Crop impaction is a particular problem associated with free ranging chickens. This is caused by long grass, or other material, becoming coiled into a plug in the crop. This causes a distended, pendulous crop, which is hard to the touch.
The provision of grit can significantly aid the functioning of the gizzard. Although most free-ranging hens will pick up small stones and grit, the provision of a supplementary source will be required for birds that are not free ranged, or in situations where the soil is lacking stones.
A simple method is to dose the bird with warm olive oil and massage the crop, or squeeze it, in the hope that the food will be regurgitated
A suffering bird can also be fed wet, soggy mash until it recovers (once you remove the obstruction)
A crop bound bird can starve to death unless treated
Do not be too hasty in judging a large baggy crop to be crop bound
Hens are big eaters and their crops should be quite full
If the crop keeps refilling even after treatment, you may have a bird with an impacted gizzard. Here the blockage forms a ‘rope’ blocking the intestinal tract. This is much more serious than an impacted crop and can prove fatal.