Hard crop emergency call

Last night I went out on a call for a chicken that had a hard crop. I suspected impacted crop.

The owner said the crop had been hard for a while and that she was lethargic and hadn’t eaten in a while. He isolated her in a carrier in the basement and put a heater in to keep her comfortable.

I arrived, expecting to treat a crop impaction, but instead found that Hildegard the buff Orpington was listless and lethargic. She had an empty crop and lots of poop. So the crop and GI system were doing ok; however, she had not eaten since the owner isolated her.

I gave her an external exam and checked the poop. There was nothing abnormal in the external exam, but the poop yielded a stone and a full kernel of wheat, which made me wonder if there was something wrong with the gizzard. It also looked like she had chipped her beak.

My recommendation was that the owners keep the hen warm and isolated and see an avian veterinarian; without the ability to know what was going on internally, this was beyond me. I recommended several avian vets in the area and asked that the owner follow up with me.

It’s always difficult for me when I am unable to help a chicken. They can stymie even the avian vets; birds are good at hiding sickness, and by the time you know they are not feeling well, it’s too late. More on this topic (subclinical illnesses) to come!

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Heide on February 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm


    I have two hens and just last week one of them went into her molt. Today she appeared fine and chipper this morning. Being a day that hit into the 50s by noon I had them outside and yet she seemed not interested. Her left leg and foot seemed lame and she wouldn’t walk. I checked her leg and it seemed as normal as the other and as I mentioned she was popping around her coop first thing this morning. I am pretty sure there has not been any aggression from the other hen as I have never witnessed that. Now she is snuggled deep under her hay, but making lots of chirps. Can you think of any reason why she may be acting this way?


    • Hi, Heide –
      Could be a number of things that I can’t really determine – tumor putting pressure on a nerve to the leg, osteopetrosis, Newcastle, cage fatigue, rickets… I’d suggest taking her to an avian vet ASAP.
      Good luck!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: