Silkie chicken crop hard : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

In May, one of my pet silkie chickens died for some reason. He suddenly had a hard crop, foamy eyes, lethargy, and didn't eat. Now one of my hens has a hard crop and was inside the coop unusually early. She lives with 3 other chickens and are usually let out of the pen to wander around. What might she have and how might I treat it? Kelli from WI

-- Kelli F. from Centeral WI (, November 19, 2001


I asked one of my neighbors the other day about that same thing. He used to raise lots of chickens(25,000 or so) anyway...He said that it was busted crop. Said that it could be a blockage or something and that usually they just die. I didn't accept that and did a little surgery on one of mine before she died. She is fine now. It was about 2 months or so ago now. She was dying and laying on her side gasping for breath. I cut her crop open with the sharpest scissors that I could find and then took the contents of the crop out. There was about 2 cups or more in there. It was awfully compacted. I cleaned her up with betadine solution and then stitched her back up. With Red thread no less. My daughter went in and grabbed the first thread that she could find in my sewing room. She likes red she said! heehee! Anyway...after I stitched her up I put some of that blue lotion on her stitches to keep the infection and flies off. and she has been fine ever since. I didn't have anything to lose because she was almost dead when I found her. You can sometimes work the contents of the crop up through their mouths. It didn't work for me when I tried it because she was already tooooo far compacted to get it back up. Hold the chicken upside down and work her crop like you would a tube of toothpaste. That might help too. Make sure that they have grit for their crop. That will help too. I know that might not have helped, but maybe it will a little!

-- Nan (, November 19, 2001.

I have heard of feeding oil to help the crop empty itself. The risk there is that the oil might go into the lungs if you put it in to quickly. I suppose any kind of salad oil would work.

-- terri (, November 19, 2001.

Wow, Nan, you're brave! I don't know if I could do home-surgery on a chicken, but like you said, there was nothing to lose. We had a pair of baby turkeys who would wolf their food down, and not drink enough water. They got compacted crops, and we did the squeeze method to get the stuff out.

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (, November 20, 2001.

Go ahead and laugh, but I have to ask? What's a crop?

-- Stacey (, November 20, 2001.

It is the gizmo that lets a chicken "chew" it's food up. It is at the base of their necks and above their chest. The chicken swallows little bits of rock and then uses those rocks to "grind" their food. That is why in some places without rocks some people put some grit or small rocks out for the chickens to eat. I am not totally sure myself, but think that it is surrounded by some kind of muscle that constricts the stuff in there. The crop stretches to hold the food consumed. Pick up one of your chickens sometime and you can feel the grainyish bag under their necks. When they are compacted they get HUGE! My chickens crop was about the size of a large softball and hard as a rock. When they get this big I have been told that they can lose their elasticity. Mine didn't thankfully. It must have been taken care of in time. It does not take long for a chicken's crop to get to that point either. My chicken's had been normal the day before!

-- Nan (, November 20, 2001.

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