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The Dogmother

Impacted/compacted crop

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Some chickens, especially large hybrids (due to their enormous appetite) can get a compacted crop; this is usually due to a blockage caused by too much food, or stringy grass, but can also just be due to a loss of tone in the muscles around the crop.


Diagnosis would be a firm or hard crop, which importantly doesn't empty in the morning - see the picture below of a chicken with a full crop in the morning:




There are a few commonly used solutions, but the most popular seems to be the following:


1. Restrict the amount of food that your chook can eat, and make sure that it gets plenty of water with Avipro added to keep the bird hydrated.


2. Syringe or spoon some warmed olive oil into her beak and massage the crop 3 or 4 times a day - this may help to loosen the blockage on its own.


3. Feed the chook with white maggots - these will eat away at the material causing the blockage.


Several forum members have had success with this treatment, but it is important to stop it happening again - the crop will be less elastic and therefore more prone to over-filling. Remove any stringy grass or weeds from the area that the chook grazes in. Don't feed her (or any of your hens) bread, and try to limit the amount that she eats.


If the situation keeps recurring, then there is an operation (a sort of tummy-tuck of the crop) that you vet can perfom and that has a reasonable amount of success. Be warned though that this isn't cheap and an anaesthetic poses a great risk to any bird.

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