Every now and then I learn things the hard way. This week the price of my tuition almost cost the life of one of my beloved hens. I thought I was being a good farmer by applying practical, even enterprising, uses for the hay the goats were wasting. I happily tossed it to the chickens. They seemed overjoyed at their bounty and reduced it to nearly nothing in a matter of hours. All seemed right in our little world. Then I woke up to find one of the hens acting strangely. She was doing this head and neck bobbing thing. As she moved, her throat gyrated back and forth in a pendulous shimmy. It was as if she had trapped a liter of water in her throat. I searched online for the symptoms. I was suspicious about Sour Crop. Sure enough that is what it was, and as I began to palpate the hen's throat area I could feel a very large mass. It was easy to manipulate but ultimately it was still a mass. I was almost certain all the wonderful hay I'd been joyfully tossing into the chicken coop was now causing our problem. We have a wonderful veterinary hospital that sees all types of animals, even chickens. They were able to get us right in and it was determined that our hen needed surgery or she was not long for this world. She was already very thin and I cringe to think of how long she had the impaction before I noticed. We spend a lot of time with all of our animals everyday. We hold them and talk to them. They are our family. Why hadn't I seen this large bulge days earlier? Why did I miss the signs of this hen loosing weight? It was a long day as I waited by the phone praying for the Lord's will to be the same as ours and that our hen would be back home safe and sound again. When the call came that she had made it through the surgery just fine and that I could pick her up I was so relieved. So, this is the mass of Timothy grass hay that was lodged in the crop of the hen, it measures 5” x 3” x 2”. Our little hen is doing well. She has her own personal chef now and she gets to have really neat food like: rice, yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, and even scrambled eggs, every hour. She has decided that bananas are gross but crumbled-up bread is wonderful. She also gets to live in the house for the next couple weeks. Hopefully the other hens will be nice about letting her back into the flock.