A flock with crop woes

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PippinChicken, May 20, 2019.

  1. PippinChicken

    PippinChicken Chirping

    Oct 28, 2017
    Last Thursday I had a hen die from what I’m pretty certain was an undetected and severe case of sour crop. She was acting normally—eating, scratching, and roosting with everyone else—until I got home from work that day and saw her standing alone puffed and with wings down. I picked her up (she didn’t move at all when I approached) and she immediately leaked foul smelling liquid from her beak. She was also extremely thin; I know I held her 3 weeks earlier during an NPIP visit and she felt like she was in good condition, so it was a very dramatic weight loss. She died within 10 minutes while I was rushing to read up on how to treat sour crop.

    I spent the weekend cleaning coops and nesting boxes; emptying, scrubbing, sanitizing, and refilling their large waterers; and emptying and refilling feeders. With the exception of a roundworm incident in March that seems to have been successfully treated with safeguard, this was my first chicken health incident. They have had sand as bedding since the worm incident to allow very frequent poop scooping but the entire encolsed run is bare dirt and the feeders and waterers are all outside of the coop. I added ACV to everyone’s water and started checking crops when shutting the coops for the night and opening them again in the morning (as well as sporadically throughout the day…). Since I had never done such obsessive crop checking before I’m not entirely sure what is normal, but there are a few that have me concerned.

    There were two girls who had what felt like very hard medium sized crops full of sand first thing Saturday morning. I did some reading and then later in the morning went to bring them to the “hospital”, AKA the dog crate in the garage. By that time one of them now had a nearly empty crop so I let her stay with the flock. I isolated the other, gave her lots of fluids, and worked to massage and break up what felt like a crop full of sand that had turned to a hard mass.

    Sunday morning, a couple of the girls in the coop had good empty crops. A couple others had small amount of what felt like sand and grit, but not nearly as solid as the girl I isolated. One had a small crop that felt full of liquid, making me worry she may be at the early stages of sour crop. I decided to just take the whole group off solid food for the day so I could get a clearer picture of what was going on. They only got yogurt and ACV water for the day. By night, it was pretty much still the same story. Some mostly empty crops, some with sand and grit, one small but liquidy. Meanwhile, the isolated girl had an empty crop by Sunday afternoon. She had switched from sparkling sand poops to pretty much pure liquid so she seemed to have passed everything. She refused canned cat food and yogurt but happily ate soft boiled, peeled, and mashed eggs. She went to bed with a full and firm (but not rock hard) crop.

    Today/Monday morning, the isolated girl’s crop was maybe smaller but definitely not empty. It just didn’t feel like much had moved through overnight. Not much had changed with the rest of the flock; some good empty crops, some with small crops of loose sand and grit, the same one with a small squishy crop, and now possibly a second with a small squishy crop. I’m at my wit’s end and would extremely appreciate any insight or advice about this sudden wave of crop issues
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Sorry about your loss and problems. If you lose another chicken at any time, it can help to get a necropsy done by your state poultry lab. Crop disorders sometimes are a result of another illness, especially reproductive problems in hens over 2 years. Many people recommend using cold coconut oil broken into small pieces (1 tsp full) fed to chickens to help treat a crop disorder. Mineral oil has worked well for me, given wI have never had a chicken survive once full blown sour crop has happened. Here is some reading about crop problems from 2 experienced people:

    PippinChicken likes this.

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