3 Crop Issues Your Flock Could Be Facing- What the Crop?!

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Whether your looking for advice or doing chicken research, you should be aware of the potential crop issues your chickens could face. Potential crop issues can be fatal to chickens. I am going to lead you through what these crop issues are, and how we fixed the crop issues in our chicks. 

Back to the cluckin’ drawing board

Originally we were going to put the 9 chicks in with our Momma Hen and her baby, Pepper. Dottie (aka momma hen) is a Bantam (breed) and we have heard they are very willing to adopt new babies. In the end we decided against it because our concern came from the other chicks pecking Dottie’s baby because they would be much bigger than her (or him). Hence why these baby chicks have been taking up my whole dang kitchen! Something occurred that we have never experienced in all our cluckin’ days as chick parents. It literally had us saying “What the Crop?!?”.  I’m going to let you know the mistakes we made so you don’t do the same.

Lets go over some constructive criticism Hood!

Mistake 1: “Temporary” water feeders- aka bowls

Alex and I of course had the intention to hobble over to good ole tractor supply and get some actual water feeders but you know how procrastination works right? In the meantime, we put several small bowls with water for our tiny feathered flock. I guess that would have been ok for like a day and not a week…..

While we were gone at work the chicks go into FULL REBELLION  and would kick shavings into their water making it difficult for them to drink. I would refill it and fix the issue once I came home from work but many times they weren’t getting enough water during the day.

Sidenote: Chickens are scavengers and like to scratch to search for things. So this “FULL REBELLION” that I’m claiming happened, is just normal chicken behavior.

Mistake 2: Not understanding chicken digestion…2 years into having Chickens

This is where I was just completely uneducated but honestly, you don’t just sit down and read about potential chicken problems in your free time right? Doesn’t everyone just wait until it starts happening in their flock and just try to problem solve?  I never really looked up chicken anatomy or anything so had no idea about how they digested food.

I didn’t even know what the cluck a crop was!

We noticed these large bumps appearing on their necks…. like massive… I think I googled “large bump on chicks neck!” I even looked up chicken anatomy to try and troubleshoot what it was. Come to find out Chickens have crops, which is like a sack that holds their food once they eat. It gets ground up here and then gets pushed out and digested.

So, their crops started to become enlarged and not just in one but in all of them. I naturally went into panic mode thought, “This is it, we are monsters! We are gonna kill our baby chicks!” and my wonderful boyfriend (#putaringonit) continued to calm me down and encouraged to just continue researching it.

So I researched, and have learned that there are like 3 different types of crop problems that can happen.

  1. Impacted Crop– where the crop gets impacted- typically by long grasses like hay, and the food cannot process through.
  2. Sour Crop- When the food stays in the crop for an extended amount of time and yeast begins to form on the food.
  3. Pendulous Crop– when the crop (which is a muscle) has been damaged and can no longer hold its shape.

Learn more about these issues and how you can treat them from this super helpful blog.

Also, if you are serious about getting chickens, I recommend buying this book prior and just researching what you’re getting into. It’s easy to read and super helpful.

(note: affiliate link)

Having chickens is not that hard I promise, but doing your research helps you to provide prevention to these issues rather than trying to google what’s wrong with your flock (but thanks google for having the answers).

What Google told us:

We knew it wasn’t impacted or pendulous. There was a sour odor coming from their box so we assumed it was sour crop. You are supposed to withhold food for 24 hours to see if their crops go down. OURS DID! However. any time we fed them they popped back up again (which come to find out is also normal but ours was happening very quickly and this hadn’t happened to our chicks in the past (hence why we were clueless about crop issues and 2 years into having chickens).

Things we tried:

  • Putting probiotics and apple cider vinegar in their water.
  • Withholding food for 24 hours- until crops have gone down.
  • Providing Granite grit to help with digestion.

As of now… their crops are going flat by withholding food (so at least it is digesting).  We have scheduled feedings based on crop size. When we feed them it balloons back up (which they are supposed to be enlarged when you feed them but I have never experienced this large of a crop after only one feed before). We are so used to leaving a feeder in there with them.  If you have any information for us that might guide us in the right direction let us know!!! We are still learning (not professionals here). Goal: to just have happy healthy chickens.

We haven’t tried withholding water- which I also read (for up to 12 hours), because we were wanting their crops to have water to digest so we allowed the water.


Examples of enlarged crops:

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