Hen drinking excessively, not eating, oddly shaped


12 Years
Jun 7, 2007
Central SC (recently central OK)
My 3 year old buff orpington hen, LuluBelle (Luby for short), was not feeling well a few weeks ago and wouldn't eat. I suspected she had perhaps an egg laying problem and would sneak her some meal worms a couple of times a day to get her some nutrition while she was getting over it (I had to sneak them as the other hens would have beaten her to them). She was happy to eat them and she recovered. While she was sick that time, her crop seemed pretty much empty. When she recovered she ate as usual and her crop became normal again. Now, just a few weeks later, she is sick again. This time she stands by the water dish and drinks continuously. When she tips her head down, the water just runs out from her mouth. She will not eat; even meal worms don't appeal to her. She did eat two grapes from my husband and we felt so thrilled. She has stuff in her crop but she does not smell sour, like an impaction (we did a crop surgery on another hen one time and well remember the sickening smell of sour crop). She poops liquid but that makes sense given that she drinks so much water and doesn't eat. My husband and I each independently thought that massaging her crop might dislodge something stuck but it just makes the water run out of her mouth. She has an odd bump about an inch below her bill, as though there is a kink or swelling in her esophagus. I felt some of the other hens and didn't think they had anything odd in that spot. My husband felt the swelling and says he doesn't think it's the cause of her problem but we are really at a loss. Luby is a very sweet little hen, she loves to be held and I feel so sad for her. I know it's a long shot, but does anyone have any ideas or experiences to share? We are thinking of trying to pass a soft feeding tube (that I have for tube feeding sick ducks) down to her crop to see if there in an obstruction there at that bump spot (the bump is maybe a little smaller than walnut sized). Has anyone done a tube down a chicken? Is there anything we should know? Also, is there anything we could tube into the crop that might be helpful? Thanks for your thoughts. I hate to separate her as she does seem to want to be in whatever area the other chickens are in and no one picks on her.
-Chick Mom in OK


12 Years
Apr 6, 2007
My compliments on your dedication to your Luby. I have no answers for you
but would like to offer encouragement to keep going.

If you have the skills and the stomach for it your tube idea sounds goods.
It may be a blockage, absess, or tumor. Good luck with it and keep us posted.

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