Impacted crop sugery, CHECK!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 27, 2010
I have not posted on this site for a few years, though I relied on it heavily when I first started my chicken adventure. We've owned chickens for about 6 years now and have had our share of issues. But, yesterday, my vet and I preformed impacted crop surgery! I have to tell someone that will appreciate this. So, here I go (and I am a bit worried).

Mrs. Nelson is a 2-3 year old easter egger that lays a pretty green/blue egg 4-6 times a week. She's got a huge personality and is almost a wheaten color. She's always seemed to have a pendulous crop and is a great eater. We have a nice coop with 12 hens that we allow to free range when we are home. Although we saw no behavior changes in Mrs. Nelson, I did notice that she seemed to have a bald spot on her chest. Worried she was injured, I caught her and figured out immediately that she had an impacted crop. It was it softball sized, rock hard and a little warm. The bald spot was from the skin stretching over the gigantic crop. I did try olive oil and massage, but it didn't make a dent. I looked up the surgery and sent my vet friend and email telling her I was going for it. She (thankfully!!!) suggested that I bring the hen in and we do the surgery together.

O.M.G. The stink!!! The GIANT pile of crap! So disgusting. I was the holder, vet was the cutter, stuff grabber and stitcher. Mrs. Nelson was none the worse for wear and I brought her home. We took a pic of what we thought the final "pile" was, but then we flushed and a pile of equal size was pulled out. I will never forget that smell. It was mostly grass or hay and juicy garbage.

After we got her home, Mrs. Nelson drank a bit, but was very stressed in the cage. Pacing, clucking, head banging. I let her loose in the garage and she found a corner to hang her head in. She looked awful. My husband and I weighed the issues and opened the door. She immediately took a sun bath, a dust bath and started preening the blood off of her feathers. She drank more water when her buddies came out of the run. We were pretty excited. Here's where I think that I screwed up- I offered some scrambled egg and chick starter. I now understand that this was TOO SOON. Given her stress level when isolated, I let her sleep in the coop last night.
This am, her crop feels squishy and was easy to find. I brought her and a buddy into the garage for the day (Her buddy is ****** off) because I had to go to work. Mrs. Nelson was very hungry, so I gave her some chick starter with yogurt. She was pecking at the bag of scratch (didn't get any) and complaining loudly when I left.

Did I totally screw up?? I'm worried that she has sour crop now. I'll get her a watermelon on the way home (to keep her hydrated) and will keep up with small meals of yogurt mixed with starter. But I understand now that I should have waited 24 hours to feed her anything. My vet is a small animal vet and had never heard of this surgery before. Clearly it was Mrs. Nelson's only hope, so she's not worse off than before. But, I'll be really disappointed if made matters worse.


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