How to check a chicken's crop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 5Leepy!, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I've read a lot of posts about chickens having issues and a ton of them talk about checking the chicken's crop to see if it's full, mushy, etc... I've even read descriptions about where the crop is but I just can't seem to figure it out. Does anyone have a diagram, video or pictures showing the crop and how/where to check it? I feel so stupid for not knowing....

  2. clarkechick

    clarkechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2011
    I took a chicken workshop at a local farm. One story that the instructor shared with us was about "poor old Rosie". She would get a little off kilter and they would determine that she had grassy crop. He said that they would pick her up by her feet and dangle her upside down for a few minutes. She would "drain" and then go along perfectly fine. This doesn't help you to diagnose... but maybe treat anyway? Try hanging them upside down!!
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Well, I wouldn't go around tipping my chickens upside down as a general matter, certainly not unless I knew for sure one had a problem that would be helped by this.

    To the original poster, do you suspect one of your chickens has a crop problem, or are you just interested for future possible reference?

    When chickens go to roost at night, they usually will have full or nearly full crops. It's like Dolly Parton, but only on the right side (if you know what I mean). When you pick up a hen and hold her under your arm like football, you can feel the crop on the right side (the chicken's right). A normal crop will be firm. In the morning, all that food will have gone down to the chicken's stomachs and been digested.
  4. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Hi Elmo,

    I don't suspect a problem but one of my Hens is sickly in some way and I thought I'd check her crop to make sure that wasn't it. She eats constantly but is the thinnest of all my girls. She's already been wormed (about a month ago) so unless it's a tape, that's not the problem. Her poops are always either all liquid or mostly liquid with a little bit of solids. When she was a chick her first owner or breeder clipped the tip of her beak making her lower beak about 1/16 of an inch longer than her top one. I watch her free range and she usually has to peck at something a few times before she gets it so that may be why it seems like she's eating all the time... she may not be getting it in her mouth every time she pecks.

    When I say she's sickly... she usually has a pale comb, wattles and face (maybe once a week I'll see her face get red/pink), her feathers are a mess (but we suspect a bully hen and have isolated the bully from from the flock), she has poopy butt probably from all the diarhea and her eggs have somewhat thin shells, are rough on one end like sandpaper, and frequently have a "pimple" or two on them (like a dollop of extra shell making a bump). She's been the main target of our bully hen recently and we think it may be a symptom of her being sick in some way.

    The last two days I've put honey and ACV in their water but I haven't noticed a change in her. Behavior-wise she seems fine, though.

    She did have lice when we first got her and believe we have that under control although we haven't been able to get all of the egg sacs/nits off of her feathers. Those things are stubborn! I'm sure they've all hatched by now, though. We've been dusting her about once a week for a couple of weeks now and will continue to do so for maybe 2 more weeks just to be sure.

    I also give her yogurt with active cultures regularly but, again... no change in her that I've noticed from it.

    I bought some Valbazen today in case it's tape worm but I'm not sure if I'm going to use it on her now or not... I'm also thinking of trying some antibiotics. I just don't know what's wrong and hate to medicate her blindly in the hopes that it will help. I'm just at a loss as to where to go from here.

    She's not on death's door... she doesn't seem to be in any distress of any kind. She just looks bad and her poops are not normal. It's almost like some kind of low-grade fever my kids would get. lolololol

    So... her crop is something I've read to check when your chicken is sick so thought I'd give it a try. I checked where you described the other day and felt what seemed like an adam's apple. I'm guessing that's some pebbles she's swallowed to help break up her food. I'll try checking again in the morning to see if I notice it feeling any different than it did the other day. Thanks for your response!


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