Impacted crop

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
622
191
Central Washington State
Hey there. I have a 8ish month old RIR that has impacted crop. Large, bulbous, I don’t think it’s pendulous yet. This is day 2, maybe three of her being like this. I noticed it yesterday(Monday), and today(Tuesday) it looked a little worse…. He swollen area was even across the front of her breasts, as opposed to more to one side like the day before. I’m assuming she ate a long piece of dried grass and it got lodged… we have a lot of cheat grass and similar stuff out here and when it dries out it’s like straw. The chickens normally don’t bother with it though.

She has an appetite and was eating pellet feed and foraging. Also drinking water, eating snow, and I saw her poop twice. She stayed closer to or inside the run today, closer than the rest of the flock during free ranging. This isn’t necessarily odd for her though, as she’s one of my least adventurous chickens. She seems to be acting normally, and her body language seems normal.

I want to help her if you can. I’m certainly not comfortable with doing home surgery. Ive read quarantining her in the house for a day or two, withholding food, providing water, and massaging the crop several times a day can help them pass whatever mass is blocking them up. Does that actually work?

I don’t want her to suffer, that’s for sure. If we can’t help her, my inclination is to butcher her so she doesn’t slowly become malnourished and die. My understanding is that this is generally what happens if impacted crop is left untreated…

I don’t know… who here has had success clearing an impacted crop, non surgically?!
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
622
191
Central Washington State
Also, here are some pictures. I’ve picked her up, and the area is all squishy. Not hard like a usual crop. But the mass doesn’t seem loose, or like it’s swinging around… so I don’t think it’s pendulous yet. I also don’t think it’s sour crop because there is no rank or odd smell coming from her mouth… and I would pick up on that right away because I’m pregnant and have a super nose 😂
 

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RoyalChick

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Nov 3, 2019
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Based on advice from others here with much more experience, I did the following for my girl and it really worked.
First give her some coconut oil. You can freeze little balls of it and pop a couple down her throat like a pill. It will melt and provide lubrication for whatever is stuck. Some chickens like eating coconut oil in which case there is no need to freeze it and treat it like a pill. But my little lady had got to the stage where she stopped eating.
Then massage her crop.
Give her a break and then repeat.
I did this every morning before daylight for about a week and I could feel the crop slowly reducing each day. Now she is fine.
She seemed to enjoy the massage and would dose off while I did it.
In massaging don’t squeeze it so there is any risk of it coming up to her throat and aspirating her but you need to be firm enough to break up the clogs.
I did it before daylight because I knew the crop was as empty as it was going to get on its own and because I can’t always catch her when it is the middle of the day.
I hope it works out for your hen.
:fl
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
622
191
Central Washington State
Based on advice from others here with much more experience, I did the following for my girl and it really worked.
First give her some coconut oil. You can freeze little balls of it and pop a couple down her throat like a pill. It will melt and provide lubrication for whatever is stuck. Some chickens like eating coconut oil in which case there is no need to freeze it and treat it like a pill. But my little lady had got to the stage where she stopped eating.
Then massage her crop.
Give her a break and then repeat.
I did this every morning before daylight for about a week and I could feel the crop slowly reducing each day. Now she is fine.
She seemed to enjoy the massage and would dose off while I did it.
In massaging don’t squeeze it so there is any risk of it coming up to her throat and aspirating her but you need to be firm enough to break up the clogs.
I did it before daylight because I knew the crop was as empty as it was going to get on its own and because I can’t always catch her when it is the middle of the day.
I hope it works out for your hen.
:fl

Thank you so much! I will try that first think tomorrow morning! I have read that some people quarantine them to make sure they’re not eating… maybe that’s so they can do the massage multiple times in a day?
I have lots of coconut oil(thanks Costco!), so I’ll scrape some out of the container when I go up to the coop in the morning.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
6 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,533
3,409
407
Portland OR
Thank you so much! I will try that first think tomorrow morning! I have read that some people quarantine them to make sure they’re not eating… maybe that’s so they can do the massage multiple times in a day?
I have lots of coconut oil(thanks Costco!), so I’ll scrape some out of the container when I go up to the coop in the morning.

It will depend on how she progresses. If she's become what I can only call addicted to eating hay/grass and other problematic items and it becomes a repeated performance, she will need to be managed for success. I had one such bird.

While you're trying to get their crops to decrease, it's important that they not continue to stuff more of anything in there. Water - as long as it moves through the obstruction and doesn't back up like a clogged sink and come back out thru the beak - is fine, as is of course the coconut balls. At least she's still got something moving through, so you may be able to solve it that easily.

The reason we separate them is to 1. know they're not adding anything else to the mess, 2. so we know what comes out the other end, 3. know for sure when the crop is really starting to come down.

Here's my favorite reference guide. Start with the conservative measures like coconut oil, i.e. don't go for the proverbial kitchen sink right off the bat. No need to treat for yeast unless she shows signs of a yeasty crop- because all treating for yeast does is get rid of the yeast... (all described in the below link).

https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...d-sour-crops-prevention-and-treatments.67194/
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
622
191
Central Washington State
It will depend on how she progresses. If she's become what I can only call addicted to eating hay/grass and other problematic items and it becomes a repeated performance, she will need to be managed for success. I had one such bird.

While you're trying to get their crops to decrease, it's important that they not continue to stuff more of anything in there. Water - as long as it moves through the obstruction and doesn't back up like a clogged sink and come back out thru the beak - is fine, as is of course the coconut balls. At least she's still got something moving through, so you may be able to solve it that easily.

The reason we separate them is to 1. know they're not adding anything else to the mess, 2. so we know what comes out the other end, 3. know for sure when the crop is really starting to come down.

Here's my favorite reference guide. Start with the conservative measures like coconut oil, i.e. don't go for the proverbial kitchen sink right off the bat. No need to treat for yeast unless she shows signs of a yeasty crop- because all treating for yeast does is get rid of the yeast... (all described in the below link).

https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...d-sour-crops-prevention-and-treatments.67194/

Thank you so much! That is all good to know and I will check that link out.

I was up working in their run for about 5 hours today while the crew free ranged. I kept a pretty close eye on her during that time, to observe her behavior. She’s always been shy/more reserved and antisocial with the other chickens. Maybe because she’s smaller than the rest. But I didn’t really see her eating any long grasses today. She was scratching for sprouts, eating snow, and would come back in to the run for food(pellets). She doesn’t yearn to be held, but generally hangs out near me. She does seem to be a little slower right now, as I was actually able to catch her this afternoon to feel her chest.

I will continue to monitoring her behavior, as we have some projects in the run to finalize our winter preparations. I will start with the massages and coconut oil, and then see how she does. I don’t think it’s yeast or sour crop(yet at least) because I smelled her mouth today and there was nothing off at all.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
6 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,533
3,409
407
Portland OR
Thank you so much! That is all good to know and I will check that link out.

I was up working in their run for about 5 hours today while the crew free ranged. I kept a pretty close eye on her during that time, to observe her behavior. She’s always been shy/more reserved and antisocial with the other chickens. Maybe because she’s smaller than the rest. But I didn’t really see her eating any long grasses today. She was scratching for sprouts, eating snow, and would come back in to the run for food(pellets). She doesn’t yearn to be held, but generally hangs out near me. She does seem to be a little slower right now, as I was actually able to catch her this afternoon to feel her chest.

I will continue to monitoring her behavior, as we have some projects in the run to finalize our winter preparations. I will start with the massages and coconut oil, and then see how she does. I don’t think it’s yeast or sour crop(yet at least) because I smelled her mouth today and there was nothing off at all.

Glad there's no yeast, that usually takes a longer period to develop as an issue. Hopefully it's just a one-off situation- the key is to see progress, i.e. that the crop is moving.

Do be careful when you pick her up, avoid any pressure on the crop. It's very easy to accidentally force a little liquid back up when they're full - which can lead to it going down the wrong pipe.

Also keep a close eye on her weight via her breast bone - they can start to rapidly drop weight over just a couple/few days because they are essentially starving themselves. While she may still forage and eat bits of this and that, if the crop doesn't empty, she's not getting much in the way of calories.

Fingers crossed it resolves quickly!
 

RoyalChick

Addict
Premium Feather Member
Nov 3, 2019
8,625
95,026
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Northern New Jersey
My Coop
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Thank you so much! I will try that first think tomorrow morning! I have read that some people quarantine them to make sure they’re not eating… maybe that’s so they can do the massage multiple times in a day?
I have lots of coconut oil(thanks Costco!), so I’ll scrape some out of the container when I go up to the coop in the morning.
I did take mine to a vet and she advised against separation because the stress could interfere with her recovery.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
6 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,533
3,409
407
Portland OR
I did take mine to a vet and she advised against separation because the stress could interfere with her recovery.

It largely depends on the individual bird. Here and there I'll have one that won't deal with being separated in a crate, though usually most don't mind. For the ones that go nuts in a crate, and for the later days of healing for the others, I made up a small (predator and weather proofed) run along the fence line to the main run - they still see and hear and visit the flock in a controlled environment, a great way to accomplish separation while minimizing stress. When dealing with an impacted crop, keeping them from stuffing still more in there is needed until it starts to empty. Days and days with an impacted crop lead to a starving bird- even as they're out there trying to act normal.
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
622
191
Central Washington State
It largely depends on the individual bird. Here and there I'll have one that won't deal with being separated in a crate, though usually most don't mind. For the ones that go nuts in a crate, and for the later days of healing for the others, I made up a small (predator and weather proofed) run along the fence line to the main run - they still see and hear and visit the flock in a controlled environment, a great way to accomplish separation while minimizing stress. When dealing with an impacted crop, keeping them from stuffing still more in there is needed until it starts to empty. Days and days with an impacted crop lead to a starving bird- even as they're out there trying to act normal.
Thats eventually my plan, to build a miniature coop and small run attached to the side of our current setup. My thought was I could use it in physical recovery situations like this(or if one hen needed to recover from excessive pecking), as well as use it for a brooding coop for new mamas and their eggs/babies. But I just haven’t had the time.

I have brought a chicken into a crate in the house before to recover from excessive pecking, for just 3 days. She honestly didn’t seem stressed at all, more grateful for a break from her harassers. This chicken could have a different reaction though, you never know. I’ll try without separating her first, and if there’s no noticeable progress, I’ll bring her inside.

I’ve seen that people put chickens into an epsom salt bath when they’re egg bound, to help relax their muscles. Would something like that potentially be effective in this case?
 

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