Large pendulous crop on hen, otherwise fine

Smileybans

Crowing
Nov 13, 2020
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This is a sagitta hen. I believe I got her at TSC in February when chick days started here.
Her crop has been filling up, it’s empty in the morning, to the point of being huge. It feels… normal? It’s not soft but not hard. But if I move her whole crop around it’s like moving a ball around on her chest. Or a full balloon. She’s slower than the other sagittas I have too. Is she just fat or is something wrong?
They have been in their new coop for the past four days and that’s when I started to notice this. Today is the first day she’s getting to go out in her new run. Since sagittas have Cornish cross in them could she have gained too much weight over the past four days?
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wf1992

Songster
Jun 1, 2017
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Okanagan, BC
I have a hen who's been equipped with a crop bra for a bit over a year, and is doing fine. I've tried taking it off a couple times, but it stretches right out again. The difference is, my girl's crop is so saggy it won't empty overnight without support. I guess if you're sure your chicken's crop empties overnight, perhaps it's just a matter of monitoring?
 

Smileybans

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Nov 13, 2020
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I have a hen who's been equipped with a crop bra for a bit over a year, and is doing fine. I've tried taking it off a couple times, but it stretches right out again. The difference is, my girl's crop is so saggy it won't empty overnight without support. I guess if you're sure your chicken's crop empties overnight, perhaps it's just a matter of monitoring?
I’ll definitely monitor her more closely. I’ll be sure to check her crop in the morning and feel it. My husband had a feel and said it felt gritty. So she’s eating her grit.
What’s a crop bra? I feel like I know the answer but I still would like it explained a little. 😅😊
 

wf1992

Songster
Jun 1, 2017
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Okanagan, BC
Hubby calls her sports-bra-chicken :p She started out with a tension bandage (I didn't have vet wrap at that point) to support her crop until it emptied, then it took a few versions of the bra to get the shape to work for her and the elastic the correct length. I've used a stretch-denim rectangle, with a dart up from the bottom, and elastic criss-crossed around her wings, over her back. I take it off now and then to check there's nothing going on underneath.

To this day I don't know why this happened. One day she just came running, bosom swaying and flopping around in front, and it's never tightened up since. (Aging can be so unkind to us girls). Her crop felt extremely full, somewhat squishy, and didn't empty on its own overnight.

This is Queenie in the prototype bra, with her crop still a bit distended. She's already rearranged here, so the top is covered by feathers. The current version almost disappears once she's done fluffing.
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Smileybans

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Nov 13, 2020
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Upstate New York
Interesting. I couldn’t get a good look at my girl this morning to make sure she was empty but I’ll try again tomorrow morning. If she isn’t emptying over night I should try to make her something like what you did right? To support her crop. My girl isn’t even a year old. Is this just something that happens sometimes?
 

Smileybans

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Nov 13, 2020
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Upstate New York
This her this morning. I didn’t chase her down to get a feel, was on a time crunch to get my kids on the summer school bus, but it still looks pretty big.
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azygous

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One of the tests for pendulous crop is to massage and try to get the contents of the crop to go down. Usually, a hen enjoys this, so she should be cooperative as soon as you begin the massage. If it readily empties, there shouldn't be a disorder needing treatment.

Spend about five minutes, kneading the crop with your fingers, lifting the contents from the bottom toward the crop drain about a third of the way up.

I've found that when I massage the crop, it will empty and stimulate the hen's appetite. It's important to keep the crop contents moving so they don't impact and ferment, leading to the other two crop disorders which make the hen sick.

This condition may be temporary in this young hen. A crop bra worn at night can keep the contents moving out, and perhaps over a few weeks of wearing the bra, her chest muscles will tone up, once again allowing the crop to empty on its own.
 

wf1992

Songster
Jun 1, 2017
161
413
148
Okanagan, BC
Can you get that much stuff to go down at once? I was worried my girl's stomach wouldn't hold it all, so let it happen over a day or so.

Also curious what indicates "full" to a chicken, crop or stomach? When this happened, I assumed she kept eating because nothing made it to the stomach, so she was constantly hungry... There certainly didn't ever appear to be anything wrong with her appetite!

Why should the bra only be worn at night? Not that all chickens are created equal, but mine has hers 24/7 and is doing great. Not only do I think she'd continue to overstuff herself during the day without it, I can't imagine the extra stress (to us both!) trying to catch her twice a day to get the thing on and off! I did try removing the bra a couple times early on, but she never tightened up, so was sagging again by the end of a day without it.
 

azygous

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Around the clock is better, but many hens don't tolerate the bra, so getting them to wear it only at night is sometimes the best we can accomplish.

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The "stomach" of a chicken is located between the crop and the gizzard. It's called the proventriculus and isn't very big. It mostly prepares the food leaving the crop for the real digestion in the gizzard.

I don't know for sure what part of the chicken's digestive system signals hunger, probably a combination of the crop, proventricuus and gizzard emptying, but I know from observation and experience that a chicken with a full crop and poor appetite will develop an interest in food once I massage and partially empty the crop.
 

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