Our girl Ophelia has an impacted crop. Again. About a month ago, I noticed that Ophelia, one of our year-old Ameraucanas, had a classic impacted crop: Baseball-sized, felt like modeling clay, and she was moving her head side-to-side, like she was trying to swallow. We took her to the vet, and a few days later, the vet performed crop surgery, extracting a yucky mass of straw. Ophelia did well. Recovered beautifully. We kept her out of the pen for the next week, feeding her yogurt and cooked carrots and pellets softened in warm water and made into mash. Her crop eventually shrunk down to normal. (Lots more details on our blog, here: http://oneblockdiet.sunset.com/2008/06/crop-failure-on.html) She went back in the coop. Fast-forward to today. Her crop is definitely re-impacted. And she's doing the side-to-side head thing. (I felt it first thing in the morning.) We're going to get rid of every last bit of straw hanging around in their yard, that's for sure, but what do we do now? Is she always going to have an impacted crop? Will this just keep recurring? She's still laying, about every other day, which is normal for her, so she has to be getting some nutrition. I'm feeding her yogurt too, but I'm afraid to put oil down her throat, because I don't want to get it in her windpipe. I'm not sure if we want to go back to the vet the surgery cost $300 the first time, plus a $50 office visit. Should I just isolate her and give her soft foods and massage the crop, in the hopes that it will empty? Or is that a lost cause at this point? I'm at the point where I'm thinking about doing the crop surgery myself. Also, I've recently read some vehement stuff against using straw in coops. I talked extensively to the woman at our local feed store, as well as a chicken expert who's been raising them for 20+ years, and they've always used straw to keep their coops smelling sweet and to give the birds something to scratch around in. We're going to switch to pine shavings, since we obviously have a straw-eater, but none of our other five chickens have had any problem with the straw in their yard. What's the scoop? Thanks, everybody. Any advice is much appreciated.