Author Topic: Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.  (Read 26692 times)

Sharon Yorks

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I noticed last night that one of my 16 month-old hens had a large ball-shaped crop, so being fairly new at this, I tried searching the Internet for answers. I gather that this is somewhat normal at night, but it didn’t go away by morning like most of the articles said, so now I am a bit concerned that it could be a soured crop (or impacted) that won’t pass on its own. If someone could help shed some light on this, I would really appreciate it. This is what I have done so far:

I’ve taken her food away and put her in a pen by herself, hoping her body would digest more of it. I’ve massaged the lump (it’s a little squishy but firmer than I think it should be – not sure) several times. I just took her out a food mixture of: 4 tbs of plain non-fat yogurt, 1 tbs of apple cider vinegar, & 1 raw egg. I mixed that together. It was a little runny, but after I sprinkled the top with little pieces of egg shells, she dove right in and kept eating. I figured the vinegar and yogurt would help with digestion and the egg would help give her some nutrition and pass easy.

What else can I do? And please tell me if I shouldn’t do what I am doing. She acts okay as far as not being lethargic - I caught it soon, but she sometimes makes a funny neck movement like she’s trying to move the lump or it’s uncomfortable. Any thoughts?

Sharon
Sharon Yorks
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greeneggsandham

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 06:07:02 PM »
Yeah, I\'ve had some experience with impacted or sour crops.  I\'ve done two successful crop surgeries over the last few years also.

First, I\'d make sure she is able to pass food.  Are her droppings sufficient and normal?  Is she losing weight? If her droppings are fine and not losing weight, she likely will be just fine. I have some hens that have what seems to be a permanent mass about golf ball size in their crops.  Seems to feel like dough or clay.  This doesn\'t seem to bother them and they tend to localize the mass and carry on.  

Now, if your hen is losing weight and her crop is the size of a softball and feels like it is full of liquid that doesn\'t go down overnight, that could mean a blockage.  I haven\'t had much success with removing blockages except with surgery.  If there is not any liquid sitting around in the crop, then you could try to break up that doughy mass over time.  You could also try putting a little mineral oil in the crop, then massaging.  Her neck movements do mean that she is trying to move that mass or localize it and get it out of the way.  
If it doesn\'t feel like clay or doughy, it is likely wadded grass or hay, straw, feather\'s, etc., and you can tell by feeling it.  That\'s not likely to pass.  

If she is blocked somewhere further down the line, there isn\'t much you can do except try to get plenty of liquids in her to hopefully move the blockage.  I had a cockeral once with a lower intestinal blockage.  I kept filling his crop with liquids (crop tube) to keep his strength up and after a week this mass was protruding out the other end, which I had to help birth.  About 8 inches of wadded hay came out.  Needless to say, I no longer raise young ones on hay yet I still get one every year that finds something to block them up.  I think I\'m going to increase the feeders in the grow out pen this year and see if it helps.
Sharon
Hubby rues the day he brought the chicks home...

Mike Gilbert

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012, 06:15:24 PM »
I don\'t think I have ever had to deal with this problem.  But then I always make sure they have free choice granite grit in front of them, which is needed to grind the food.   Sharon, I don\'t think you have much choice except surgery as described above if the crop does not reduce in size over night.

Sharon Yorks

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012, 07:13:51 PM »
The lump is about the size of an orange and is more squishy now than it was this morning. Maybe because I\'ve been massaging it a lot. But it hasn\'t gone down any. All she\'s had to eat (I took all of her food away) all day is the liquid yogurt combo I made her this morning and a little more later this afternoon with a little olive oil in it. Would olive oil work the same as mineral oil, and if so, do you just squirt it (how much) down there throat? It\'s snowing real bad right now or I\'d go get some mineral oil.

Her dropping have been very minimal today. This just started a day or two ago, so I caught it very quick. She hasn\'t lost any weight (she\'s the largest and heaviest hen I have) and acts fairly normal. She didn\'t lay today. She IS drinking water. Did you do the surgery for this? What\'s the procedure? Have you ever heard of leaning them forward and trying to work the stuff up and out of their mouth? If you are real familiar with this, maybe (if you wouldn\'t mind) I can talk to you tomorrow on the phone if she isn\'t doing any better. I REALLY don\'t want to lose this one.

Sharon  
Sharon Yorks
Mark 11:23

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jeeperspeepers-r4us

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2012, 07:50:13 PM »
I have had 2 hens do this, The first ate hay and had a compacted crop, I did surgery and pulled out 2 lb of wet hay. It would have never gone through her. The crop was hard like a tennis ball She recovered very nice. The 2nd had  squishy crop caused by ph imbalance, I mineral oiled her over & over, to keep food moving. I gave her everything to change the ph that was suggested to do. I also drained it by tubing her over & over.  I read on another site to withhold food for 3 day and then put on yogurt only. Every thing I did was to no avail. The crop was huge everyime I let her eat. It stretched out and would not go back to the orginal size. I made a crop bra to hold it up.I think she ate a mouse that caused the problem.
She never recovered to be productive again.
What ever you do, do it quickly, so that it doen\'t stretch out and not go back to size.

greeneggsandham

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2012, 08:30:15 PM »
Well, can you feel a solid mass in her crop or is it all squishy liquid?  Squishy with no mass, I would try jeepers suggestion for a few days.  The feed is likely fermenting in her crop because it can\'t pass.  You can empty the crop and try the remedy for restoring ph, but I\'d have to tell you how I empty it and some people would advise against it.  But I agree with jeepers, don\'t let that crop get too stretched out.  
And I use a crop tube to dispense liquid in their crops.  I would be hesitant to try squirting anything down any other way or it could go in their lungs.  That airway opening is somewhere in that beak.  I\'m not sure where.  Someone else may be able to advise with that.   You can pm me if you want to discuss it.  I see if I can find the site with crop surgery help also.
Sharon
Hubby rues the day he brought the chicks home...

greeneggsandham

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2012, 08:56:39 PM »
Now here is a thread on how to handle an impacted crop without surgery.  If the mass in her crop feels doughy, it might work.  If it feels like wadded up hay or grass, it may not work.  Also, you will not be able to expel the wad via her beak, only sour feed will come out that way.  Anyway, I suggest flushing out her crop prior to trying this treatment.  You have to have a crop tube or a syringe that you can get down her throat though to dispense the liquid.  The feed is likely thick and sour and what you are going to do is liquify it so it can be removed easily.  If their method doesn\'t get rid of all the squishy stuff,  email me and I\'ll tell you my method.

http://happyhenhouse.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=natural&action=display&thread=5257
Sharon
Hubby rues the day he brought the chicks home...

Sharon Yorks

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2012, 09:03:46 PM »
It\'s a lot more squishier now. This morning it was firm and like a soft ball toward the right. Now it more like a double handful of mush, more in the center. I got to thinking about having penned her up by herself this morning in a 2.5 x 5 pen. I\'m thinking maybe it would have be better if she moved around to help pass it. I brought her into my garage so she could walk around. She did a little, but no poop. I turned her upside down to see if she had any blockages...you know, under there. No blockages, but she threw up all down my leg. It looked like the yogurt she ate today. She didn\'t gag or anything, so I don\'t think it hurt her or got into her lungs. I watched a few crop surgeries on Youtube. I could do that if I needed to, but I\'m thinking it\'s more like sour crop or something of that nature. If it isn\'t down in the morning... at least more than it is now, I\'ll give her some oil and get her to moving more. I\'m not sure if I should start her on antibiotics or not. Some sites say this (if its sour crop) can turn into an infection and/or be caused by one.  --Sharon
Sharon Yorks
Mark 11:23

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Sharon Yorks

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2012, 09:08:59 PM »
Thanks for the flushing information. I didn\'t see your post until after I posted mine. Where do I get a crop tube? Is that something TSC would have?

Sharon
Sharon Yorks
Mark 11:23

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greeneggsandham

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2012, 10:16:26 PM »
Well, that\'s good that her crop somewhat emptied, even if it was accidently.  Does it smell sour or like bread?  That\'s what I was going to recommend, turn her upside down and gently squeeze to empty it.  But you have to do it correctly or it could get in her lungs.  Her breast should be toward you, head down, and you can\'t keep them upside down and the food flowing for more than 10 seconds.  Then turn her up and let her catch her breath.  Then repeat.  Just do it a few times and let her rest.  When the squishy stuff is out you should be able to tell if there is a mass in there or not.  If she is blocked somewhere, crop or otherwise, she will continue to \"fill up\" her crop and it won\'t empty overnight.
Sharon I\'m not sure where to get a crop tube.  Someone else on here might know.  I improvised.  I had some IV tubing here at the house and made one out of that.  It works great with a small syringe.  From what I have read, some use a small syringe and put it far back in the beak down the crop opening which is on the left corner of the chickens mouth IF the chicken is FACING YOU.  I have my hubby hold the chicken and gently straighten  the neck a bit while he holds the head and I open the beak with one hand while inserting the tube with the other.  Keep a hold of the tube and chickens head or they can shake it out.  Then I insert the liquid with a syringe via the tube.  If you have a vet who knows you, you might be able to get them to sell you the IV tubing.  I had a cat I had to administer fluids to, so I had plenty of the fluid bags and IV tubing here.  They are usually packaged separately.  
Oh, and I wouldn\'t do the antibiotics just yet.  You may have to do surgery and then you will need antibiotics.  First thing you need to determine is if she has a blockage somewhere or not.  Sour crops usually happen because of a blockage.  So I would treat for sour crop first, see if that helps.  If it continues, she is blocked somewhere.  If it\'s in the crop you will be able to feel it.  If not and it\'s further down, nothing to do but try to flush it out by giving her lots of liquids, olive oil, etc., to lubricate the blockage.  Hopefully, some of the liquid would be able to pass through.
If you do surgery, I can give you a few tips.
Sharon
Hubby rues the day he brought the chicks home...

Sharon Yorks

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2012, 10:47:46 PM »
Sounds like I might need to treat this somewhat like colic. I\'ve had horses do that and we tubed them. I\'m sure I can find a tube that will work. I think I\'m getting a better grasp of the situation with all of the great advice given. My girls are so great to work with. Ha! I may even try giving her an enema  :stare: I bet you\'d like to hear how that turns out! I\'ll keep you updated.

Hopefully this post may help others recognize issues if it happens to them. I\'m very thankful for this forum and everyone who tries to help.  

Sharon  
Sharon Yorks
Mark 11:23

(Don't tell God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big your God is!)

Tailfeathers

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2012, 11:26:02 PM »
Greeneggs has pretty much covered all the bases.  I just wanted to add a couple of things.  I have run into this a couple of times.  Tried surgery once but I think the bird wound up dying.  Now I just try turning them upside down and letting them spit up whatever is there and seeing if that does the trick.  If not, I cull them.  With the # of birds I take care of now, it\'s just not worth my time to keep messing with a sick bird.

Secondly, I saw several references to feeding yogurt.  I know there is some debate about this but I\'ve read from some sources that I consider very reliable that any milk product is a no-no for chickens.  They can\'t digest it and it causes diarrhea.  Diarrhea is definitely something you wouldn\'t want your bird to have if it\'s having a problem getting nutrients in the first place.

Hope that helps.

God Bless,

Sharon Yorks

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2012, 09:33:39 AM »
There is still a large mushy crop lump this morning. I massaged it some, then tipped forward and made her throw up. I was afraid to do it for more than about ten seconds, but after the first time, I couldn\'t get her to do it again. It does smell sour. She\'s still acting fairly normal and there was two nice size poops under her perch. I\'m very concerned about trying to get some nutrition in her without packing it more. I\'m thinking there probably is some hay in her adding to the problem, it just hasn\'t packed real hard yet. I\'m thinking along the lines of oiling her (not sure how much) and getting some more apple cider vinegar in her, then maybe getting something like \"Nutri-Cal\" to help with nutrition. It\'s 17 degrees here and still snowing and blowing.

I did question the yogurt a little, but only because I didn\'t know if it would contribute to the dairy souring if she\'s not digesting things well. I like giving a little to them periodically in a normal situation.

More later.  
Sharon Yorks
Mark 11:23

(Don't tell God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big your God is!)

HarryS

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2012, 09:57:01 AM »
Sorry, but the best cure I have found is a hatchet.
Harry Shaffer

greeneggsandham

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Hen has large crop issue - Any suggestions would be appreciated.
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2012, 11:53:30 AM »
Well, I wouldn\'t tilt her forward, I\'d turn her upside down with neck extended and then squeeze the crop until the runny sour food stuff comes out.  The chicken is not going to want to help you at all.  They don\'t like it.  If she is upside down, head down, it\'s going to be hard for the liquid to run back up into the lungs.  If she is holding her head up, you might need someone to keep it down for you.

Can you feel any mass in the crop? Don\'t be afraid to squeeze around in there, that\'s about the only way you are going to be able to feel one.

As far as a liquid diet goes,  you can probably put her on some liquid vitamins.  Another good source of food would be egg yolk mixed with some baby food cereal and water.  That\'s what I used for soft foods after surgery.  A little olive oil should work just fine as a lubricant.  And I have given my chickens a little plain yogurt before with no ill effects.  You just give them about a teaspoon, that\'s all, to restore beneficial bacteria.
Sharon
Hubby rues the day he brought the chicks home...