Pendulous Crop

The crop is a muscular bag at the bottom of a hen’s neck which stores feed for the day.

Normal crop function

First thing in the morning the crop should be empty, and will gradually increase in size as the hen eats. In a healthy hen the crop will be roughly the size of a small tangerine when full; the feed will pass out of the crop into the gizzard overnight where it will mix with grit and be ground down before the cycle starts again.

Pendulous, or spastic crop as it is often known, occurs when the crop muscle becomes stretched and the crop will fill to a massive size (Figure 1). Hens usually cope with this condition fairly well, but it can in some cases lead to sour crop. The crop may never return to normal due to the muscle layers being overstretched and damaged.

Symptoms

  • Reduced feed intake.
  • Weight loss.
  • Delayed crop emptying.
  • Massively enlarged pendulous crop.

Causes

  • Excessive water intake.
  • Partial blockage of the gizzard.
  • High consumption of fibrous food.
  • Defect in the crop.

Guidance

Note that this home remedy is not intended to offer a cure or replace veterinary treatment, but may alleviate symptoms where no professional support is easily available. The suggestions are based on experience gained with our own hens.
  • It may be helpful to restrict feed to small meals only.
  • A crop bra may be helpful (a square of material with a tape at each corner which can be secured to provide support).

Prevention

  • Monitor feed and water intake.
  • Act on any abnormalities.
Figure 1: A Pendulous crop
Figure 1: A Pendulous crop

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