Now, if you google the treatment of sour crop, you will notice there are 2 distinct sides to its treatment..vomit, or don't vomit. Some websites are all about helping your chick throw up the food stuck in its crop while others are very against even the idea of it. Me? I don't know..when I hear something could be fatal, I'm very cautious..BUT, that being said, I'm also desperate to make the situation better and not worse. So this is what I did:
Day 1 (Thursday): Isolated my chick to her own brooder box, not because she's infectious but because I wanted to remove food from her diet, watch her water intake, make sure she was pooping frequently and also to give her space to rest and get better. She was drinking a lot, very alert, pooping like crazy and wanting to eat. I took these all as good signs but her crop was still very enlarged so I took her out and massaged her crop for 20 minutes and then convinced my husband to hold her upside down to see if any vomit would come out - and nothing happened. We tried about 4-5 times to see what would happen...and nothing
Day 2 (Friday): Woke up to find my baby still doing very well but still had quite the bulge. She needed fresh water so I moved her to the regular brooder while I freshened up her space and while she was there, went crazy for the food!! And again, crop was a very large bubble. But I separated her immediately, massaged her crop for 1/2 hr and then put her back in to her brooder with ACV water and let her rest. A few hours later I came back in and massaged her crop again for another 1/2 hour. I knew this must have felt amazing because she would snuggle right in and fall fast asleep as soon as I would massage it. While massaging, I could feel grit and food in her crop and would notice little bubbles that would sometimes make her burb (further confirmation of sour crop) and put her back in to rest.
Day 3 (Saturday): Woke up and was scared to see what I would find...went down to her brooder and...she was back to normal! Not allowing new food allowed her crop to heal and get the fermented food down to the rest of her system. But, to err on the side of caution, I am keeping her isolated for now just to give her enough time to fully heal before reintroducing her to food and the other chicks. But, as per my google research, I fed her a tablespoon of plain probiotic yogurt and she ate it right up! This will be easy for her crop to process and will give her nutrients she needs while also providing healthy cultures to help rid her of the fermented food in her crop. I did notice that her crop went up again after she ate but this is a normal occurence for chickens during the day while they eat and I will continue to monitor her for another day or two to see what happens. So far, so good though!
Day 4 (Today): This morning I went & checked on my baby and although she had a little ball in her crop - I felt she had made an amazing recovery! I put her in with the other chicks and, of course, she went straight for the food! I knew she was hungry but I am still very cautious. When I lifted her up she had a very hard ball of food in her crop, which worried me, so I massaged her til she fell asleep and put her back in isolation, just to see if she processes this food on her own. So far, so good!!
Now, all birds are different. Some will have puffy chests/crops (as does this little lady above) but there is a huge difference in a healthy crop and one that is enlarged. If they are experiencing crop issues, you will know by the distinct bubble that will exist on their right hand side of the breast bone. It will feel like a water balloon and although I don't know if it is painful for them, it can be fatal if not taken care of. At this time, I am super relieved to see such progress in my little girl but am hesitant to get too excited just yet. I won't be fully confident until she is 100% better and able to eat and process her food normally. And the craziest part of all of this? I didn't even know what a chicken crop was til 3 days ago!! Amazing what you can learn in just a few days..