hens crop...impacted?

beeliz(2)September 29, 2008

Please,,if someone knows how to help,I'd greatly appreciate ..one of my hens has been a bit lethargic,eats and drinks,but sits on the coop floor at night(unusual).I examined her today and her crop is full but kinda soft,yet firm.

like it's full of liquid?? I gave her some olive oil with warm water and a touch of apple cider vinegar to possibly help and messaged her. I don't know what else to do. Advise would be extremely helpful...no names mentioned .. (VELVET!!!)

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

If her crop is full of water...does she seem excessively thirsty? Watch her and note how much water she drinks. Any unusual poops? Excessive thirst + green poops could mean kidney or liver failure. Feel her keel (breastbone)--has she lost any weight?

You need to isolate her and determine if her crop is emptying. Put her in a small cage or somewhere indoors where she cannot possible get to anything to eat or drink. JUST FOR THE NIGHT, take away her food and water. When you do so, note the size of her crop. In the morning, check her again--her crop should be empty. If it ISN'T, then she isn't digesting properly. GIVE HER BACK HER FOOD & WATER REGARDLESS. If her crop is empty, well and good, she may just have a digestive upset (has she eaten or drunk anything unusual lately? Does she have access to long grass which can get would up in her crop?), and would benefit from a tablespoonful of plain yogurt with active cultures once or twice a day for about a week, and soft foods that are easy to digest.

If her crop has NOT emptied overnight, than she has a bigger problem. It could be an impacted crop or a sour crop.

Sour crop first: Is she barfing up any water? Pry open her beak and take a sniff--yeah, I know--is there a nasty smell? Nasty smell = sour crop, which is undigested food beginning to ferment or rot. An impaction could cause food to build up and go sour, or it could be caused by her digestion being off. Keep up with the ACV, olive oil and crop massage, but add in plain yogurt with active cultures, it'll help restore the 'good' bacteria to her gut.

My friend Alan has great info on impacted crops and how to treat. This link will lead you to his 'Articles' page, use the list on the left to scroll down to 'Impacted Crop'. Make sure and read BOTH methods--old & new--for all of the information:


He also has an article on 'Sour Crop' that is worth reading. He states that he no longer attempts to empty impacted crops as this has resulted in the death of several birds--so if you decide to do anything which involves helping your bird to regurgitate fluids/solids, do it carefully and with much forethought.

The following is from another chicken forum I'm on, this is NOT my experience, I haven't had to do this yet! But here it is, just FYI:

Here is more info on sour crop and how to treat:
Impacted Crop
By Alan Stanford, Ph.D.
Brown Egg Blue Egg
I Relied Upon Glenda L Heywood National Poultry News and
the The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow
Copied with Alan's permission From: http://www.browneggblueegg.com/ImpactedCrop.html

Impacted crops are not caused by your birds needing more grit. Grit is indeed necessary for birds that eat other than commercial feed; they need grit when they eat scratch grains, greens, and when they free range. Birds use grit in their gizzards to grind food; but the gizzard is far "downstream" from the crop. The crop is a kind of foyer into which all the food packs before moving into the digestive system.

Things that cause impacted crops are anything a bird eats that is too big to move into the digestive system. Some of these too big things are whole grain (especially for small birds), grapes, and greens. When free ranging birds eat greens they rip off small pieces and these pieces pass freely out of the crop. One way I caused impacted crops in our flock was letting the flock out on once long, freshly mown grass. They have no problem with long unmown grass because they can rip off little pieces. Long strands of fresh cut grass pile up in the gizzard and can't get out.

You need to flush and empty an impacted crop. You can use an eyedropper, a syringe without a needle, or a childs ear syringe. Be sure to put the dropper or syringe all the way back in the birdÂs mouth. There is a hole at the base of the tongue that leads to the birdÂs lungs. You must be way past that or you will damage your bird.

First Treatment

You can start by putting an eyedropper full of vegetable oil into the crop and then massaging the crop. This will soften the impaction. Put the dropper all the way back in the bird's mouth and slowly push out the oil. Any vegetable oil is good: olive oil, corn oil, or canola oil.


1/2-cup baking soda
1 pint of warm water

Fill the syringe and insert it as far as you can into the mouth of the chicken. Have someone hold the bird upright in front of you. Slowly and very gently fill the crop, do not over fill and get liquid into that hole at the base of the tongue. Gently press up under the chickenÂs breast and slide your hand up to the crop. This makes the bird open its mouth and the impacted mess will come out the bird's mouth. Push the contents up and out of the crop and out of the mouth. You can face the bird toward the ground to help empty the crop. Repeat this gentle stroking pressure until nothing comes up.

If there the crop is not empty, flush it again until it is empty.

Once the crop is empty, give another dropper of oil.

Coop the bird away from other birds so it can rest. Provide about a cup of water with 1 teaspoon terramycin dissolved in it. Give no feed.

Second Day

If the bird is droopy on the next day, put molasses in the birdÂs water for about four hours (1/4 cup per gallon of water). Remove the molasses water after four hours and give the bird fresh terramycin water. The molasses water will flush soured food from the birdÂs digestive system.

Follow Up Treatment

If the crop impacts again, repeat the flush.

Continue the terramycin for 7 days to avoid secondary infection.

After 24 hours, give only soft food for a week or so. This lets the inflamed and irritated crop recover and prevents another impaction.

The soft diet can include crumbles and chopped hard-boiled or microwaved eggs. You can feed bread if it is soaked in milk or buttermilk. Buttermilk is especially good because active culture buttermilk has good bacteria in it that help the birdÂs digestion.

Be sure to also give the bird some beneficial bacteria. They keep digestion going correctly and fight disease by crowding out disease bacteria. You can just mix 1-2 teaspoons per bird of ACTIVE culture yogurt with a small amount of food and give this as the only food until they eat it. You can also buy lactobacillus at health food stores, pharmacies, Wal-Mart, and Lake's Unlimited 800-634-2473.

Give no grains, no large pellets, no not soaked bread, and no grass or greens because these can cause another impaction. Feed only things that almost fall apart when wet.

Glenda Heywood likes to feed this for the week

1 slice wheat bread
1/2-cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons active culture yogurt with no artificial sweetener
Babyfood (or unsweetened) `apple sauce (as Barb recommends below).

Adding oil to the food will help avoid another impaction. Cod liver or wheat germ oil are good because they provide vitamins A, D, and E. Only add about 2% of the feedÂs weight.

Adding oil to the food will help avoid another impaction. Cod liver or wheat germ oil are good because they provide vitamins A, D, and E. Only add about 2% of the feedÂs weight.

Barb Silcott's Preventative and Followup Treatment
"If you have a bird that continually comes up with an impacted crop, once you've emptied the crop and start making your soft feed for it, add some baby food type applesauce. (Unsweetened regular applesauce should be as good.) The applesauce helps get the crop emptied a little quicker and is also acidic which helps with the bacteria problem."

"This works for sour crop, too. In fact, when we're hand-feeding parrots, we always add some baby food applesauce to the formula to prevent sour crop. Works great! With all the parrots I've hand-fed over the years, I've never had a case of sour crop. I specify baby food applesauce because it doesn't have any added sugar which just aggravates the problems."

Re: Sour Crop

Subject: Re: Sour Crop

I am new to this list, but I thought I would express
my opinion.

I had a 1 year old hen with a sour crop 2.5 weeks ago.
We had thrown alot of old yeast rolls out in the lots and then let
them free range that evening, the grass had just been mowed. Several
days later I noticed she wasn't eating and had lost alot of weight.

I did some quick research and this what I did. First
we held her and then tipped her forward, massaged her crop and forced
up a smelly white/yellow liquid. I had to do it 3-4 times to get
it all up. Make sure you let her up after each time to let her get
air, otherwise she will try to breath while puking and can suck the
liquid into her lungs. If this happens she will not survive. After
her crop is as empty as possible, use a laxative solution to get
things moving. I used 1 teaspoon of Epsom Salt in 1 fl oz water(I have
heard of people using vegetable oil: olive oil, corn oil, or canola
oil). I put it down her throat with a long eye dropper, make sure you
go past her breath hole. I did this twice using 1/3 of the
solution each time. Immediately after she wanted to eat. I put her on
very fine laying crumbles, later I added fine screened cracked corn. I
also added a mild antibiotic to her water to keep her from getting
a secondary infection. The next day there were 3 large piles of
poop, full of rotten grass. She was isolated, very mad, for a week
and grained over a pound of her weight back. She is back with the
other hens now and is getting fat again.

OK, me again. Hope this helps!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 8:23PM
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Velvet...I can't thank you enough,,that was AWSOME information..you're truly the best! xx I'll see what I can do,,,wish me luck,xo

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 8:47PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Thanks, but most of this info is thanks to other fabulous chicken people who kindly shared their information, I just copied & pasted it here. :)

Hope something in that wall o' text does the trick!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 10:12PM
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Sadly,I had someone come to check her and we had to euthianize her...she had a tumor growing on the opening of her crop...thanks for all your help anyways,,I appreciated it greatly.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 11:00PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Aw, shoot. :( Well, there was nothing to be done for her then, and you did the right thing. My vet tells me that chickens can fall prey to something on the order of 300 types of growths/tumors. I've lost four birds to tumors over the years--one was ovarian cancer which had spread throughout her body, one had a tumor at the base of her tail, two others had them in their abdomen. So it happens...

Sorry you lost her.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 9:06PM
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