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#88601 - 03/16/10 05:02 PM Normal crop function looks like what?
Art Ana Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/14/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Montana
I am wondering what is the range of normal for a crop expanding and contracting over a 24 hour period?

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#88605 - 03/16/10 11:25 PM Re: Normal crop function looks like what? [Re: Art Ana]
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8445
Loc: Montana
Depends upon the amount of feed ingested. Crop is full and rounded after a good feed of grain. You can feel the grains. It continually empties a little at a time, so in the morning, just off the roost, the crop is soft and empty.

Chicks have little body meat to shape around the crop, so a full feed of crumbles will make a good lump that sits on one side (either) of the breast bone and can look like a tumor to the uninitiated. Since chickens eat off and on all day, the crop size will vary according to type of feed consumed.

Have you cleaned a fryer or roaster? The crop is just a soft sack that expands easily and can be peeled out of its area as the bird is cleaned. Size fits the age of the bird. If the crop does not go down overnight--or becomes oversized (it can stretch enormously)--it is time to check for possible impaction. CJR

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#88622 - 03/17/10 08:32 PM Re: Normal crop function looks like what? [Re: CJR]
Art Ana Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/14/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Montana
Thank you. My hen had her crop emptied by the vet a week ago and has been on soft foods. She is "growing" a large crop again. I took away her food tonight. I guess I will call the vet in the morning and hear what she has to say. I will not likely take the bird back to the vet, but if there are some reasonable options to help this bird out, I want to know. The vet's opinion last week was her crop impaction was not severe but in the moderate range. I thought that would likely mean the function would return to normal, but apparently that isn't happening. At least it isn't sour at this point.

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#88623 - 03/17/10 11:20 PM Re: Normal crop function looks like what? [Re: Art Ana]
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8445
Loc: Montana
Feel the crop gently and see if you can feel food, soft, or other. If it isn't emptying, there may be a problem further down the digestive system. Not much you can do down there.

You can test if food is moving (she may have been extra hungry and just be overeating) by checking the crop in the morning before she has had any food. It should be smaller than when she goes to roost. The crop doubtless was stretched, so she might have trouble emptying. I doubt the vet can do more. You are lucky to even have a vet who "does" poultry! Good luck, CJR

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#88643 - 03/18/10 07:31 PM Re: Normal crop function looks like what? [Re: CJR]
Art Ana Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/14/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Montana
Thanks. She is a greedy hen. She did much better today, but then I had doubled my efforts to give her runny food and to pace her food intake. She only had one slight odd neck movement that now means crop issues to me. There is only so much I can do to mediate the reality of the conditions available to her once she joins the group again.

I felt her crop tonight, and it isn't as bad; but it still has some mass to it. She doesn't want to be in that water tank (empty of water, of course, except for some in a dish), so she will have to rejoin the flock sometime this weekend. She would need to live with the vet and be cleared every few days if her crop and eating habits don't cooperate with each other. The vet does have chickens, which is probably why she treats them (no one else will touch them around here). I may leave a message and offer her the bird in case she has an interest. I will be surprised if this hen's crop will keep up with her intake.


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#88648 - 03/19/10 03:08 AM Re: Normal crop function looks like what? [Re: Art Ana]
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1932
Loc: New Zealand
Cider vinegar in her drinking water might help her break up what is in her crop so it can pass into the gizzard. You can also gently massage the crop and work her stored food up to the opening to her gizzard. Perhaps the stretching of her crop has damaged the muscle movement that pushes food up to the opening.

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#88659 - 03/19/10 02:58 PM Re: Normal crop function looks like what? [Re: Foehn]
Art Ana Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/14/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Montana
So, one massages and pushes UP? I do have apple cider vinegar in her water and add oil to her food. I was hoping since the vet said this was a middle-of-the-road impaction that she would be "cured" after the vet opened her up and removed all the hay in her case. I have a call in describing the recurrence and am wondering if there was anything different to do. I am not quite ready to give up on her, but I don't know if a period much more than the 10 days it will be tomorrow will make any difference.

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#88664 - 03/19/10 05:44 PM Re: Normal crop function looks like what? [Re: Art Ana]
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1932
Loc: New Zealand
Artana, have a look at the physiology of the chicken as seen in this link. Notice how the opening is not at the bottom of the crop and you will see how gentle upward massage can help with the emptying of the crop. Don't force the weight in her crop too high, or she may regurgitate and get food particles in her lungs.

http://www.ca.uky.edu/smallflocks/Factsheets/Anatomy_and_Physiology/Anatomy_respiratory.pdf

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#88697 - 03/23/10 06:17 PM Re: Normal crop function looks like what? [Re: Foehn]
Art Ana Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/14/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Montana
She is back with the flock, and we'll see how she fares. She would rather--not sure what--but she doesn't seem keen on being handled. She is alert and active, but that crop stands out. It seems to easily fill and not easily clear. I have the vinegar in the water for all of them, add oil and try to provide more runny food then usual. This was her second full day back. She now has an odd sound emitting as she breathes. It would be like hearing someone with a chest cold breathe, noisy.

The last two nights she was on the roost. Tonight she has settled into a nest box. I am going to let her stay there. Perhaps the noise attracts the others to peck at her. There is only so much I can offer for accommodations and food offerings for one bird among a flock. She was so agitated being isolated for 12 days that it seemed we had given it our best shot.

Thanks for the lessons on physiology and chicken massage therapy. I have looked and learned, now we'll see if she makes it.

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#88832 - 04/04/10 11:48 AM Re: Normal crop function looks like what? [Re: Art Ana]
Kareema Offline
Chick

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 11
Loc: California
I also have an older (8-9 years old) rescue hen that is acting like she is gagging. I had to rejoin here, so I have been following the advice in this thread while waiting to be approved.

My hen does not have any big lump that I can feel, but she stretches her neck, gapes, then puts her head down and scratches at her beak with her foot. This hen is also greedy and is the lead hen to boot. I am sure you will understand when I say that I have told her a thousand times not to stuff like she does when eating. I have settled on putting vegetable oil in bread crumbs for her, and she seems to be "better," i.e., has her tail up most of the time and seems to care about leading her friends again. I will now go put vinegar in their water and see what happens.

It seems that her obstruction must be farther down, but I will keep massaging her crop periodically during the day. Thanks so much for that illustration. I have a better understanding of what I am trying to accomplish now. She started the gaping behavior about 4 days ago, so I will stick with the program. Any additional advice will be appreciated.

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