by Carmen
(Somers, CT)

My Sussex has a very large crop. I isolated her last night with only apple cider vinager and water in her dog crate in the coop with the other 6 three month old hens. Poop is a mixture of runny and normal right now. Other than her large crop and a bit of a twitch she's otherwise normal. How long should she be isolated?

Thank you,



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by: Sharon

Not enough information here to tell you what to do next.

Is her crop hard feeling? You may need to massage the contents to help liquefy a solid mass so it can pass on through the digestive system.

Is her crop mushy feeling? Is there a stretched out bottom of the crop that doesn't empty over night? There are actually "crop bras" for chickens that help hold up the bottom of a stretched out crop, so it can empty.

Is her crop inflated with gasses, making it feel like a balloon? This is a sign of a slow crop - contents not emptying over night & fermenting with yeasts that create gasses.

The only reason to isolate her would be to fast from dry feed and seeds so the old crop contents can fully empty. Her crop should feel empty every morning after she has had about 8 hours of sleep. If it doesn't empty, any one or a combination of the three things I mentioned above could be the problem.

It's vital that whenever chickens have access to dry feed and seeds that they also have access to fresh water. Too much dry feed and not enough water, even for a few hours, can cause an impacted crop - a big lump of feed to solid to digest.

I had one older hen in my flock, a few years ago, that seemed never to have an empty crop, even first thing in the morning. Her crop seemed to have been permanently stretched out, so the bottom of her crop hung below the normal emptying point. I chose to leave her with the flock and do nothing special for her and she was fine.

With a young hen, I would try to get the crop to empty, as above. You don't want her crop to be permanently stretched out as this can leave old crop contents too long, leading to a chronic case of sour crop. In the worst case of this problem, rotting crop contents can actually eat through the crop tissues. BUT THIS DOESN'T USUALLY HAPPEN.

I don't know what all your chickens eat. As chickens mature, they prefer a good percentage of greens in their diet. If you can free range them where they have access to grasses and plants, that's best. A diet that is totally or mostly processed feeds is not natural for chickens and can cause health problems, especially in the crop.

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