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impacted crop, huge,hard,not responding to treatment

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Gloria's Gang, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Gloria's Gang

    Gloria's Gang In the Brooder

    Apr 22, 2009
    Atkinson, NH
    My 1 1/2 year old Cochin hen has an impacted crop. It is softball size and very hard. This has been on going for a couple of weeks. I am giving her vinegar water, olive oil and cod liver oil. She still wants to eat. I have her in a large crate in the garage now. Spoke with a vet and they agreed that the cost is too much. I am not sure if I can go through with the home surgery described here. She does still eat and poops but not as much as she should. I have withheld food since yesterday. Don't want to cull her. Should I put her back in with her coop mates and just let her be? She doesn't appear to be in pain but I know this is bad.

  2. I read about mixing baking soda and water and putting it with an eyedropper into the back of the throat so it goes into the crop. Massage it and turn the hen gently upside down and work it up through the mouth. It also says to be sure you don't let them try to look upward as the solution could get aspirated. I would keep her seperate until she is better. Good Luck and I hope you can free it up for her.
  3. marymac

    marymac Songster

    Jul 12, 2008
    Northeast Ohio
    I have just been reading about this problem myself. My BLRW hen died yesterday and from what I am reading I think that is what she died from. I wasn't familar with this problem and by the time I had noticed her behavior the next morning she was dead. I have read that massaging their crop to breadk up the hard mass helps too. Have you tried that? It says you can do that several times a day. Hope she makes it for you. [​IMG]
  4. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    An impacted crop needs to be treated, or the bird should be culled. Allowing her to slowly starve to death is cruel. I am sorry to say it so bluntly, but it is a fact.

    Sorry you are in this situation. Poultry keeping isn't always easy. Good luck.
  5. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    I agree with the above post- if it is an impacted crop- treat or cull, not much middle ground. Massage and adding various snake oils and liquids can help if the mass is hard food materials, clay, gravel ect- but won't do much if it is a grass matt/hay which it usually is. Making the hen 'vomit' *might* help for sour crop, but this is dangerous- as they will often aspirate material.

    The surgery is fairly low tech- call around, see if you can find a vet who will do it inexpensively (ie in your budget) or an experienced chicken friend who will do the home job. Surgery early on is the best chance for the bird, don't wait until they are 2/3 starved to death- as then the surgery is much harder on them and harder for them to recover as well.
  6. Gloria's Gang

    Gloria's Gang In the Brooder

    Apr 22, 2009
    Atkinson, NH
    I agree with everything you are saying. I have been massaging, etc. She is eating and pooping some but not sure how much nutrition she is taking in. Also, her continuing to eat without dissolving the mass is just going to make it worse. I have a call in to a seasoned poultry person who I hope will help me do the surgery. The vet I spoke with actually didn't talk me out of the surgery. Just said that is what they would do and chickens are pretty hardy. Keeping infection at bay afterwards is key. I am hoping to get some assistance and attempt the surgery. I think it is our only chance. I also spoke with the MSPCA and they would euthenize her for a small donation. These are my pets and I am not prepared to cull any of them myself even though I know this may be the outcome. Thank you all for your support. I will keep you posted.
  7. AnnainMD

    AnnainMD Songster

    Feb 1, 2010
    Eldersburg, MD
    Gloria's Gang, I did the surgery on 12/23 and she did AWESOME. Actually, my husband did the actual surgery since I had pneumonia, but I held her down.

    I had her in the house, water only for 3 days. Day 3, mass was WAY softer and smaller, poop was essentially a jet of water coming out of her. I tried giving her some food and checked her crop first thing in the AM, hard as a rock AGAIN. MIL was coming that afternoon and time was a wastin'.

    I had ordered an absorbable suture kit and veterinary version of superglue from Amazon, arrived in one or 2 days (which was great since the estimated delivery was AFTER Christmas).

    I have to say, once we opened the crop, I realized there was NO way massaging or oil was going to work. Oh god, the SMELL was FETID. The crop was full of close to a cup's worth of repulsiveness: a mix of grass, maybe hay, old food, the food I gave her, dirt. The smell, I cannot describe to you the smell. None of my patients have ever smelled this horrible. Anyway...used absorbable sutures for the crop and non-absorbable for the skin. Almost NO blood, I was really surprised.

    My husband kept rinsing out the crop and it kept coming out this brownish, greyish fluid. Finally it started rinsing clear water and the scooper tool we were using came out clean.

    We used very clean technique, saline to rinse, had a real scalpel, alcohol to sterilize the equipment, gloves. I did NOT have antibiotics and was very worried the mess in the crop would cause an infection.

    Post-op care:
    Please note I avoided grit for the first 6-7 days after the surgery, relying on soft foods. Chick starter is GREAT, no grit needed, just saliva.
    Checked every AM to make sure crop was still small and not distended.

    Immediately made her NPO (nothing by mouth).
    Within an hour gave her water with infant liquid vitamins and sugar. She stayed hunched and still all afternoon (poor thing).
    POD#1: Changed her water for fresh (still vitamins and sugar). No food. Much perkier. Comb and wattles reddening.
    POD#2: Water (vitamins and sugar). WAY more lively, red comb and wattles. Gave her a little yogurt, ate it all up. She seemed annoyed by the yogurt sticking to her beak.
    POD#3: Yogurt and eggs, not too interested in the 2nd attempt at eggs, moistened bread. No more sugar in water.
    POD#4: Brainstorm!! Bought chick starter (non-medicated), she looked at that bowl and the expression said "Now THAT'S food!" Seriously, ate it all up before bed.
    POD#5-7: Chick starter. POD#7, gave her grit.
    POD#8: Let her out for an hour with the other girls, no pecking noted. She was eating grass and making me nervous. I put her back in her crate and she was TICKED OFF. Man if a chicken ever gave me an evil look, that was it.
    Evening: I put her back in the coop with the rest. Two weeks away from the flock and it was like she was never gone (thank goodness).
    She's acting like her old self. Let's hope it keeps up, I'm not doing it again!

    It's doable if you realize the only other choice is to let her starve to death (not an option for me) or cull her (last option!). Be VERY clean and gradually introduce food. I still check her each day and watch her to make sure she's feeling okay.

    I had introduced Flock Block the week before the impacted crop and I think that's what did it. I think she went on a feeding frenzy, needless to say the Flock Block is gone.

  8. Southern Bee Lady

    Southern Bee Lady Songster

    Jan 2, 2009
    Upstate SC
    I have done crop surgery on one of my hens twice. It's been over a year and have not had to do it again.
    It was harder on me than the chicken but it is something most people can do. It surprised me how easy it was on the hen. I did it by myself but it will be a lot easier if you have someone to help.
    You can get dissolvable sutures with a curved needle from most vets offices. I got mine from a local horse/farm supply store.
    This makes stitching a lot easier.
    You can get store brand betadine reasonably priced at Walgreens, CVS etc.
    If you have any questions about what and how I did it, please email me.
  9. Gloria's Gang

    Gloria's Gang In the Brooder

    Apr 22, 2009
    Atkinson, NH
    Wow! This sounds very encouraging! So you gave her nothing but water for a couple of days before the surgery? Did she lay still? How was she held down? Did you shave/pluck the feathers around the area? I remove all of my kids and DH's stitches and have watched surgical procedures before. I know I can handle it but I'm afraid she will be in a lot of pain. I can't help but think the alternative at this point will be death so I think it will be worth a try. I will check with my vet or order the surgical kit tomorrow and recruit a helper. Thank you for your help.
  10. ipana

    ipana Songster

    Jan 10, 2010
    Good for you, Gloria's Gang, in being willing to go to all extremes to help your hen. I've done the surgery on my hen for sour crop and while I don't recommend it as the first course of therapy, it certainly is worth the try as the last resort. Impacted crop would be harder to try to overcome since nothing can be forced out by getting the bird to vomit. Please keep us posted on this as we all love to hear success stories. After the surgery for my hen, I gave her penicillin by a needle into the breast muscle. I believe it called for 3 days. That helped her a lot, I believe. You can get penicillin at the farm stores and it's relatively inexpensive. I used a 22g needle. She didn't even flinch. Check the label for the amount to use for the weight of your bird if you're going to give. It's quite a small dose.

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