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Help with crop (??) issue, please!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi I am a new chicken mama - I have three humans (7,5,2) and three 1.5 week old chicks we bought from a hatchery at a day or two old. 

One of the chicks (a speckled sussex) has a very big crop  most of the time (compared with the others) and it feels a bit plasticine-y.  She is bright and eating and drinking well and seems to have lots of new baby feathers sprouting. I noticed the swelling a few days ago and last night after reading a little on here I gave her a few drops of olive oil and a gentle massage of the crop and withheld food (from all of them) for abut 5 hours.  Her crop became significantly smaller in that time so I put food (crumble) back in before I went to bed and decided that she was just a bit of a greedy bird.  It was a bit bigger again in the morning. This evening her crop is quite big again - can actually see it looking at her from a distance - but when I look closer it seems to have pockets of air, or there are pockets of air closely associated with it. Now I am really worried!  They have been on chick starter (although an over enthusiastic child put some lettuce in with them at one point but I am not sure if they ate any before I discovered it). They are on some sort of pine shavings that the hatchery sold us when we got them.  I haven't noticed them eating them but they are always scratching around in them and spreading food everywhere etc.  What do you think? My kids just love them and would be devastated to lose one. 

Thank you in advance for any help. 

post #2 of 3
if treats like lettuce or grass or any treat is given the chick needs grit (chick grit) in order to digest the treat. chickens don't have teeth (obviously) but they have a gizzard. the gizzard needs the chick grit when they are of treat age in order for it to function properly and "chew" their food. what you can do to see if your chick has a true crop impaction is remove ALL food over night and check her in the morning. Her crop should be pretty empty with all food gone. if it's not empty like the others then it is likely she could have got ahold of the lettuce and got a impaction. the impacted crops food will rot and cause issues if it's a true impaction. if she proves to be impacted look in the search of backyard chickens for Crop impaction. it should walk you through treatment. it usually happens to grown birds but can very well happen to chicks as well. Sour crop is another condition that can result from impaction. you might want to look that up as well. these are two separate crop issues. Hopefully her crop DOES empty and she does not have a impaction. let us know what you discover after removing ALL food for the night. I do hope this helps a bit and wish you and your chick good health.
post #3 of 3
Remember when you were a new baby mom and I bet you peeked at the little bundle off and on all night for the first few nights? Being a new chick mom is not much different, and it's easy to get worried about every little thing.

Then remember after a while you learned to relax as long as your baby was consuming milk and pooping regularly and sleeping on a sort-of schedule? Baby chicks are no different.

As long as they are eating, pooping, running around, and sleeping and only peeping intermittently, they're okay. Like a new baby, if a chick is sick, it will cry, I mean peep, constantly. No off switch. It won't be running around. It will be inactive. It won't poop except for maybe watery stuff. You will know if you have a sick chick.

Chick crops vary in size capacity from chick to chick, and you've observed some have piggy appetites. But generally, chick crops can be alarmingly large. There is no need to worry as long as the crops empty overnight and fill up again after the chicks start eating again in the morning.

By the way, it's more natural and probably better for chicks to have "night time" so they sleep and don't eat all night. This is one of the many reasons why heating pad brooding is superior to heat lamps. Night time gives chicks a rest so their crops can empty and they can sleep and grow.

See the thread on this "Mama Heating Pad for the Brooder" on this forum.
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