maybe empacted crop? need advice.


11 Years
Dec 7, 2008
Some of you may remember me, others may not. We have had pet chickens for close to 10 years or so and my family and I know an extensive amount about chicken care, health, etc. Our chickens are free range and are very spoiled. We have a oil heater for them in the winter and a big fan in the summer and it their coop is cleaned every weekend or every other weekend (depends on how much time they spent in the coop vs. outside)

We have a hen that's about 2 or 3 yrs old. About 3 weeks ago, we noticed that she had a bulge in her crop that wouldn't go away. We went and got some wormer for chickens and gave it to her for 2 weeks like the bottle said/kept her separated from the others/didnt eat her eggs. Then yesterday I noticed that the bulge was getting bigger and I felt of it and it's very hard, almost like she has a tumor or something but she's not showing any other signs, she's still eating, pooping, drinking, active, etc. We love her and she's one of our favorite ones and I don't want her to die. What could be wrong and also we can't afford to take her to the vet and get a battery of tests done on her. Any advice? BTW, I tried ACV before I tried the wormer, gave it to her for about a week straight, it did nothing at all in the way of helping her.

Does she have a good amount of grit or oyster shell - and are you sure she's eating it? Sometimes I sprinkle a little whole oats over my oyster shells to make sure all the birds take some in, just in case. Besides that the next step would be lubrication - have you tried giving any kind of oils over her feed, or just by themselves? My chickens will gobble up oil like it's going out of style.

Next would be surgery. If she's eating and drinking fine she must be passing something through. You sure it doesn't go away? Have you checked her first thing in the morning ever before she gets out to eat? I would take her off of free range until it goes down so you know what she's eating, how much, etc. and can keep a closer eye on it. good luck! There are some very great posts on this thread about crop surgery if that's what it comes to - many vets don't treat chickens so a lot of even beginner chicken owners have to do the surgery themselves and thankfully many have shared their experience including photos.
Check her in the morning, before she eats. If her crop is big, before she eats,

then you can treat for impacted crop. We used olive oil and water mixed together

in a bottle (half water, and half olive oil) Mix it, shake it well, Take a syringe and add

drops of it on the 'curve' of her beak so she will swollow it on her own, and she wont choke.

After a few trys with that, GENTLY massage her crop. Gently please, you DO NOT want to push it all

up and make her choke. Try this for a few days. Somtimes it works, somtimes it don't. some people

even have to turn to cutting the crop open and empying it. Remember, they should have grit

to help them with these things. Do you have grit down for them/over food?
Last edited:
I just buried one of my birds who had the impacted / sour crop issues.
We tried all the rememdies suggested on BYC. She got a little better, but never right.

We did not do the surgery. We were not up to trying it ourselves.
Surgery by a vet in this area will run $250 - $300.

Some people who have had the surgery done - - have never had a problem again.
Others, have seen the birds get the impaction again.

Good Luck with your battle. I hope you have better success than I did.
Thanks for the advice everyone. We are not letting her out free range, we have her separated in one of those dog cages (the kind you get at walmart). Yes, we do give our chickens oyster shell and grit daily along with scratch grain and different table scraps. We have given this particular hen a lot of scrambled eggs to give her the protein she needs as she's not getting out free range until she's better. No, I've checked her crop first thing in the morning and it wasn't better, still the same size all day. She is eating grains and grit so I know that something is passing through there, she seems healthy other than this problem. I'll try the water and olive oil thing and let you guys know how it goes. I just don't want her to die because my family and I love her.
This is the link to the thread when one of my hens was having the same issue. There are a few really good posts you might want to read.

I took my girl to the vet and he did surgery the same day. She recovered very quickly and is doing great so far. She was very, very thin by the time I noticed she had a problem. I checked her today and she feels like she is really getting her weight back. She started to lay again within days of getting back out with her flock. She had not been laying for many months.

Wanted to add: The vet didn't do any extra tests. X-rays, etc. were offered, but not needed to empty the crop. It was still a big expense for a chicken, but she is one of my favorites and had a lot of fight in her.
Last edited:
Impacted crop, can be serious but the fact that she's pooping tells us that for now, some of her food is getting through so that's good. I'm no expert but I have dealt with impacted crops so I'll tell you what I know.

You've got to break up that impaction. Take her food away for 24-36 hours, give her olive oil a few times during that time and massage it in (you can mix the oil with a small amount of yogurt or babyfood if she won't take it by itself). You want to mix the oil into the lump in her crop by gentle massaging. But don't massage downward or upward, just gently knead it like dough, mixing in the oil to soften the lump. Make sure she has lots of fresh water, water is important right now. Taking her food away may feel mean but it's important to do, it gives her crop a chance to 'catch up'. The oil and massage during this time helps break up the impaction so her crop can move it.

See if her crop has emptied after the 24 hours. If it has, slowly begin feeding her soft foods only (plain yogurt, babyfood, applesauce etc) for a day or two, making sure the crop empties by mornings. Then slowly introduce her regular feed and keep monitoring her crop for several mornings.

If her crop hasn't emptied after the 24 hours, give her a liquidy food diet (no grains) like plain yogurt/babyfood/applesauce, but not too much at a time. Small amounts several times a day, we don't want to stretch out the crop. Keep giving her the oil and massage it in good, and make sure she has water at all times. Water will also help loosen the impaction. It may take a few days but the impaction should start softening and moving out. Also, mushed up tomato (no peels, VERY mushed and liquidy) is supposed to be excellent for breaking down fibery impactions caused by grass, hay, straw etc.

I'm currently dealing with a crop impaction too and it took a week for her crop to fully empty. Mine was still pooping like yours so we knew some food was getting through. That's why you want liquidy soft foods, they can go around the impaction and she'll get nutrition. Solid foods just sit on top of the impaction, making the crop bigger and giving no nutrition .

Oh I wanted to add, some people don't like giving their birds a lot of oil. You can use oil/water mixed (like ScissorChick suggested) to massage into the crop if you choose. I've done it that way too.

Hang in there, and please let us know how she does.
Last edited:
Thank you so much for the advice. I forgot that her to add that her crop is stretched and the skin is red and looks irritated which concerns me a lot. Any advice about that?
I'm going to be doing all this tomorrow and will definatley keep you guys posted on how she does.
Thanks for your help so much!!!!!!!!
Last edited:
There was someone that posted "crop the size of a baseball" and they show the video of how they did the surgery. It was done extremely well!!! You may want to watch it just in case you decide to do the surgery. It is also on youtube. I had to stitch my chicken's crop (about 1 1/2 inches) because of a hawk attack 3 weeks ago and she has been doing well ever since. I hope your chicken gets better soon.
Last edited:
I can't say this will help but if she's eating give her some "insoluble grit" not oyster shell. Take her off other feeds. Just give her the grit and nothing else except water for a day or two.

Some time ago I had a hen that looked like she was throwing up. Stuff dripping or draining from her mouth. Crop felt mushy. I made sure they all had alot of "insoluble grit" , label name is "Gran i Grit". This is granite and not digestible.

One thing about this is that when you feed your hens lettuce and grasses and other things they need this type of grit to digest or grind these things up in the crop. When they don't have it it can lead to stuff just sitting there and not getting ground up in the crop.

They may not get enough gravel in the yard so this type of grit should be given on demand in the coop and outside in dishes/tubs or whatever. I sometimes toss some in the feed bin as well. I have a small dish pan inside the run that I like to keep full of this type of grit for when I give them greens. Scratch and BOSS are other things they will need this type of grit for. I think I over did it with the scratch grains and that led to my problem.

After I refilled their pan noticed that she recovered. So make sure that your hens have a constant supply of this grit. Like I said they may not get enough gravel in the yard to help grind up grasses and grains that they eat or are fed.

Hope your hen recovers

Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom