Keeping Chickens


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Keeping Chicken – Chicken Sour Crop, Prevention and Treatment

A chicken's crop is just below its neck and at the center of its chest. This is the chicken's food storage and also where the first stage of digestion takes place. Often, a chicken eats more than it could digest, when that happens the chicken develops a sour crop.

Detection and Symptoms

You would know if the chicken has sour crop if there is a bulge at the center of the chest of the chicken (often bigger than a gulf ball) making the chicken very uncomfortable and moving the head in a funny sort of way. When you open the beak, there is often a sour, foul smell. When you touch the chickens crop and there is that hard yet squishy feeling, sour crop is setting in if it is not yet impacted. What complicates this is that even when the chicken appears to be lethargic; it will still try to eat even when the crop is full, then the chicken suffers more.

Prevention of Sour Crop

The crop is a vital organ in chicken that you have to keep a close watch on. As chickens are likely to eat just about anything, sour crop usually occurs. When chickens feed, the crop will normally bulge. But then a healthy chicken with a crop that is working well will have emptied the crop overnight. If the crop has not, there is something wrong with digestion. To aid digestion, the chicken feeds on grits. Grits are bought in any farm and poultry supply store, the grit is then mixed with the chicken feed that aids digestion.

Normally, healthy foraging chickens will swallow small pebbles. They know what to select and what is good for them. However if the chicken is not let out of the coop for long periods, they miss this digestion aids. Another thing that is common to most animals is to eat a particular grass for a particular illness. When the chicken has sour crop, the chicken feels the illness and will forage for grass. This often complicates the sour crop, as long strands of grass are harder to digest.

To prevent the onset of sour crop, check the chickens once in a while as the crops are likely to be empty every morning before they feed. Observe also the kind of grass that the chicken feeds on when they have a sour crop so you can chop the grass into smaller sizes and feed this to the chicken to treat the sour crop or when a similar problem occurs in the future.

Once a month, mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to every liter of water in the chicken's water supply. When you do, buy the vinegar from farm shops and not those sold in the supermarkets.


Hold the chicken upside down to induce vomiting. Massage the crop gently to release the food that is stacked. This should be done with rest times to prevent the chicken from choking and the liquid from entering the respiratory system. Feed the chicken with live yoghurt mixed with chopped grass, pellets and apple cider solution. You may repeat this for a few days until the chicken is relieved.

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