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I have a 1 year old black sexlink that is having some crop issues.  I took her to the vet and have been tube feeding her and giving her two metoclopramide shots per day.  After a week of tube feeding and shots I would say her crop is about 1/2 the size it was before.  The next step at the vet would be surgery to empty the crop ($450) which isn't an option for me.  She is pooping and otherwise behaving pretty normal.  I have her separated from the other hens during the day so she doesn't forage for food and add unnecessary volume to her crop. That has her a bit stressed out, but otherwise she is fine.    

I'm working under the assumption that she has a partial blockage created by grass because her poop sometimes looks like rabbit pellets and the pellets are made up of grass that is undigested.  I'm fine continuing to tube feed her until the crop is back to normal size, but this girl has always had a larger crop than the rest so I'm not certain it was ever functioning correctly.

I'm wondering if anyone has had success unblocking a crop without surgery.  If so, how?  I'm also wondering if continuing to tube feed is the best course of action.  Are there soft foods I can give her that would work as well.  She really wants to scratch and forage for something.  .  Any advice would be helpful.

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I'm sorry that you are having this problem. I don't know the answer to your tube feeding dilemma. With crop impaction some people will try feeding oil. I've seen a lot of recommendations for mineral oil, though I don't know why olive oil or something like that wouldn't work just as well (as well as being more edible). Usually grass isn't a problem if it's still growing because they only pull off and eat small bite sized chunks. You do however see a lot of crop issues arise from birds eating grass clippings because they are eating much longer pieces at a time and they get all tangled up in the crop.

There are several forum posts around the internet about people doing their own surgery on chicken crops. Obviously very intimidating and risky, but in a pinch, the info is out there.

I have read about using pure papaya juice with baby parrots that have slow crops, this might be something to try. Here is a link It would certainly be worth a try and certainly won't hurt as long as you don't aspirate the bird. I would small amounts at a time, although with the feeding tube maybe this would not be an issue. I have purchased papaya juice at Sprouts in the past.

I've never heard about the papaya juice. Is this related to enzymes or something?

I believe so Rachel. Not sure if it would help in this situation, but I have heard from veteran parrot breeders that this is something that has been successful.


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