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Slow crop: emptying the crop without special equipment

25837 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  tielfan
In cases of slow crop or sour crop, old undigested food has to be removed from the crop before remedies can be applied. The links in our sticky on feeding problems and development issues at talk about flushing out the crop using a catheter or feeding tube, but there is another technique for emptying the crop that doesn’t require any expertise or special equipment. The rest of this article consists of comments made by srtiels in the thread at with edits for clarity in brackets [ ].

If there is old food in the crop it has to be emptied (hold baby with head facing down and massage food out of the crop) out before any new food is put in the crop.

You would hold the bird head facing down, and massage/work from the base of the crop to help to push the food out of the crop and mouth. Have a Q-tip ready to wipe out any excess formula in the mouth...if needed. I hold the baby over the sink, my hand wrapped around the shoulders and body with the head facing towards the sink. Not upside down like it’s on it's back but upside down meaning the head is facing downward.

[The hand position] is the same position as if you were holding the mouse of your computer....meaning your palm is over the back of the bird and your fingers wrapping around the body. Hold the bird with the head facing downwards....then push/massage food up the neck/throat starting at the base of the crop.

[If it is difficult to empty the crop] you can carefully feed 1-2cc of AS [Alka Seltzer] or water. This will thin down the crop contents some so that they are easier to massage out. [If you see bubbles] in the crop it is because the food is soured and fermenting.

If you are unsure how to empty the crop you might phone around to see if a breeder or a shop owner can show you how and empty the crop the first time. An experienced person may also have a tube to go into the crop and suck out the contents.

Once the crop is empty you will want to do the Alka Selzter (AS) as in the link: [This link also includes the recipe for the spice mix mentioned later in this paragraph.] Let the baby digest 1-2cc of the AS water. Then feed 1/2 of [the amount of formula] you normally feed with a pinch of the spice mix added.

Do the half feeding until you get good crop emptying. Once you know the crop is emptying then you can go back to feeding the [normal amount of] 10% of body weight. I'd use the spice mix for a week.

Baking soda [is an alternative to the Alka Seltzer]. Go with 1 tsp. of baking soda dissolved in 4 oz. of warm water.

[If the formula is coming out] but it still feels like there is something in the crop this could be yeast building up on the inside wall of the crop thickening the skin.

If you do the AS or baking soda let the chick digest some of this first to help clear out the intestines of old or harmful food in the digestive tract. The feed 1/2 the [normal amount of formula] with yogurt and spice mix mixed in.

[If this does not solve the problem] there is one thing that will get movement in the intestinal tract....which is Sub-Q (subcutaneous) fluids. (Must get supplies from a vet, and have them show you).

[If] you have any 'human' antibiotics on hand... especially Keflex in capsule form, I have found this antibiotic is great with babies having crop problems.
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