Dark Cornish and a full crop


Aug 3, 2018
Western Maryland
My dark cornish have been free ranging in the afternoons the past month and a half just like our layers now. Apparently they are getting really, really good at it! We have been really noticing the last week the cornish look to have lumps, like tumors in their necks. Roosters are the worst. Hens aren't as noticeable. The crop is swollen like they swallowed a bouncy ball.

At last weeks weigh in #2 rooster became #1 and felt like he had a small golf ball stuck in his throat. Watching #2 free range with hens around the house today and he had a definite lump on the bottom of the throat before the breast leaning to one side. I saw other roosters with the same lump leaning the other way, just not as big.

Is this just typical of a heritage type cornish to gorge and swell the crop like this? I can check them in the morning and I bet it is gone.
Yes, according to what things are consumed, the crop will be hard or soft, and some chickens are practiced pigs, and will stuff themselves so full, it's a wonder they can keep from falling on their faces.

Normally, a chicken is satisfied when their crop is full to about the size of a golf ball. Others aren't happy until they look like they've swallowed a tennis ball. If one has a crop the size of a soft ball, Houston, we may have a problem.

If you suspect a crop issue, the way to verify a huge crop isn't just from over indulging is to check the crop first thing in the morning before a chicken eats or drinks. It should be perfectly empty and flat.
Well I can rest assured my Dark cornish are just pigs with feathers. My wife swore the one rooster has a tumor. The crop was leaning right and looked like a golf ball under the skin at the base of the neck and top of the breast.

I went out at first light with the headlamp and examined all the roosters and, sure enough, every crop was empty. They didn't like the surprise inspection, but the wife and I feel more comfortable now. We were afraid our big boy might not make it to fathering the next meat birds.

We have RIR, Leghorn and Dark Brahma layers and none have ever showed crop lumps like this before.
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I remember freaking out the first time raised Cornish Cross Broilers and I saw them with gigantic crops, as well. Oh my God it scared me. I thought I was going to lose all of them and wasted a ton of money. Thankfully, a little research cleared it up for me and had a good season. May be a trait of the Cornish, even 3 cross breed generations later.

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