Crop Questions - sorry for the repetition

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by aussie_chooken, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. aussie_chooken

    aussie_chooken Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2007
    I apologise, I have done searches but i just want a couple of very straight forward answers, as the more i read the more confused i get (being a first time owner and all, i read into everything like it's an abnormality with the more knowledge i gain), so would like to know from you fabulous chicken veterans:

    1. What does a normal crop feel like?


    2. What does an abnormal crop feel like? How can you tell?


    3. What are some other symptoms that may indicate impaction? What to look for?


    4. At what point can you try to rectify/assist it yourself? First aid?


    5. At what point is it an emergency?


    Thanks so much in advance!!!!!!
     
  2. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Hi-
    I am a pretty new chicken owner but I just went through this... adopted a 1.5 y.o. hen who had an impacted crop. After a week+ of care, she is fine now. I will try to tell you what I know:

    1. A normal crop feels different at different times, depending on when the chicken last ate and what it ate. Sometimes it feels full of seeds, grass, whatever. if you go feel the crop late at night when they haven't eaten in a while, it will be empty, just folds of skin at the breast. I think a normal empty crop feels rather tight, whereas the crop of my sick bird, after it finally emptied, was very loose and baggy for a while until it healed.

    2. Abnormal crop- As above, plus another type of abnormal crop is when it's filled with a gassy, quishy, liquidy substance. often called "Sour crop" (see Karri's post from yesterday). This can occur on its own, but our hen with the impacted crop got it the day after we got her impacted crop emptied. You can read about that in the post I linked below. My girl's impacted crop felt like a lump of modeling clay: solid but pliable. I believe it can also feel rock-hard, perhaps when it's gone on longer?

    3. Other symptoms might include weight loss, since the bird isn't absorbing food (ours had sudden drastic weight loss) and less or no poop, or poop that is green due to not absorbing food. Sour crop can cause vomiting.

    4. I monitored the crop over a couple of days and ascertained that it wasn't emtying on its own, and saw she was getting very thin. I felt I needed to intervene. Here's the thread about my experience. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=21498 A summary of the treatment we used is on page 5. It was not difficult but did entail bringing her inside and spending hours every day caring for her.

    karri's thread on sour crop is here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=22357 it follows the whole ordeal so read though it for all the info.

    5. I don't know when it's an emergency. I guess if you can't get it emtied using just massage and oil as we did. If you have access to (and can afford) an avian vet, it's probably best to take them in, as I gather that some of the syptoms can indicate an underlying problem as well. If you search the archives you will find threads about people doing crop surgery on their birds to emty the impaction. I am ever so glad I did not have to do that!!!

    Good luck,
    Stacey
     
  3. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    For anyone searching for info on crop problems in the future (as I spent hours doing) here is a recap:

    Initial Symptoms: very full crop that did not empty at night, not rock-hard but pliable like modeling clay, could feel fibrous material. Thin bird. "Dandruff" of flakes off the feather quills.

    First treatment: Isolated bird to dog crate inside, on newspaper so she wouldn't eat any more fibrous stuff and I could monitor poop. Massaged the crop for 5-10 minutes periods every few hours. Fed water with raw apple cider vinegar (a small splash in the waterer) and plain live-culture yogurt mixed with baby-bird-food from the pet store.

    The next day her crop had partially emptied but still had some fibrous, clay-like solids. Fed more of above foods, plus bread loaked with A LOT of olive oil, and later with mineral oil. More massage.

    New symptoms: Perhaps due to the strange diet, her crop blew up again but different: soft, squishy, gassy and balloon-like.

    Treatment: Continued with massage. Stopped the yogurt and ACV in case they were responible for the gassiness of the crop. On vet's recommendation, fed her normal food (layer pellets) soaked/softened in warm water. Also fed some chopped poached egg. Continued with massage.
    That seemed to do the trick.

    We kept her inside and under supervision for several more days, until she was gaining a bit of weight and poop was normal. Then we brought her in at night for a few more days, offering the soaked pellets each night to be sure she was eating enough. She seems fine now!!

    In retrospect, I think the massage and oil probably helped move the blockage, which had been making her unable to absorb nutrients, hence the skinnyness and dandruff.
    Next time I would just go straight to oil & massage.
     
  4. aussie_chooken

    aussie_chooken Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2007
    Thank you SO MUCH seachick, that's really informative, just what i needed. i have been scrolling through pages and pages of information, you know how it is, it's so hard not to get confused and freaked out by it all.

    i didn't even know what a crop was until i came on here! glad i know now, we have lost 2 birds so i will do anything to prevent another loss by anything if possible.

    thanks again xox
     

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