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Possibly Sour Crop? Possibly not? Worried "green" chicken owner

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi folks! I would love a little insight here. I am a fairly new chicken owner; our girls are 7 months old, and I am worried about one of them.

 

Last week I noticed that our Austalorp was making strange neck movements and was a little quieter than usual. I, of course, looked it up online and saw the info on crop issues. The next morning I checked and her crop wasn't empty and was squishy, a bit like a water balloon. Possibly sour crop? But no bad smell. We added grit - hadn't been giving it to them since we give them supervised free range time daily - and by the next day she seemed to be back to normal. A couple of days after that, I noticed the strange neck movements again and so have checked her every morning this week. The crop is not completely empty but there is no smell, she is acting normal, and she definitely wants to eat. We don't think she's laid an egg in a few days, although today we got one that might be hers (there are a couple of chickens whose eggs we have trouble telling apart).
 
Today I isolated her with no food and clean water - she's in a dog crate but in the run with the other chickens as we thought it might be more stressful for her to be alone. She really wanted food and was not happy being in the "hospital." I have been massaging her crop every couple of hours but as of now, the crop is still not empty. If it isn't empty in the morning, any suggestions? Additional info - we ferment our feed and put acv in the water regularly. Also, I do not want to try vomiting - not comfortable with that risk.
 
Any help would be great. I am definitely concerned and don't want to do more damage, misdiagnose, or let it get worse. Thank you so much!
post #2 of 8

Hello and welcome to BYC!

 

A squishy crop is a slow crop and could be on it's way to becoming sour. If food sits to long in the crop, after several days the good bacteria disappear and the yeasts start to grow and they develop a sour crop. 

 

Lots of reasons a crop can slow down from something as simple as indigestion, the bird has a small impaction of grass or other stiff vegetation in the gizzard or intestines somewhere or she could be becoming over loaded with worms. She could have some other illness developing as well and the crop issue is a secondary problem. 

 

Has she been wormed recently? If not, I would get on this right way. Worms will destroy and end up killing the bird.

 

Give her an over all exam. Make sure her abdomen is not like a water balloon, or she is not egg bound either. You will need a latex glove and some ky-jelly or vaseline on the index finger and insert your finger straight back into the vent. If she has a stuck egg, you will feel it within the first inch. Any further back and she is not considered egg bound. Check for any injuries, lumps or mites. 

 

Here is a nice article on egg binding should she be egg bound....http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/egg-binding-symptoms-treatment-and-prevention

 

Stop by this article on crops. It tells you all kinds of things on slow and sour crops and how to treat them...http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/impacted-slow-and-sour-crops-prevention-and-treatments

 

Keep us posted. If you need more help with this, please let us know. :-)

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

Reply

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

Reply
post #3 of 8

She needs to eat. So for now, no hard foods like seeds, grains and the like. Water soluble foods only. I like to dampen layer feed for them. They readily eat it and it digests faster. You want things to move through the tract as fast as possible. No free ranging. 

 

Things like yogurt or probiotics in the water. You want to pump up the good bacteria. You can put yogurt on hard boiled eggs. Always a favorite.

 

Check the crop each morning and vomit out the gunk every morning. That stuff is poison and will kill the bird if they absorb enough of it. it takes about a week to cure up a slow or sour crop as long as there is nothing else going on inside her. 

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

Reply

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

Reply
post #4 of 8

Just remember that chickens adjust their crops a lot of the time, which may mean nothing. Her crop may just not be completely emptying by morning, but now that you have added grit she may be fine. If she looks alert, is active, and really wanting to eat, I would probably let her out and just keep an eye on her.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

Thank you all so much. We ferment their food and always put acv in, so we decided to monitor her for the time being after her one day in isolation. I checked her all over - she isn't egg bound, although she doesn't seem to be laying; I didn't see any kind of mites or lice - her coat is very shiny and she looks really healthy; and her back end - from vent up to breast- isn't bloated or squishy - firm just like all of the other birds. But she is still adjusting the crop fairly regularly and has moments of total stillness in between acting normally. I don't know if that has anything to do with the fact that it is probably the coldest day we have had since they have been born - we had freezing rain, sleet and a little snow for the first time after an incredibly mild fall. I have only actually caught her pooping a couple of times but it looks normal, albeit it smaller than the rest. Today I didn't do acv but put a probiotic powder in the water and added more grit to their food - which is not dry since we ferment it.

 

I contacted a vet's office just to see if they also do phone consults. I don't want to have to take her to a vet and stress her more, but I just have this sense that she isn't 100%.

 

Thank you all and feel free to offer any more input. It's super helpful to hear other folks' experience and knowledge.

 

Happy Holidays,

Gina

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by YardRebel View Post
 

Hi all,

 

Thank you all so much. We ferment their food and always put acv in, so we decided to monitor her for the time being after her one day in isolation. I checked her all over - she isn't egg bound, although she doesn't seem to be laying; I didn't see any kind of mites or lice - her coat is very shiny and she looks really healthy; and her back end - from vent up to breast- isn't bloated or squishy - firm just like all of the other birds. But she is still adjusting the crop fairly regularly and has moments of total stillness in between acting normally. I don't know if that has anything to do with the fact that it is probably the coldest day we have had since they have been born - we had freezing rain, sleet and a little snow for the first time after an incredibly mild fall. I have only actually caught her pooping a couple of times but it looks normal, albeit it smaller than the rest. Today I didn't do acv but put a probiotic powder in the water and added more grit to their food - which is not dry since we ferment it.

 

I contacted a vet's office just to see if they also do phone consults. I don't want to have to take her to a vet and stress her more, but I just have this sense that she isn't 100%.

 

Thank you all and feel free to offer any more input. It's super helpful to hear other folks' experience and knowledge.

 

Happy Holidays,

Gina

Is her crop still full in the morning? If it is empty, the crop adjusting could be from certain foods she is eating or she could be developing a yeast infection. I have seen this snake like squiggle on birds that are in the beginnings of a slow or sour crop. You will know there is a big problem when there is still food in the crop.

 

I would not however, add grit to the food. Let the birds free choice on it. Too much grit can impact the gizzard. Birds know how much grit they need and when to take it in. So I would definitely put this grit on the side. Especially birds that are having crop issues. You want the food to move through the system as fast as it cand to help prevent souring. Things in the gizzard slow the food down. Birds having crop problems should be on a water soluble diet anyway. No grit needed. 

 

Keep us posted! :-)

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

Reply

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

Reply
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi there!

 

So good to know about the grit. I will not do that again. They seem to pick around it anyway, so hopefully they aren't getting too much.

 

Her crop is not completely empty in the morning, but stuff is moving through. No odor from the crop right now. We ferment their food, so it is always moist. We often ferment garlic with the feed - they love the garlic - it is a "treat" to them.

 

Outside of their feed, they regularly get my husband's juicing parts - he juices carrot, celery, cilantro, beet, cucumber and garlic daily and will give them the ground up pulp. And when I make almond milk (just almonds, no vanilla or sweetener), I have also given them the leftover pulp - it's all ground up and super soft. I have given apples, raisins, raw sunflower seeds, dried oats and cornmeal, and worm meal as a treat from time to time. Sometimes we hang kale, broccoli or brussell sprout leaves and/or comfrey leaves for them to nibble and they do get to free range about an hour daily. We never do all of this daily, but usually they get one of these "treats" a day. Right now we aren't doing it because of what's going on with the one bird. I am also wondering if I should stop giving fermented feed for a bit.

 

I really appreciate all of the feedback. And I hope the detailed info isn't annoying. I figure the more info you have the easier it would be to make an educated guess at what might be wrong.

 

Be well!

Gina

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by YardRebel View Post
 

Hi there!

 

So good to know about the grit. I will not do that again. They seem to pick around it anyway, so hopefully they aren't getting too much.

 

Her crop is not completely empty in the morning, but stuff is moving through. No odor from the crop right now. We ferment their food, so it is always moist. We often ferment garlic with the feed - they love the garlic - it is a "treat" to them.

 

Outside of their feed, they regularly get my husband's juicing parts - he juices carrot, celery, cilantro, beet, cucumber and garlic daily and will give them the ground up pulp. And when I make almond milk (just almonds, no vanilla or sweetener), I have also given them the leftover pulp - it's all ground up and super soft. I have given apples, raisins, raw sunflower seeds, dried oats and cornmeal, and worm meal as a treat from time to time. Sometimes we hang kale, broccoli or brussell sprout leaves and/or comfrey leaves for them to nibble and they do get to free range about an hour daily. We never do all of this daily, but usually they get one of these "treats" a day. Right now we aren't doing it because of what's going on with the one bird. I am also wondering if I should stop giving fermented feed for a bit.

 

I really appreciate all of the feedback. And I hope the detailed info isn't annoying. I figure the more info you have the easier it would be to make an educated guess at what might be wrong.

 

Be well!

Gina

Sounds like the crop is just slowing down for now. When it starts to smell badly, it will be considered soured. Do you ferment raw grains or are you fermenting chicken feed? I would say if you are fermenting the chicken feed, then continue doing that. The fermentation process makes for great probiotics. But if you are fermenting grains, you might hold off on those right now. Grains are harder to process in the gizzard. But if this is all you have, then use the grains. 

 

For now, yes, stop with all the extras, as they require use of the gizzard and right now you want everything to move as fast as possible through her system. So I would only feed her the fermented feed for now. 

 

Have you added any probiotics to the water? I know the fermented feed has it's own probiotics, but liquid anything gets into the system so much faster. It will absorb quicker into the lining of the crop and intestinal walls. 

 

Also, if she has liquid food in her crop in the morning, you should vomit that stuff out of there. It is only a breeding ground for more bad bacteria that not only sits in the crop, but goes into the digestive tract as well. Food that sits too long and over night in the crop becomes toxic. So it is best to vomit it out of her. First thing in the morning, take her outside of the coop. Hold her like a foot ball in one arm and your other hand will support her at the crop, her beak facing in front of you. Lean yourself and her forward, supporting her at the crop and lean far enough that her beak is straight down, tail up. You are going to gently squeeze and massage her crop. As SOON as something starts to come up out of her beak, even if that is when she is only half way facing down, you are going to count to 2 and then lean her forward. Chickens only hold their breath for a second or so and can aspirate. After you stand back up at the count of 2, let her catch her breath, then lean her back down and do it again. Keep doing this until you no longer get anything out. You can never get it all out. This vomiting alone will help her heal faster. If she has to run all that toxic food through her system every day, the better chances she will turn up with a sour crop. I only vomit first thing in the morning. This way the good food and water she drinks during the day have time to absorb into her system, anything left over in the morning is starting to go toxic and I like to get that out of them as soon as possible. 

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

Reply

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

Reply
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