Is it normal for a crop to be completely empty?

freevillein

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
40
0
22
I'm kind of new to butchering chickens. I've done six, and for five of them, the crop was packed full. But the sixth was so empty I couldn't even FIND it until I accidentally ruptured it and only a little liquid was in there. Was that normal? I always thought they stayed full of grit. I haven't been giving my birds grit because they have a large dirt run so I assumed they got enough that way. Do I need to be giving them grit?

She was a meat bird of some kind (huge, white, unknown breed) and young enough she didn't have eggs inside her, if that's relevant. The other birds I've butchered have all been roosters.
 

HS Pye

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 13, 2013
386
17
83
Texas
What is grit in your definition? No chickens should never have empty crops, unless you do it purposely for butchering (some prefer it that way so there is less the mess type of thing). Your bird sounds like a white broiler.

HS Pye
 

freevillein

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
40
0
22
Well, growing up we always used sand for grit for our chickens, but I don't have sand or sandy soil here. But I'd read that Muscovies can get the grit they need from soil, so I assumed chickens could too. They have access to very rock soil, so they would be able to eat pebbles if they wanted to.

How long does it take not feeding a chicken before the crop completely empties? It's possible that other chickens are hogging the feeder and she wasn't able to eat for a while. She didn't seem sick or anything before I killed her.
 

HS Pye

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 13, 2013
386
17
83
Texas
12-24 hours and the crop should be empty and then when you butcher you don't have to deal with the waste or the digesting food.

HS Pye
 

freevillein

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
40
0
22
12-24 hours and the crop should be empty and then when you butcher you don't have to deal with the waste or the digesting food.

HS Pye
That's good to know. I'll definitely start doing that. I'm just learning how to gut a chicken, and it's SUCH a mess when I accidentally puncture something. She was probably fine then. I hadn't fed them yet today, so if she hadn't eaten in a while then it makes sense it would be empty.

I also think I'm getting "crop" confused with "gizzard," since I thought they were the same thing until a couple hours ago. The crop wouldn't have grit in it anyway, so when it's empty, it gets completely empty, doesn't it? I haven't been bothering to keep the gizzard since I've never been a fan, so I haven't cut any of them open to see how much grit they have.
 

HS Pye

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 13, 2013
386
17
83
Texas
Yes the crop should get near or completely empty. Just as a random question how do you gut your chickens?

HS Pye
 

freevillein

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
40
0
22
Yes the crop should get near or completely empty. Just as a random question how do you gut your chickens?

HS Pye
Horribly and with great effort. I've been slitting open the top of the chest above the breast and cutting out the crop (trying not to rupture it, since in 5/6 chickens it's been the size of my fist and packed with a very bad smelling half-digested wad of food). Then I open up the abdominal cavity from the bottom of the breast bone to the tail, reach in there and loosen up everything, and try to pull it out - finally cutting out the vent and sometimes part of the tail. It is a really tedious method, leaves a lot of lung tissue inside, and is CLEARLY not how it's supposed to go. I've been looking on this forum for ideas to do it better next time.

Rabbits are much easier. I can hand them by the feet, and the guts all fall down and are really easy to get out. With chickens, though, when I try that the breast bone gets in the way.
 

HS Pye

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 13, 2013
386
17
83
Texas
The way I do it is by stlitting the breastline from the crop (without rupturing it) to the vent and the pulling out all the inner gut through vent area.Then I wash the the meat and will freeze it if I'm not using it that day. I find this method quick and easy (not to mention less messy). Hope this helps! ; )

HS Pye
 

freevillein

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
40
0
22
The way I do it is by stlitting the breastline from the crop (without rupturing it) to the vent and the pulling out all the inner gut through vent area.Then I wash the the meat and will freeze it if I'm not using it that day. I find this method quick and easy (not to mention less messy). Hope this helps! ; )

HS Pye

But isn't it really hard to cut through the breast bone? Or am I missing something?
 

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