs almost daily, even in this hot hot Texas summer heat. They are missing some feathers also, one on the breast area and one on the front of her neck right under her beak/waddles.

Things I’ve done:
*checked them for mites and lice…didn’t see any obvious evidence but went ahead and
*cleaned out the coop and run and sprayed with Permethrin
*treated Henrietta with the Epsom salt flush (and that temporarily seemed to help) while only feeding her scrambled eggs and some plain yogurt for probiotics for 2 days
*gave Henrietta coconut oil at night and done crop massages
*tried to fashion several crop bras to help Henrietta’s seriously sagging crop

*added electrolytes and probiotics to extra waterer in the run for all the girls


She was laying along with the other girls but hasn’t laid an egg in weeks. Before all of this I had found some cracked eggs or shells only in the run, but I didn’t know who it was. Now, I know it was her 😥 I just ordered acidified copper sulfate but I don’t know what else to do. She isn’t lethargic or anything, but I’m afraid I’m just watching her die eventually because she can’t digest everything she’s eating.

Any ideas what to do next? Should I worm all 3 of them? Do they have coccidiosis and I just don’t know it?

I feel defeated and like a terrible chicken mom. Any help is greatly appreciated. Pic of my sad Henrietta girl and her saggy crop. Thanks y’all😔
 

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You are as opposite of a terrible chicken mom as one could be. Disabuse yourself of that notion. Please.

In fact, you've done magnificently in trying sensible ways to try to treat your hen. By all means worm her. That's one of the common causes of slow crop. I suggest a gentle all purpose wormer such as Safeguard (fenbendazole).

Your hen sounds like an indiscriminate eater or may even have pica, the compulsion to eat things that aren't really food. You do need to restrict her access, for now anyway, to all but her feed and perhaps cooked egg. Yogurt in small amounts would be okay and the microbes can't hurt.

Worming is one thing you haven't tried, and it may just take care of the problem. If this doesn't resolve anything, then perhaps there's a more serious underlying issue such as tumors causing blockages.
 
You are as opposite of a terrible chicken mom as one could be. Disabuse yourself of that notion. Please.

In fact, you've done magnificently in trying sensible ways to try to treat your hen. By all means worm her. That's one of the common causes of slow crop. I suggest a gentle all purpose wormer such as Safeguard (fenbendazole).

Your hen sounds like an indiscriminate eater or may even have pica, the compulsion to eat things that aren't really food. You do need to restrict her access, for now anyway, to all but her feed and perhaps cooked egg. Yogurt in small amounts would be okay and the microbes can't hurt.

Worming is one thing you haven't tried, and it may just take care of the problem. If this doesn't resolve anything, then perhaps there's a more serious underlying issue such as tumors causing blockages.
Thank you so much for your quick reply and your kindness! I tend to beat myself up and I definitely need to work on that.

I’ll try worming next and see how that goes. Follow up questions:
Should I wait to worm until it’s not so hot here during the day, or will they be fine?
Do I need to keep her separate during all of this since she wants to just keep eating and eating the food that is out? The other two girls are not enjoying me restricting their usual all day access to the day’s feed rations. But then Henrietta is sad having to be in the garage in her dog kennel cage and not with the other girls.

Thanks again @azygous 🙌🏼
 
Can you find a place in the cool shade for the kennel so Henrietta can be with her pals? She will be much happier and less stressed, as you likely already know.

She needs to rest her crop from an onslaught of food and other questionable stuff only a garbage disposal should have to deal with. But she does need to keep the crop active as possible, and letting her have her regular feed or some cooked egg which are unlikely to aggravate her condition.

When you worm, give her electrolytes and a little extra sugar in her water. This will stabilize her body functions and keep any stress under control as worms start dying inside her. Safeguard works slowly, so a sudden large die-off shouldn't occur.
 
I’m so sorry to hear you are dealing with this. I have had two chickens in the past 6 months pass away after struggling with all these symptoms. I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to give you no hope, but I wanted to make sure you know that you have done everything that’s possible and that’s all you can do. I took both my girls to a vet and she gave me meds that help stimulate the crop muscles to contract more often to provide extra push…and it worked once and the second time it didn’t do anything. My vet said whenever the liquid is in the crop or doughy like that, the blockage is likely farther down in the digestive system and it’s extremely difficult and expensive to find the blockage and fix it and the best you can do is all the things you’ve done and pray it works. They start eating anything and everything because their not getting enough to eat…my sweet Newbell was eating and drinking until the very last day :-(. My vet also said that it is common in chickens with narrower frames to struggle more with impaction because there’s less room for all the things. Don’t feel at all like a terrible chicken mom, you have done so much for her and shown her so much love. I’m so sorry…give her lots of love and attention, try foods that are high fat like wet cat food, Greek yogurt, scrambled eggs…anything that can up her calories. And add Nutridrench to the food…mine eat it right up. My vet also had me crushing up papaya enzymes in the food or just mixing it with water and giving it orally. The enzymes help break up fiberous and weird foods that may be blocking the crop. Hugs, this struggle is hard and frustrating but know you are doing all that’s reasonable to do :-( ❤️
 
I’m so sorry to hear you are dealing with this. I have had two chickens in the past 6 months pass away after struggling with all these symptoms. I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to give you no hope, but I wanted to make sure you know that you have done everything that’s possible and that’s all you can do. I took both my girls to a vet and she gave me meds that help stimulate the crop muscles to contract more often to provide extra push…and it worked once and the second time it didn’t do anything. My vet said whenever the liquid is in the crop or doughy like that, the blockage is likely farther down in the digestive system and it’s extremely difficult and expensive to find the blockage and fix it and the best you can do is all the things you’ve done and pray it works. They start eating anything and everything because their not getting enough to eat…my sweet Newbell was eating and drinking until the very last day :-(. My vet also said that it is common in chickens with narrower frames to struggle more with impaction because there’s less room for all the things. Don’t feel at all like a terrible chicken mom, you have done so much for her and shown her so much love. I’m so sorry…give her lots of love and attention, try foods that are high fat like wet cat food, Greek yogurt, scrambled eggs…anything that can up her calories. And add Nutridrench to the food…mine eat it right up. My vet also had me crushing up papaya enzymes in the food or just mixing it with water and giving it orally. The enzymes help break up fiberous and weird foods that may be blocking the crop. Hugs, this struggle is hard and frustrating but know you are doing all that’s reasonable to do :-( ❤️
Thank you so much for your response and being so kind. I am sorry for your loss! It stinks when we do all the things we know and it’s just not enough to fix it. I wish vet services for our poultry friends wasn’t so expensive.

I am also worried like you said, that’s there a blockage or something else wrong down the line and that’s what’s causing all of this. I’ll for sure keep loving on her and giving her high nutrient foods and hoping the next remedies I try work 🤞🏼

I’ve learned a lot in my first year of chicken keeping! Thankful for this forum and the kindness and helpfulness of you all.
 
So sorry this is happening to your hen. I have dealt with a few crop issues and have always followed @azygous's advice.
My most recent situation was really tough but seems now to be resolved. A few things I did:
- massage - multiple times a day
- lubricated using coconut oil about twice a day
- gave her cellulase (it is an enzyme that attacks cellulose which is most likely what the blockage is physically made of and if liquid is getting through the cellulase will get to a blockage downstream from the crop. I think it is a similar idea to papaya
- kept her with the rest of the flock but separated so she couldn't eat everything in sight
- gave her sugar and electrolytes in her water so she didn't waste away entirely
- fed her scrambled egg and yoghurt as being unlikely to make the blockage worse

As others have said, you are NOT a bad chicken mom - this is very difficult stuff and you are doing all the right things.
 
Update!

I did the lemon juice and spices mixture for Henrietta for 3 days-twice a day and gave her scrambled eggs, some yogurt, and wet crumbles. Her crop seemed to be emptying easier with each day. I also finally got a custom crop bra that is holding it in the right place better. She is doing much better! She laid her first eggs few days ago in about a month!! So everyone is back to laying, even in hundred degree Texas heat! ☺️

I went ahead and wormed all three girls with Safeguard paste. We haven’t been eating the eggs, but I’ve seen conflicting info on the egg withdrawal. Any ideas?

Thank you all again for your help. I’m hoping with continued monitoring and care, Henrietta will keep getting better. 🙌🏼
 

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Two weeks egg withdrawal, but if you are consuming the eggs, not distributing them, you might elect to ignore it. It wouldn't hurt you, just may make it less effective next time YOU need worming.
LOL noted 🤣 Thanks again for all your help with this! Appreciate it greatly!
 

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