A Method For Clearing Impacted Crops

By Nan Huffman, Wildwood, IL, USA

I have a hen that gets an impacted crop every so often (3 times now in less than a year). The first time (mass was huge) resulted in my vet physically cutting & removing the mass after trying several internet/book remedies over a week’s time, none of which worked. The second and third times (I caught impaction before the mass got as large as the first), I tried out some other methods, and the following has worked in clearing the blockage. Here are the steps I now follow, and I hope this will possibly help others. Giving oil to the chook (a common remedy) did not help my situation at all :

  • cage the chook; no food for 24 hours.
  • offer only water with baking soda (got this from a wild rice recipe, where adding baking soda will soften the rice, and tried it in hopes it would soften the hay/grass in her crop).
  • Massage the mass*

*DO NOT massage the mass together. This was an error I did the first time. DO Massage the mass to break apart (which it won’t do very easily). You want liquid to penetrate the mass; do not squeeze the water out of the mass.

  • eye drop wine into chook several times a day to help with the sour crop that usually results from impacted crop. If she belches smell, give her wine. One or two tablespoons each time should do it.
  • feed chook soft, almost runny, non-sticky food (avoid oatmeal, it is sticky) during the treatment, day 2 & forward until impaction is 100% gone.

Some examples: yogurt mixed with soft crumble with a splash of wine, or bread soaked in* wine & water. I fed 2x/day, < 1 cup of material per feeding. This was mostly to help chook get nutrition and not really to resolve impaction, nor to add to impaction.

  • Two times a day, externally massage impacted mass into one small piece (gumball sized), and actually force it into her gut (find the “V” in her chest), and hold the small piece in place until her gut accepts it. This is NOT the entire mass, but only a small piece of the mass. Must hold small piece in place for a minute or so (keep your finger in the “V), or her gut will expel it back into the crop. Repeat this a couple times a day over several days until mass in crop is gone. For the past two impactions, it has taken 3 days for one mass, and 7 days for a second larger mass.
  • make sure chook is pooping along the way. You will see fibers in nice big poos if the mass is getting processed. If poos are small without fiber content, you are not getting any of the mass down into the stomach.
  • if you find a chook susceptible to getting an impacted crop, check them often; the quicker you catch it, the quicker you will be able to resolve.
  • once crop is cleared, feed caged chook to make sure all is back to normal input & output. You will know when they are ready to return to the flock (usually a day or two).

Hope this might work for someone else. Thanks for all you do with the newsletter. Sincerely, Nan Huffman


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