Emergency - Sour or Impacted crop, I think...


7 Years
Mar 9, 2012
North Carolina
We have a bantam rooster that has been bossed around a lot by our standard rooster - over the past 2 months. So, I've been letting the little rooster out of the pen in the mornings and he spends his day free-ranging. The girls and other rooster join him in our large yard in the afternoons around 3pm. When the girls get out he does his best to hang out with them, although the standard rooster shoos him away from the group - he does hang around on the "outskirts" so to speak. He does roost at night in the coop with the girls and the other rooster. I should also add that I do leave food and water for him in the yard, since he can't get into the pen or coop.

The reason I give this back story, is because over the past week or so, Gypsy (our bantam roo) has been acting kind of strange. I attributed it to the colder weather this week, as I would see him standing in the yard, kind of hunched down, with feathers fluffed, but standing. As the temperatures warmed during the day, he seemed to get better, but in the three days or so, he seemed to do it more often throughout the day, so then I attributed it to him being "depressed" because he's not spending time with the girls.

Yesterday morning when I went to let him out, he was on the floor of the coop, barely able to stand. I put him in a box, with food and water and he willingly ate and drank of his own free will. I assumed that he was stressed and not eating...he drank a lot of water, even "vomited" some. When my daughter got home from school, she fixed him oatmeal and plucked clover for him which he ate. As the day went on, he didn't seem to get better with the food and water, so I started reading on here....

I checked his crop yesterday and it was swollen, soft and very squishy. Well, this morning it's hard as a rock, and he can't even stand up! Did we make him worse? What can I do? He won't even drink water this morning...

In another post, someone mentioned putting olive oil in his crop and massaging it. How do you do that? Squirt it in his beak? Won't he drown?
From what I've heard and read it's more or less impossible to get it into their lungs if you tube-feed them, which I would advise over just squirting it in because I've once managed to get it into a chook's lungs that way... Thankfully she survived, and it was the only time it happened out of hundreds of 'injected/squirted' olive-oil/ other concoction feedings..... I only give them extra virgin cold pressed olive oil because it's not heated so it won't clog them up like cooked oil can. I give about two flat tablespoons if I think they're blocked up in there somewhere. Some people reckon coconut oil, which would be best cold-pressed too, and that has greater energy/nutrience value than olive oil, which won't block him up so might be the better choice.

If you try giving him any oil, I'd use a disposable medicine syringe thingy, not sure what they're called, or anything you could attach a small piece of tubing onto to make sure you get it past the windpipe. There should be info on another thread somewhere on what sort of tubing is best.

It can be very important with diseases and even injuries in animals to take note of the poops; is he even doing any, are they healthy or sick, if sick then what are the specifics, etc... Also what's his general condition? From what you said he does sound like he is possibly blocked up. Has he lost a lot of weight? If you feel his abdomen area, is it shriveled, normal or enlarged/bloated? Is his temperature normal or too hot/too cold?
Thanks for the suggestions so far...

I don't pick him up often, but picking him up yesterday - my first thought was that he weighed almost nothing. I'm no professional by any stretch, but my gut is that he is very underweight. His poop yesterday was runny, but in shavings, it's hard to say how runny...He pooped this morning and it was also runny and very fowl smelling. His temperature is definitely too cold...Yesterday I put him in the sun, with no breeze, but today there's not much sun, so I put him under a heat lamp.

I just checked on him and if I had to wager a guess, he won't make it through the day...his breathing is very labored and he can't even hold up his head. When I just picked him up, he didn't even open his eyes...

My kids (and I) are so sad - he's our favorite little guy. Here's a picture of him with Maybelle, our white leghorn:
Sorry to hear that. He was a handsome chook.

If the poops smelled like a virus or fever or some malignant bacteria may be causing it, I'd boost your other bird's immune systems with garlic just in case. If they smelled like necrotising flesh or fermented feedstuffs too long in the bowel, then don't worry about the others. If you can bring yourself to do a post mortem, or know somebody who will, you may be able to find out what happened and prevent this happening again or treat it if it does. Too may diseases share symptoms, it's not easy.

Unpleasant suggestions, I know. Sometimes I haven't been able to follow my own suggestions, but in hindsight I wish I had. I'd be less ignorant, lose less birds.

Edit: had a close look at his picture and he looked really healthy, shiny feathered, bright eyed, good color. so you can rest easy knowing it wasn't your rearing that did it. A lot of chooks never get that red in the comb and wattles but are considered healthy, which I disagree with... Pink crest/wattles is not a sign of total health.
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