Shown is a pattern to make a crop bra. You can find the Vet Wrap or Co-Flex at most feed stores. It is a very thin flexible self adhesive bandaging material. Use sharp scissors to cut the material to size. The size shown is ‘an approx. for 2 1/2 to 3 week old babies.
Before you begin check to make sure that the crop is empty before fitting the crop bra to the bird. If there is old or sour food in the crop you need to empty this out of the crop. An empty crop also reduces any risk of aspirating the chick, especially if it is struggling while fitting the crop bra.
I’ve found that sometimes the bandage doesn’t want to stay self adhered where pressed together. Then I will just loosely tie and knot the straps. First tie the long straps (which are the long parts of the H) under and behind the wings. The bottom part will be resting on the abdomen area, right behind the crop by a 1/2" Do not tie too tight. You just want it snug. Next tie off the front straps in front of the shoulder and at the base of the back of the neck, leaving just enough slack to form a slight sling where the crop area is at. You want the bra fitted so that it will hold the crop tissue up above the opening into the body at the base of the crop.
Let the baby get used to this before you feed him. I have seen babies fight it and flip over backwards and look like bucking bronco's until they are used to this.
You will not be feeding as much as you normally do. The first few days you will be feeding less but more often. The goal is to have good digestion and to support the stretched crop skin so that it can start shrinking back to normal. If the crop is not fully emptying between feedings, empty what you can before feeding fresh food. *Special Note:* When you have an overstretched crop never use ACV (vinegar) as a flush or in the formula. The acidity tends to hinder the tissues from shrinking.
As the baby grows check the tightness of the ties. Adjust if needed. If the baby is growing quickly cut and fit a new crop bra. Some babies only need the bra for a week, some take 2 weeks or more to have the crop tissue go back to normal. For the first few days after the crop bra is removed try to feed less more often so that you don’t stretch the healed tissue.
You will notice that the crop is working fine because if you watch it you will notice it moving and churning the food. This is called peristaltic actions or waves. What is going on is the muscles are churning the food to deliver it into the cervical esophagus which is the opening to the digestive tract at the base of the crop. Movement should be noted every 10-15 sec. The crop itself is simply a reservoir for holding food.
When the chick isnt digesting food and the food is just sitting in the bottom of the crop, not going through the digestive tract. The bra lifts the crop and alighns it with the gut to keep the food on the the same level helping with digestion.