Wiggly~Piggly and Other Surprises

I have been concerned about one of my hens. She was broody for a long, long time. Her crown turned very dull and she would puff up so much that it was scary…

Finally, she came out of her broodiness, and then I noticed a huge lump on her chest, but not the hard kind, a very jiggly wiggly lump that shakes when she runs.

Here she is this morning eating the scratch I threw out…

eating scratch

She’s the one on the left…

Here’s an article that I found at Backyard Chickens

Birds can pig out and get a really big crop, however it could be a problem with her crop.  A bird’s crop is like a bag that holds the food they eat.  It is held there and moistened and gradually fed into the next stage of the digestive process.  Normally the crop is full in the early evening when the bird goes to roost and it empties overnight while the bird is sleeping.  If you check a crop early in the morning before the bird eats again it should be empty or almost empty.

If there’s a problem I would guess that your bird either has an impacted crop, or otherwise a pendulous crop.  I would feel over her and see if she’s skinny and losing weight or if she is well covered.  Also feel the crop and describe what it’s like.  People on here will no doubt be able to head you in the right direction.

An impaction is when the food gets matted up and forms a lump in there that won’t break down and pass.  Long grass strands can start this off, but sometimes it just happens.  The first thing that I would try with an impacted crop is giving the boil some olive oil, leave it for ten minutes, then firmly but gently massage the crop and see if the mass breaks up a bit.  You can do that a few times a day to see if the impaction will break down.  In extreme circumstances you can do a crop surgery to remove it, but people lose as many birds as they save.  I would always try massage and oil first.  I would also stop the bird eating long grass or hard grains while trying this.  I would give soft foods and I would also put vitamins in the water as the bird may not be well nourished.

The second possibility is pendulous crop.  That is where the crop is actually stretched and saggy.  This means that food catches and balls up in the lower part and doesn’t ever move through.  These can’t be cured although people try things like surgery or even a ‘crop bra’.  Surgeries don’t tend to work as once a crop is saggy it tends to go back like that even after a surgery.  I’ve never tried a crop bra, so go for it if you feel like it, but I don’t really have a lot of faith in it.  When I’ve had pendulous crop cases here I’ve found that they can hang on for quite a long time living normally.  Usually the day comes eventually when their health is compromised and they don’t tend to be long lived.

If the crop goes down to a normal size overnight then you know she was just a pig.


I think she may have what the article above says is a pendulous crop. But I’m not sure…

Here she is eyeing me to see if I’ll throw out more scratch…


And right after this she actually flew up on top of the trash can where I keep the feed when I was closing it. She obviously loves her treats. She definitely is a glutton.  I named her Wiggly-Piggly.

After I took these pictures of Wiggly-Piggly hen, I was surprised to see a beautiful morning glory growing up and around the horse stalls that is now the chicken coop.

morning glory

And while I was enjoying the beauty of these flowers something else caught my eye. I have been wandering  all over the area every day trying to figure out where the hens are laying, because I’m once again only getting 1 or 2 eggs a day. And my 2 Ameraucanas have not been laying any.

So, this is what I saw when admiring the morning glories…


The Ameraucans were laying their eggs where the critter had dug a hole to get into the chicken coop. I never EVER thought to look there…


I picked up all the eggs…3 days worth…and left it hoping that they would keep laying in this new nest.

But I did not find any yesterday.

I wonder if I will today, or if they’ve found another nest…

24 thoughts on “Wiggly~Piggly and Other Surprises

  1. She was one of my favorite hens until she went broody, only I called her Sienna because the color on her neck feathers reminded me of Sienna, Italy. Weird, I know. 😛


    • It would be wonderful to have a dog that could sniff out and find the eggs. 🙂 I’ve been wondering if someone has invented an egg detector…like a metal detector. Sure would come in handy!

      So that’s why they call these hens “easter eggers”…


  2. I think finding eggs is one of the most exciting things about having chickens. I used to love going out to the hen house and finding just-laid, still warm, beautiful ovals of tastiness. Sigh. I wish I still had chickens. At least I can admire yours!


  3. Her crop certainly looks bigger than my hen’s did when she had sour crop, so perhaps it is pendulous. You could try giving her live yogurt each day and massaging it. I think that really made a difference for Cleo, and hers cleared up in a little less than a week. At the end of the week it felt hard, not squishy, so I think that was the impacted part, then I gave her a little olive oil, massaged it again, and she was better within a couple of days. Hope yours gets well quickly too!


  4. I have found eggs in many strange places around here, when the hens are free ranging. Generally my girls lay eggs anywhere but the nesters we so carefully built!
    Not sure of your hen, but I have one girl who I swear was blind, I named her Helen….then she snapped out of it!


    • Haha…that’s funny. 🙂

      Well, after 2 days again of no green eggs, I think I’m going to confine them in the old chick coop for a couple of days and that way I will at least know where the eggs are.


  5. Pingback: Beauty from Ashes | a little corner of the artist in me...

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