Assessing crop fills of your chickens in the brooder

Importance of assessing crop fills of your chickens in the brooder:

Crop fill assessment is one of the measure of determining the comfort of the birds in the brooder.

assessing crop

Crop fill assessment is when a poultry attendant or farmer massages the crop of a chick to determine whether the chicks have familiarized with the feed and water.

Making a crop fill assessment helps us to judge appetite development in the chicks, health and to avoid a compromised growth rate.

It also helps to improve flock growth rate uniformity, and productivity. With a poor crop fill, farmers experience high mortality, poor growth rate, more small and weak chicks.

How is it done?

You know, when you have just introduced chicks in the brooder, we give them clean water which contains glucose. So they have to go for about an hour without feed, but with good quality water that has glucose.

After that one hour, we then introduce feed, where we spread SUPER STARTER PELLETS On the brooder paper for the chicks to start eating.

After about 3 hours in the brooder, we are supposed to sample out chicks from different points of the brooder, and massage their crops to feel if their crops are filled with any content. We are supposed to pick at least 10 chicks from different points of the brooder as we record our findings:

You may find that the crop is hard and full with content that feels like feed on touching. This will mean the chicks have gained access to feed, but cannot access water. This worries!

A rounded, full and soft crop signifies that the chicks have been able to locate feed and water do they are okay.

In some cases, you may find empty crops meaning no feed, no water!

This exercise should be repeated again when birds have made 8 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours and 48 hours.

Results from every crop check should be compared with the first results. We should have an improvement.

You must have more crops filled with both feed and water. So, the crops must be soft, full rounded. This means theres feed, and water. This is safe.

Practicing the following measures below will give you more crops filled with feed and water:

1. Every stage of birds have their own equipment. Using big drinkers and big feeders leads to empty crops. Birds cannot reach the water on big drinkers and they cannot eat from big feeders so you may have more deaths with empty crops.

Use baby drinkers, lower the water lines, touch the nipples and teach the chicks how to drink from the nipples, spread adequate feed (SUPER STARTER PELLET) On the brooder paper.

2. Pre heating the brooder helps chicks to find a comfortable environment for them. Litter should be dry and warm otherwise chicks may just become dull in cold environment and refuse to eat.

3. Replenishing feed and water. Remember you are supposed to put feeds on the brooder paper for the first day, but if you put too much the chicks will just dedicate in the feed. So, put little feed at a time, when they finish it you put another like that, like that....

For water, birds may refuse to drink if the water is too warm! I advise that for manual drinkers, farmers replenish the water every after 8 or 9 hours so you put new one, or for piped water ( nipple lines), farmers should let the water floor out of the nipple pipes every 7 to 8 hours. The same to those using cage brooding. This is done to allow access to new and fresh water.

4. The quality of light in the brooder will determine whether your birds will be able to see feed or not. Your brooder must have a high light intensity enough for the birds to pick feed from the brooder paper always otherwise if they cannot see, they won't eat. Avoid spot lighting in brooder.

5. 90% of the brooder floor should be covered with brooder paper to reduce chances of chicks eating litter And to have more space to put feed.

6. Arrangements of feed and water. Put drinkers away from heat source to avoid water warming up, feed should not be far away from water, better to align the feed and water adjacent but in a straight line.

7. You will need to put more supplementary drinkers than the recommended number, to allow even the weakest chicks to access water.


Full and hard crops are an indicator of constipation on the next day or empty crops is an indicator of likely high mortality rate due to failure of the birds to access feed and water!

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