“Vomiting Chicken”: WHY?

Okay, Gentle Reader, here goes. The story behind the rather unusual and sometimes-criticized name of my blog. (In my defense, I never dreamed that anybody but my family would ever read this space. And I knew they’d laugh at the title.)

To wit.

Last summer I noticed that one of our hens, “Nelly” by name, a lovely blue and brown Ameraucana, developed an unusually large crop. She was off-balance. As you probably already know, if you’re a chicken person (and you probably are, if you’re looking at this page) chickens possess a muscular pouch along the esophagus called the ‘crop’. It stores feed prior to entering the proventriculus, where digestive enzymes will be deposited before being passed into the gizzard. That’s where the feed is ground down to a paste, allowing it to be passed into the stomach for digestion.

If this fascinates you as much as it does me, you may want to see an in-depth article about chicken digestion, right here.

Occasionally, the crop becomes backed up, as evidently had happened with poor Nelly. This problem—called crop impaction, crop binding, or pendulous crop—can occur when a chicken eats too much, too quickly. In this condition, even if a chicken continues to eat, the feed cannot pass the impacted crop.

Poor Nelly reminded me of a top-heavy woman when she scooted about, the swollen crop swaying in a disturbing manner. Her spirits seemed to be good. She was perky and energetic, darting after bugs and competing with the other chickens for scraps. It was a bit disconcerting to watch her, however.

I pondered. What could I do?  Should I do something? Was there anything that could be done? Perhaps it was a problem that would take care of itself, I thought, squeamish coward that I am, so I decided to just watch her closely for a few days.

So, I watched her. I saw that she would lumber out of the coop in the mornings to eat and drink and scuttle about with the other chickens as if everything was hunky-dory, not at all like she was carrying what amounted to a largish softball in her chest cavity. She seemed a tad reflective. There didn’t appear to be any self-pity involved, any rancor or bitterness or the using of this trial as an excuse to treat her fellows with meanness.

Nelly has excellent character, apparently.  She could be a model of surviving a difficult situation with bravery and aplomb. I needed to point her out to my children, I decided. They could learn from her. I could learn from her. (Sigh.)

I decided pretty quickly that I did, indeed, need to do something. Of course my first line of research is to call my dad. Dad is a farm boy and knows a lot about everything. I never know the difference between what topics he’s actually an expert on, and what he might just make up to satisfy me,  because he always sounds so grave and intellectual.

Here's my dad, mid-story.

My dad, in the middle of a story.

Dad is a man of many gifts with an encyclopedic memory, and I knew he’d know how to fix my Nelly.  Moreover, I knew he’d be empathetic and understanding, since I’m pretty sure that I inherited my painfully tender heart where animals are concerned from him. Dialing the phone, I imagined, in a rush of affection that Dad would in all certainty rush out to cure my suffering chicken right then and there.

Nelly herself, being held by me, myself.

“Sounds like it’s time for chicken soup!” he proclaimed happily. I was appalled to hear him actually smacking his lips. “Coincidentally,” he added, “Mom has some fresh homemade noodles curing on the counter here. I could run some out . . .”

So much for fatherly empathy and understanding.

“Dad. It’s Nelly, not some superfluous rooster. I’m not gonna butcher her,” I countered, much as the thought of chicken and noodles, to be honest, gave me pause. Mom does make the very best noodles.  They are tender, yet chewy. They plump up in the broth so nicely. (I posted that noodle recipe, by the way, right here, if you’re interested.)

Trying to forget Mom’s homemade noodles, plump and squishy and steamy hot in their aromatic stock, surrounded by hearty chunks of chicken meat, I proceeded to my next line of research: Google. I don’t often ignore the wisdom of Dad, but this time, Nelly’s life was at stake. Literally.

I dived in to “chicken crop problems” and immersed myself in reading about shared experiences and wacky hypotheses and bizarre chicken-crop-problem anecnotes that left me eventually bobbing to the surface, gasping for breath.

I found hundreds of entries about crop problems in chickens! Who knew the crop was such a ailment-prone organ?

Here’s a fact, Gentle Reader: chickens are like pigs, in that they will eat nearly anything. I’ve seen hens gobble down moldy bread with relish, grab a live mouse and fight over it, and much, much worse, which I won’t divulge to you (this is a family website).

One website asserted that the only way to really understand Sour Crop, another “frightening disorder,” was to “pretend, for a moment, that you are a chicken.” Another one explained in detail how to make a chicken vomit.

I wasn’t going there, I decided.


Chicken with noodles was sounding better and better. I was not taking Nelly to the vet, or spending hundreds of dollars on her, I’m sorry. I was fond of her, it’s true. But my pocketbook certainly had its limits.

I finally went on a short walk to clear my head. While out, I spotted Nelly, and guilt washed over me. Poor thing! Here she was, giving her all, laying those beautiful eggs day after day and I couldn’t be bothered to take care of something as simple as an impacted crop, merely because I happened to be a bit squeamish about–of all things–vomit.

I like this shot my daughter Amalia took.

For Pete’s sake–she had been suffering for a couple days by now. She was a noble chicken with excellent character. She deserved better! Then and there I decided that it was time: something had to be done. Her frontal corpulence had become, in fact, alarming. But what, from all the remedies that I had read about, should I do?

Diagnosis was an important first step, so I carefully caught Nelly and palpated the lump. From what I had read, it could be impacted grain, or impacted hay and grass, and the latter was by far the more complicated problem. Hmmm . . . Nelly seemed to have impacted grain and hay and probably grass, too, as far as I could tell. I could feel clearly the contents of the crop through the skin, stretched tight as a drum.

I drew on my vast wealth of Google-knowledge for the next step in the diagnostic procedure: to smell the chicken’s breath. If it had an “offensive odour,” it could mean “sour crop” which is a worse problem yet, and usually results in (you guessed it) chicken noodle soup. Or dumplings. Stewed chicken. It was a little hard to smell Nelly’s breath, because she was flailing about so, but as far as I could tell it seemed pretty much like any other chicken’s breath. She smelled, overall, like a chicken.



It seemed to me that the easiest course of action, of all the suggestions that I read about, might be to go in for the vomit. So I took a deep breath, braced my feet, and . . . trying to recall the articles I had perused on the subject, positioned Nelly with her head downwards. She relaxed a little, and stopped trying to kill me, being in this vulnerable position.

I prayed for gravity to take effect, as I began to massage the crop, gingerly at first, and then a bit more vigorously. I did get a few coughs out of her, and then as she shook her head in distaste, and splattered spittle out onto my hands and arms and jeans, I thought I could detect a “foul odour” on her breath. Hmm. . . could it be the dreaded sour crop? 

I felt a bit accomplished when she vomited just a bit. Strangely.

I wouldn’t say that it was a satisfying experience for either of us. Not like it would have been, say, if she’d really just upchucked all over the place, and then hopped down, crop nice and flat and smallish again, as it was meant to be, and cheerfully joined her friends in the grass for her evening salad, winking her thanks to me–her selfless benefactress–and maybe even laying an extra blue egg of gratitude.

I continued to massage, trying to be as gentle as possible.

I was so intent on my work that I didn’t even hear my daughter Amalia walk across the yard to my side, and I jumped when she spoke.

What are you doing to that chicken?” she asked, her blue eyes open wide.

“Trying to make her vomit,” I muttered. I managed a brave grin of sorts, through the hair that had fallen in my face, and the blobs of chicken spittle that had splattered up on me. I must have looked every bit of a maniacal lunatic, disguised as her mild-mannered mother.

Without a word, my daughter turned and walked stiffly back to the house. Probably she was practicing what she was going to say when she made the ‘phone call to her dad to inform him that his crazy wife was out in the yard, trying to make a chicken vomit.

Their lives would never be the same, after I was hauled off to the institution. What would all her friends say, she wondered, dully, as she stumped back to the house.

Who would do the cooking now?

I repeated this little procedure a few times over the next couple of days, convinced that it was, after all, doing some good. Nelly started to run when she saw me coming–away from me, that is, not towards me.  Happily, she did recover. She’s still a little on the stout side, but I never did have to resort to taking her to the vet, performing at-home surgery, pretending that I was a chicken, or feeding her with an eyedropper ‘round the clock.

In retrospect, the entire episode was probably worth it to see Bryan’s face on that first day when he got home from work and asked me his daily question:  “Did you do anything interesting today?”

So now you know, Gentle Reader, the story behind the name of this blog.

That’s how it started, and I’ve kept it, because in all the loveliness and beauty and goodness of life, there is also dirt. And vomit. And hard days. It’s all part of it. And I write about all of it.

Welcome! and . . .



128 thoughts on ““Vomiting Chicken”: WHY?

    1. sherri marsak

      Vomiting a hen was easy…she vomited alot and surprised the heck out of me !!!…I just held her upside down ,with her neck straight down and massaged her crop up and down and around..I should mention ,I held her close and massaged her crop FIRST…then the upside down mASSAGE ,WITH NECK STRAIGHT DOWN, IT WAS PRETTY QUICK, the vomiting…there is a 2 second rule when they stop vomiting…put her up right so she can catch her breath.and not asperate…keep doing it till they quit vomiting…gentle firm massage…Seperate her …take all food away for the night…water with probiotocs and apple cider vinegar…..somtimes it will take a week of this…sometimes they pass on…sometimes they are good the next day… feed wet soft mash..nothing else until recovered….long grass can also cause sour crop….if crop is not empty in morning…vomit her agian..and dont let her overeat…at this point ,less is best… No Bedding At All !!..nothing she can peck and eat at night…My little hen was in dog carrier, with a ceramic water bowl and a clean rock to stand on…she recovered after 4 days…love that little one…

      1. dramamamafive Post author

        Good for you, Sherri! I am really impressed (and a little jealous!) that you actually got your little hen to really vomit. My Nellie never did really let loose . . . maybe *wistful sigh* maybe next time. Thanks for sharing your positive experience with me!!

  1. chipmunk

    Haha! I had to find out! Sounds like life is never dull at your place. I, too, get lots of eye-rolling and head-shaking from my family.

  2. rita

    So, did the massaging work or not? I’ve noticed one of my chickens has a heavy crop too. One day it was very hard, and the next day it was soft. So, it might be fine, right?

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      yes, the massaging did seem to work. That all happened a couple of years ago, and our Nelly is still alive and kicking today, with a normal sized crop!

  3. Dawn Bowden

    Okay, okay I give! Need to buy some Depends now. Best laugh I’ve had in a long time. Weird to have someone else tell the story of your life. I had a very similar experience( eerily similar) but thank you for making me look at it through different and better eyes. Yeah Nelly! Yeah Amy! Yeah everyone who has a painfully tender heart for animals! Bless us one and all!

  4. Dee Meeks

    I love your blog! I’m learning a lot through the laughter and tears (from laughing). However, I’ve spent a couple of hours reading and need to be turning over my coop bedding and a couple other chores around the ole homestead. I’ll definitely be back! Thanks for sharing your stories.

  5. Tina

    Hi! I just stumbled upon your website today and am loving it! I was Google searching about growing blueberries in Nebraska and your post about it popped up. Thanks, I can’t wait to read more. 🙂

  6. Bernie Boutin

    Enjoyed every minute of your article…your story should be in the magazine Reader’s Digest.

    Glad to hear Nelly made it through.

  7. Tracy Spangler

    I absolutely adore your blog title and the story that goes along with it! We have a rather large flock of chickens. Sadly many have been lost over the past couple years to roaming neighborhood dogs that maul apart their coop to get at the chickens while they’re sleeping and not awake nor alert enough to fight. The first time this happened to my beloved Delawares I wept for a day. Had I the money, and if any of them still had a breath of life left in them I probably would have considered a pricey vet bill, but realistically we are extremely poor folks who raise chickens and do our best to keep them safe, happy and well fed, in exchange for their gorgeous eggs. I have occasional evil thoughts towards the dogs which still roam about, since Animal Control takes hours, if they come at all whenever I call to complain about them. I’m so glad I found your site. Ii’ll be looking up your mother’s noodle recipe next! Nice to meet you, here in internet land! Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh, Tracy, I’m so sorry about your chicken losses! We’ve had nearly every predator attack our flock over the years–the neighbor’s dog, opossums, ‘coons, an eagle (yes!), even wild cats. I think we’ve finally got our coop and our fence in good enough shape to offer protection. (Knock on wood!) Did you read the tale of the awful Dreaded Varmint that we struggled with a couple of years ago, during the historic drought? Here it starts: http://vomitingchicken.com/the-dreaded-varmint-day-one/
      Thanks so much for reading, Tracy, and for your kind words!

    2. Christine

      Tracy… I don’t know where you live, I am in Northern California. We have a vicious pitbull in our neighborhood that gets out all the time. The animal control officer told me to take pictures of it with a date/time stamp on the photos of the dog off of it’s property (dog must be off it’s owner’s property). The officer said that was as good as if they saw it running loose and they would do whatever was necessary to the dog owner and or dog.

      Here… first offense is a warning (which I was able to do with a photo), after that, the owner’s fines get progressively higher with each offense. I don’t know what they do when they reach the limit or if it kills someones chickens or other domestic animals tho. Hope I don’t need to find out.

      Might verify this with your local animal control tho. Just a suggestion. Sorry about loosing your chickens. 🙁 I worry about dogs getting at my new hens too.

  8. Kelly @ The Nourishing Home

    Just found you through my friend Jill’s site. Love your beekeeping article there and so fun to find out the amazing story behind your blog name. I look forward to following along on your adventures. What a beautiful blog and life! Blessings to you, Kelly

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I’ve enjoyed reading your blog time and time again, too. Nice to “meet” you, and thanks so much for taking the time to comment! Blessings to you, too!

  9. Laurie

    We had the same thing happen which ended up killing a couple of our hens. We found it an odd thing because we could not find evidence of a predator, and each chicken seemed perfectly fine the day before their deaths. Their deaths were not all at once, but spaced quite far apart.

    We found out as we removed the last one that it drained foul stuff out of the beak and nostrils. This was our clue that we’d been missing. We proceeded to turn all of our chickens upside down to see if anyone else was sick. We don’t have that many by the way. Then we proceeded to try to find the answer.

    We ended up doing the chicken tipping and massage and for good measure, gave it a squirt of fish oil (they say that olive oil works too) that we had around. We did this squirting twice in one day. We also gave all of the chickens some yogurt with live cultures (it has good bacteria, and it doesn’t have to be greek yogurt). We gave them more grit too, which is good for them to have to help minimize these issues. We were warned that chickens have drowned from doing this tipping thing, you know…but we knew that this chicken would also die if we didn’t do anything, so it was worth the risk.

    From what I read, this issue can and often does reoccur at some point in the chicken’s life, but at least you and we know what to do now. By the way…all are healthy and doing well. We will continue to monitor their grit and give them live culture yogurt more often now, though, if it means that we can avoid a repetition of that nasty event.

  10. Valerie

    LOL! I completely forgot why I came to this site after reading your vomiting Kelly story. I can’t stop laughing. Oh, ya Thanks to Kelly @ The Nourishing Home I just remembered. That was so funny, thanks for sharing! Now I’ll check out your bee keeping…talk again soon.

  11. Clara

    This is the most interesting thing on the internet. Seriously, I laughed so hard I had you got a little spittle out of me. Had to wipe the screen.

  12. Deborah A

    My granddaughter saw the name of your blog, either in my email or on my Facebook page and asked me about it. I had not yet read this to tell her why you named it thus. But yesterday, both the girls got a whiff of reality into vomiting chickens! We have 20 broilers nearing the date for freezer camp. They don’t really like going back into their pen after running around the yard all day. All three of us managed to get sprayed with foul-smelling chicken vomit during our catching session last night!!!! I told the oldest, NOW you know about Vomiting Chicken first hand!

  13. John Friesen

    Hi Amy,

    I just found your blog today through a “network” of enthusiastic neighbors of mine. I enjoy your wit and charming writing!


  14. Janet McMahan

    A friend shared your page with me.. since I too am an animal lover & have very humorous stories about wild animals in my home, car, etc.. but I would like to share my son’s story with you & your readers. Our son Ben, our 2 Labradors & I were diagnosed with cancer at the same time as the 4 children in my Facebook picture. We found Arsenic & Lead in our deep well water. My husband is a physician & I his office manager at the time.. putting together 8 Cancer Clusters & telling people to test their water for Arsenic Down to Zero. Most were finding Arsenic & Lead in their water. Tried to get State of Ga to warn people to test their water for Arsenic & get water filter.. State Employees said they were not allowed to warn anyone… Finally after 3 years, 1 month & 11 days the Georgia Health Dept did warn people this One Time.. May God Bless You & All That You Love!! Please go to my facebook wall for more info.. I have the maximum of 5,000 friends, but it is open to Everyone… also check out bensfilters.com http://www.walb.com/story/21650928/private-wells-should-be-tested

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      What a powerful story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us! Yikes–I can’t believe it took three years + before the health dept. would warn people. Dangerous! Can you share your Facebook page with me? There are many Janet McMahans on facebook. THank you, and God bless!

  15. Aimee Boyer

    Hi, Amy. We have just 2 homeschooled children with 2 cats, 1 dog, and 22 chickens-including far to many roosters. The reason I love this story , aside from the hilarity, is that I feel less crazy now!
    Here is my chicken story…we had a chicken whose legs suddenly stopped working. They just stuck out doing nothing aside from getting cold and getting stuck in her wings when she tried to move by thrashing around. The mighty Google recommended culling her, as did all other chicken people I spoke with, so of course I did what any sane, normal person would do.

    I swaddled her. Yes, thats right, I swaddled a chicken. In a washcloth. Tucked her stiff, cold little legs under her where they belong, and wrapped her up in a new sort of chicken burrito (with feathers, eyes, beak, claws).
    She loved it. Immediately little Fluffy (named by my 7 yr old) began happily chirping, swaddled and still on her back in her washcloth burrito, she relaxed and began closing her eyes!!!
    I sat there still perplexed as to why anyone (ok, why I) would think of swaddling a chicken.

    I put her back in her little box in the bathroom, on her front. A few minutes later her chirp changed, i checked on her and found that a foot was sticking out of her little burrito, up by her head. I fixed it, and she chirped away happily!

    By the next day she was fine, now several months later Fluffy is a sweet, healthy, egg-laying hen!7

    Thankyou for sharing your chicken vomit story. 🙂

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Good for you, Aimee, for not giving up on your hen! I wonder what was wrong with her? Here’s another quick chicken story for you: once I had a favorite chicken, Little Red, who used to eschew going into the chicken coop at nights with all the other chickens. I didn’t blame her. Instead, in all weather, she’d climb a vine that grows on our house, right next to my bedroom window. I believe that she just adored me and wanted to be close to me, day and night (wink). One day the dogs (we have two) were herding the chickens into the coop and they got a little competitive in herding her (she wouldn’t go, natch) and they tore all her skin and feathers off one side of her! Poor thing! She looked awful, and I figured she would die. I was heartbroken. But I sequestered her away, in a protected area of the coop, with her own heat lamp, water and food. It took some time for her to recover, but she did, amazingly, growing new skin and feathers. She went on to live several more years. When I would take my old hens to the butcher every year, I was always very careful not to take her! She finally died this spring, and I buried her in my garden.

  16. Susie Caron

    Amy, you are a treasure. I came here by way of today’s blog, via the blog challenge. It takes a lot of great writing for me to stay all the way through…..and I don’t own chickens (although my husband and I once did. slaughtered too many roosters to count, froze them, tried to eat them….and ….it didn’t go well….but that’s another story…I’ll tell you sometime if you invite me to guest blog.) However, I read this, and your blog all the way through and loved them both. As I stated, you are a treasure.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      You just made my day and warmed my heart with your sweet comment, Susie. And it’s frigid one here and I’ve been cold all the blessed day long, so when I say that you warmed my heart, you have blessed me. Truly. Thank you for your comment.

  17. Deb S.

    Thanks for the great story. When we first got our chickens last year, my husband was reticent at best. We have come to love our “ladies” and when a normally kindhearted rescue dog we have got a hold of two a few weeks ago, we were both broken-hearted. Thanks for sharing this story it really made my morning! There is a best seller waiting to be written on “things you never imagined your self doing—for your chicken”.
    God bless.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thank you, Deb. I think I could write that book. 🙂 I’m so sorry for your chicken losses, though! That’s so hard. 🙁

  18. Shelly Maples

    You are such a great story teller. I’m starting to plan for my dream of moving to the country and having some animals, starting with chickens. So happy I stumbled across your informative, yet entertaining blog.
    Thanks, Shelly

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thank you, Shelly: you made my day! Please sign up for email updates, “like” my Facebook page, and share with your friends. I have lots of exciting stuff in the works!

  19. Robin

    It’s refreshing to know there are others who have common sense when it comes to chickens. It would cost $45 to walk through the vet’s door with a chicken. I enjoy my birds but unfortunately for them, I am not a lunatic. Well…not about chickens.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Robin, and that $45 would pay the guys at the locker to butcher and dress near two dozen of my old hens and roosters!

  20. Jovet

    As a fellow Nebraskan, I’d love to stop by and see her sometime. But she’d probably peck me pretty hard.
    Ran across your blog and am enjoying your writings and bemusements very much.
    Keep up the good, hard work!

  21. Michelle Hanel

    Brilliant articles along the lines of my self -taught tree change life style experiences and your humour which also reflects mine….I thought I was the only lunatic who had the “hospital” section for her poultry!
    Any medical problem of these birds was always answered with ‘chicken soup’ as a remedy, that came from all of the local bushie experts who were born and bred here.
    I too regretted the loss of money and personal reputation by visiting the vet with an ailing chook or duck.
    I found that any problem along the digestive tract can be cured by segregating the bird with only a bowl of water and a can of the CHEAPEST sardines or tuna in olive oil. It’s cheap, it works.
    It also works for a fur ball in cats or an undigested bone in dogs or doggie constipation!
    The other problem with hens where they suffer from liquid runs is to give them a log infested with white ants. They fight over the ants, their precious excrement returns to normal.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      What do you know? I’ve never heard this bit of folk wisdom, but Michelle, I’ll remember it next time I have a sick critter! (Are those white ants termites?)

      1. Michelle Hanel

        Yes, Amy, white ants/termites.
        Another bit of “wisdom” don’t let your chickens get drunk! Sight for sore eyes. The whole flock of them walking around in circles around one extended wing for support against the ground.
        We threw out some rotten mangoes on the compost heap, not realizing they fermented in the sun. I DID NOT SUPPLY WITH INTENT, so please, nobody get enraged about this learning curve incidednt.

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  24. Chef William

    I go along with your dad…(we dad types stick together) Chicken-Noodle-Soup would have been a nice name for a blog, I think. So let me get this right. When Amalia caught you red handed trying to strangle one of the pet chickens, you had to think fast so you played the medical card and told her you were only trying to save the life of the pet….Nicely done, and fast thinking on your part…………

  25. Carolyn Wilson

    While searching for the best way to over winter turnips, I came across your blog. I was intrigued with the name. The whole time I was reading about turnips I was thinking about a “vomiting chicken” . While reading and telling my husband about your experience … I burned my beans ! This sounds like something I would try. Enjoy your style and humor.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oooops! Sorry about the beans, Carolyn! I’ve always thought that there oughta be a club online: People who ruin dinner because of getting interested in something online. I’d belong to the club, for sure!

  26. Dan

    I really appreciated this write up.
    If I would have found this many months ago my very loved baby girl might still be with me 🙁

    What you describe is nearly identical to what she was going through.
    I would not have been hesitant at all to help her this way.
    I miss her so much. But, now I have 2 more adorable little girls that will benefit from me reading this. I have turned into one of those paranoid chicken owners. So I am reading everything I can. The more pictures the better even!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh, I’m so sorry Dan. Generally my chickens are very healthy and don’t struggle with health problems, which will likely be the case with your flock, too. Blessings!

  27. Kathy

    I finally read this story and several comments too. You are a good writer and a very caring person; that part I already knew. Thank you for sharing your stories and recipes and more, Amy! See you soon, Kathy

  28. Mary law

    Lady, you made my day! You are Hilarious! Love your stories, the honesty is fabulous! Thank you for verbalizing many unspoken emotions that swirl around on these emergency occasions for us who are learning to take care of chickens! I laughed SO hard! Ps love all the helpers, too.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Mary, you are so sweet. Thank you! I’m glad you could chuckle with me at my experience with Nelly (bless her heart). 🙂

  29. Ann

    What a wonderful, funny, engaging read. Yes, what we do for our chickens – even though chicken stew is definitely in the back of our minds…..I always have a ‘favorite’ bird with each batch. Chicken TV is fun to watch in the evening…..

  30. Kathleen Smalley

    I came across a comment you made on one of my favorite online places to shop “Uncommon Goods”. I could not resist coming to see what on earth “vomitingchicken.com” could possibly be about. I so completely loved your story, and I’ve signed on to follow your posts. Seems like our lives are probably totally different, city girl/country girl, most times indoors vs. out, love, love dogs, but other animals probably would not live with me. In fact I’m currently petrified to walk into my garage because of a mice have decided to move in. But I felt such a kinship while reading and looking at your photos. Maybe it is really envy. My life is so so stressful, and I’ve been longing to just walk in a meadow, swing from a tree, rock on a country porch and anything else that sounds like that. No doubt you have your own stress stories – getting a chicken to vomit sounds a little stressful to me! Regardless, I loved your story and hope to find more like it. You should publish – write stories. Bailey White is a favorite author of mine. Her short stories are my favorite read when I take time! Thanks for bringing big smiles to my face today! You ask for a website address in this form. Unfortunately, I have none to share. But you should check out my granddaughter’s blog. She’s an amazing young woman with a heart for Jesus and her most recent post is about my husband who has alzheimers. I think you’ll love her writing style!


    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Dear Kathleen,
      Your sweet comment totally made my day–er, my week! It lifted my spirits, so thank you so much for taking the time to write it down. I’m sorry about your husband, Alzheimer’s is such a grievous disease; but I thank you for introducing me to your beautiful granddaughter/writer. I read her blog post and was touched by it. She is a lovely young lady with a beautiful heart. I hope the very best for your family. Your faith in Christ is so evident and it will hold you up through your stressful times. And if you ever get up to Nebraska, please look me up! I’d love to meet you! *hugs*

  31. Lisa Cohen

    What a great story!
    The reason I found your blog was because I did a search for vomiting chicken! Unfortunately one of my girls, Serena, (also an Ameraucana) isn’t feeling well today. She was slow to come out of the coop this morning, and then this evening when I went to lock everyone in for the night, she was still outside. That is very unusual for her. I picked her up to check her and bring her into the coop, when suddenly she vomited a bunch of water! She did this for a couple of minutes. There were no convulsions like when humans vomit, the liquid just ran out of her beak. I had never heard of a chicken vomiting. These girls are my pets, so the chicken soup is not an option, but either is the vet. I’ll see how she is feeling in the morning. She didn’t have a big lump in her chest/neck area. Any ideas?

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh, Lisa, I wish I knew the answer! The thing with a sick chicken is, she’ll either get better or she won’t. (I know–profound, eh?) I’ve been amazed before at how quickly a chicken can make a turn-around in her health, going either direction. I would separate her from the other chooks and provide clean water with a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt (if you have it) and some soft food (just dampen her usual feed) and some tender greens (little weeds, tender grass, etc.) and wait. I’d really like to hear if/when she gets better, if you wouldn’t mind reporting back. Thank you and good luck!

  32. Sequau

    I really enjoy your voice. You are so many persons wrapped in one–scientist, writer,discoverer, animal lover, blogger, economist, wife, and mom. My favorite: comedienne! Thanks for the explanation.

  33. laurie

    I DID take Aster to the vet when she had an impacted crop. After I had already tried the vomit procedure which resulted in some very stinky “sour” vomit coming out her beak. The vet gave me an injectable to help dilute the impaction. Sadly, my beautiful and friendly Americauna died a horrible suffocating death. I’m glad your girl recovered.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Laurie, Ugggh, I am SO SORRY. That is so sad. (I probably would have taken my Nelly to the vet, too, if the vomiting procedure didn’t work, fwiw.)

  34. Anna

    Hello! Just a tip for sour crop in chickens.

    I’ve had several hens with it and had to go through the vomiting procedure with them as well, though theirs was mostly brown liquid and some scratch, grass, and beetles.

    But sour crop is an infection in the crop, most often, I’ve found, a yeast infection. I’ve managed to get a chicken well within a day or two with the following method.

    First- induce vomiting like you did. That will get rid of most of the infected stuff in the crop.

    Then, put her in a cage with just water (or gatorade, if you wanna be fancy). For the next 24 hours, you should only give her water. Best not to let her eat and get more food in the sick crop.

    From here, treating the yeast infection in the crop. Go to your local supermarket and buy some Monistat- it’s a suppository for women with yeast infections. It costs around $15, and it’s musch cheaper and more effective than going to the vet.

    Head home, and cut each waxy suppository into thirds. Give the hen 1/3 of a suppository by mouth- it’ll kill off the yeast infection in the crop. Give 1/3 in the morning, noon, and once before bed. After 24 hours or 12- use your judgement here), I let them eat again, and keep giving the suppositories by mouth for the second day.

    It’s worked for my hens before- but then again, mine mostly had liquidy vomit. Either way, it’s worked for me, and $15 is much more reasonable than a vet trip. 🙂

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thank you so much, Anna. If you don’t mind, I intend to add your tip to my post. All the best to you and thanks again!

  35. Nan Schey

    How thoroughly delightful. I stumbled into your website looking for an organic way to deal with cabbage worms. Sigh, sniff sniff, my pretty little cabbage plants, (broccoli too, but they aren’t as pretty a plant – ah – functional, very functional!) I am delighted to make your acquaintance and look forward to having a cup of tea with you from time to time. Blessings!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Nan, it’s very nice to meet you, as well! Thanks for your sweet words. GOOD LUCK in your fight against the cabbage moths. They are persistent pests, to be sure!

  36. Kim Filippone

    I read your post last night and chuckled all the way through. I too am bewildered by the long-tailed forums about sick chickens, and have commented to my husband that there are a lot of crazy chicken ladies out there that will do anything to save a hen, but I’m not one of them (he’s accused me of being a crazy bird lady). So I’ve been known to talk to a bird now and then, but doing home surgery on a hen or putting them in sweaters is not on my list of nutty activities. That said, I have a hen with an extended crop who’s been doing the snaky neck thing for a few months now. It started after we lost two hens to a great horned owl – I guess JoJo was so upset she started eating to relieve her stress like so many of us do. And when I say eating, I mean anything and everything. The snaky neck went away for a time (I think she dislodged what was clogging her drain) but 3 weeks ago started up in earnest. I’ve tried massage, yogurt and oil soaked bread, ACV, probiotics, and scrambled egg loaded with olive oil to no avail. She’s been active, eating and laying, but this morning I found her just sitting on a roost while her buddies were out running around – very unlike her. I haven’t vomited her given all that I read online about drowning them in their own goo, but your article has inspired me to try today. So my hero cape will be on later and I’m gonna tip my chicken! Wish me luck!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Kim, thank you for your kind words. I do hope you report back on the (hoped-for) success of the forced-vomiting procedure. Believe me, it’s satisfying in a weird way, when you actually get the hen to vomit! Blessings!

  37. Lisa

    I too had the same thing with my ameraucana. I tried everything for 8 days. I would have taken her to a vet (yes! Crazy chicken lady that I am!) however I could not find one who treated ‘pet’ chickens. I was afraid to massage her crop, as I did this as a rookie chicken keeper, when another her got what I think was sour crop and am sure I killed the poor thing. Not knowing that chickens don’t have a ‘gag’ response, and not likely giving her time to catch her breath……Sadly, my hen didn’t make it. My sex link hens seem much hardier than the ameraucana ones to me, so from now on I’ll just stick to them.
    Thanks for sharing.


    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Lisa, I am so sorry to hear this! My Ameracauna recovered just fine, but not all chooks are the same, of course. I do like the sex link hens, also.

  38. Kester Ratcliff

    Probably overall for the best, but just fyi in case it comes up again – chickens and other birds can’t breathe upside down.

    Humans can manage it for about 30-40mins before suffocating, but chickens can’t breathe at all upside down. Different mechanics. That would be why she went still.

    A minute or so for a good cause is ok, but best to upright the chicken again to let it breathe in between if the crop massaging takes too long.

    (Animal Behaviour & Welfare BSc from Bristol Uni, UK.)

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thanks so much, Kester, for this valuable comment. I’m going to add it to my post, and I’ll mention your contribution. Thank you again!

  39. sue

    I’m sitting here laughing my head off…my husband keeps asking me what i’m laughing about..so I tell him … he isn’t laughing, just chuckles cause i’m laughing so hard..i tell him he needs to read it for himself..I am just starting with chickens ,as they were a mothers day present…love your writings…

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thank you Sue. Good luck with the chooks! Are you on Facebook? If so, you certainly ought to like vomitingchicken.com. We do a lot of collaboration there, about chickens and other things, too!

  40. Mango

    i having baby chicks, but one of them is sick, from friday haning floth in his mouth and not eating and drinking. i call doc and they suggest oral powder. i gave him 3times in a day, but still nothing is change. he try to eat but all is stuck in his mouth. always sleeping and his weight loose.

    what should i do???

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      MAngo, it’s so hard to give you advice without seeing the chick. I’m so sorry. Best to listen to your vet.

  41. roberta hansell

    thank you for this article! i was searching the web, because i’m interested in getting a few chickens… my loving husband (who is AGAINST the chicken idea) also, enjoyed the article, but hasn’t changes his mind on the chickens (yet).
    please (pretty please) add me to your email list! it’s so nice to read wholesome, well written articles, about life, on life’s terms.
    BTW, how is Nelly?

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Nelly is fine-moving a little slower these days, as she’s getting a little long in the tooth, er, ah, BEAK. I will add you to my email list. Thank you for your nice comment and good luck getting those chooks!

  42. Carla Seeley

    I am so happy to read this as my chicken didn’t look herself tonight. I picked her up to put her in a warm bath and she threw up on me. I massaged her as you described and got her to get out as much as I could. Gave her water from a dropper and hopped onto google to see if there was anything else I could do for her. I was surprised to find that I had already done exactly what you did. Hoping mine will recover. She is a lovely girl.

  43. Kirsty

    I am a city slicker who blithely offered to chicken sit my Mother’s neighbour’s chickens while she and her hubby went on a camping trip. No sooner had they left when the flock rebel, “Li’l Arse” needed tipping–your blog saved her life!!!

    Back story: She hid at bedtime (the nickname is starting to make sense, right?). I found her and put her in one of the two pens; there’s one for the younger birds and one for the older birds (more like pets, with one rooster each and about 4-5 hens each). Can you see where this is going?

    I put poor Li’l Arse in the young chicken pen. The young rooster, Baby, went postal. I thought he would kill her! So aggressive! She was crying and trying to escape and he was right on her. I separated them, not yet realizing my error, but as soon as I quieted them down, he’d chase her again and drill into her head while standing on her. She was terrified and trying to flee. I couldn’t understand why he was acting so cruelly–he’s very sweet and gently with his hens, and again–what I know about chickens would fit in a thimble.

    I suddenly realized she wasn’t his hen. I got her out of there, held her, and put her in her own pen. She just sat there. I watched for awhile and let her be. But she wouldn’t go into the coop with the rest of them and sat in the pen staring into space. I gently lifted her onto the ramp to go inside for the night, and must have tipped her forward. Clear goo came out of her mouth. She stood in the doorway for a bit, and got up to roost with the others.

    Then I googled the “H. E. double hockey-sticks” out of vomiting chicken. That’s when I found your treasure trove. Nearby farmers I asked recommended chicken soup, but I knew my friend wouldn’t like that and I sure didn’t want to lose Li’l Arse on my watch.

    I used the old “vaginal yeast infection suppository” trick, in some oily oats. If I told the whole tale it would be 10 pages long, but suffice to say the pro-biotics did the trick. I must have tipped her 6 or 7 times the first two days she was ill–the next morning the goo was no longer clear–it was brown with un-digested bugs and so on in it, and it got fouler. After I got the medicine into her, no small feat, she was up and about! I gave her yoghurt and oats a few times after that, and she’s got a nice flat crop second day in a row now.

    So thank you, Amy, for saving my Li’l Arse. (and no I did not write all this to set that up–it’s just part of the vomiting chicken shower of blessings).

    Kirsty, on Salt Spring Island, BC.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thanks for the hearty laugh, Kirsty. I love hearing stories like this!! And good on you for saving Li’l Arse’s . . er. . .backside. *giggles*

  44. Jackie L Hahn-Winans

    Anyone have any idea on yellow liquid that doesn’t smell bad, she just keep throwing up yellow liquid but it doesn’t smell at all,

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Jackie, any sort of vomit is probably not GOOD . . . does your hen seem otherwise healthy? Is she eating and pooping and moving around normally? I hope that she has recovered by now. She may have just eaten something that didn’t agree with her.

  45. Patricia S. Peck

    I would have been happy (well, maybe not happy) to have read the reason for the barffy blog name if it had not come up (no pun intended) when I was looking for a bread recipe.
    I am interested in chickens and that is where I would have liked reading the funny description of your impacted chicken.
    If you continue to blogg about FOOD though, you might try a different email and make it more relevant to the item advertised.
    It wasa funny and I am going to read it to my brother as he eats his breakfast.

  46. Joanne


    I just found my Rommertopf again (sort of thing you do in lockdown) and looking for recipes found your beggars’ chicken – sounds great. (Jan 2013)

    I have a question about the recipe – how much Soy Sauce? it says 1/4 – I’m assuming that’s a 1/4 cup.

  47. Magda

    Every site says chickens do not vomit, except for liquids.
    Well, that is not what I found.
    I massaged my chickens crop in a downward direction.
    Turned her upside down and she actually threw up a lot of sour food and I could actually see what she had ingested.
    Now I am giving her apple cider vinegar/water and plain yogurt.
    We shall see how it goes. I plan to save her.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Good for you, Magda! I wish you well. I’ve gone to great lengths to save a chicken’s life before, too. They are worth it!

  48. Catherine Alger

    Thank you for this post, I actually had a chicken who began to look like she was isolating herself and not eating. I checked her out and she a had a serious case of pasty butt but also had a bad smell. After bathing her bottom I massaged her crop and tipped her downward and she puked up a lot of black chunks.

    I isolated her and gave her water. I waited a couple more hours and massaged her crop again and tipped her and the smell was gone but I was able to get her to puke more black liquid this time. This time it did not smell.

    By the end of the day she was behaving normal again so I left her out and she wanted to eat and back to hanging out with the BFFs.

  49. CJ Behr

    I often Thank God for interesting people. Your story is the kind of thing that talk shows would love to find. I have followed bread crumbs to find the House of Elron’s Ginger Dipping Sauce… and remained to hear the story.

    3 Cheers For Vomitingchicken.com and the people who made it charming.

  50. Mark Welsch

    Your story about Nelly was very interesting! I grew up on the farm five miles south and east of Milford – on the Crete road. Grandma had chickens but I don’t remember hearing about the crop of a chicken. Your story was fun and educational!! Thanks for sharing it.
    I found your blog through the DriftWatch website, which says you also have honey bees in addition to your chickens. I’m hoping to have some hives about five miles south of you on my brother’s farm, later this year.
    I hope your bees are doing well

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Are you, by chance, the brother of Dave Welsch? I know him fairly well! I do have one hive of honeybees, but I’m afraid I neglect them sorely. One of my goals this year is to learn more about how to care for honeybees. They cheer me so, and I do love their honey! They are doing very well this year so far, but we haven’t had much cold weather yet, either. Thanks for popping in and saying hi!

  51. SR Hall

    I have a hen right now that had sour crop but is still vomiting. I found online from a Vet a little tidbit that helpped with the sour crop. (DO NOT USE ANYTHING WITH INGREDIENTS THAT END IN CAIN IT WILL KILL HER) She said to mix 1 tsp of Miconazole Vaginal Cream with 1 tsp of water and feed it to her to get rid of the yeast infection in her crop. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000QWNLG2?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details
    Miconazole is one of the best OTC medications you can use for it. It worked, but she is still vimiting all over me. Not as bad, but still not keeping food down. She has nothing in her crop… For that I will use Papaya Digestive Enzymes tabet mixed with Metamucil into a paste and see how it goes. I’m just waiting for the Metamucil….. it got delayed in transit. She had this problem when she was a baby too. I thought it was Coccidiosis and treated it as such. I just hope she makes it unti the Metamucil gets here. She’s keeping her chin up and sleeping with me until then.

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