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Health > Digestive System

Digestive System


This category contains information about the digestive system and the parasites and diseases that affect our poultry. Examples are problems with the crop, such as impaction (blockage), diarrhoea and internal parasites such as worms.

Including drugs often used for treatment and health products that can keep your birds digestive system in good shape.

General Information and Disorders

General information and disorders within the digestive system of our poultry.

Impacted Crop

The crop is part of the oesophagus (food pipe) at the base of the neck and is the first stage of digestion for a chicken,

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Chicken with Pendulous Crop

Pendulous Crop

You can feel a chicken’s crop on the lower part of her neck when it’s full after eating. It will empty overnight, but if it becomes blocked, a condition called pendulous crop can occur. 

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Sour Crop in Chickens

A fungal yeast causes sour crop in chickens. It is identified by a putrid smell coming up from the crop and out of the chicken’s mouth. Treatment of sour crop is necessary to prevent serious illness.

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Internal Parasites

Internal parasites that cause problems in the digestive system of our poultry. For Gapeworm (which infects the respiratory tract), see the Respiratory Problems Category.

Coccidiosis in Chickens

Coccidiosis in Chickens

Coccidiosis in chickens is fairly common, so when we find our birds with loose droppings and a depressed appearance, the first disease that springs to mind is coccidiosis, but what exactly is coccidiosis and how does it affect our birds?

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Roundworm in Chickens

Chicken Roundworms or Ascarida Galli

Chicken Roundworms are 5 to 8cm long and live in the middle part of a bird’s intestine. Bad infestations usually occur when birds are kept in intensive conditions on dirty litter or in runs that have been used for many years.

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Many different tapeworm species affect poultry, although they are not often found, and thankfully, most of them are completely harmless.

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Treating Internal Parasites

Information about treating internal parasites. The advice used to be to routinely worm birds, these days, with drug resistance, it is advisable to test for worms and only treat when necessary. If we are regularly testing, we can also take a holistic approach with products such as Verm-X and check our birds are worm-free!

Worming Ducks

Worming Ducks

Ducks can carry worms, just like other poultry. Worming ducks (or de-worming, as some people say) is not difficult using a suitable worming product, but whether you need to worm ducks is often a question that comes up.

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My recommendations

If you would like a good reference book on poultry health, these are the books I would recommend.

Spring Worming

Springtime Worming

During the spring, poultry worms start to increase in numbers as the temperature holds above 10°C. It is a good idea to have a plan for springtime worming.

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Coxoid Oral Solution

Coxoid – Used To Treat Coccidiosis

Coxoid is a medication that vets will sometimes suggest to control coccidiosis in chickens. It is a relatively common disease, and Coxoid has been used by vets ‘off label’ because it isn’t licensed for use in food-producing animals.

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Keeping the Digestive System Healthy

Prevention is always better than cure, so good husbandry, maintaining good biosecurity, and quarantining new birds you bring in to your flock should be your aim. Using the correct (dust free) bedding material and keeping your chickens healthy can also help.    

poultry grit

Poultry Grit

In this article, you will learn about the purposes of the two different types of poultry grit and how you can feed these together as

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Garlic For Chickens

Garlic for Chickens

In European countries where they consume large amounts of garlic in their diets, they have a lower risk of cancer and are less likely to suffer from heart disease, but what about garlic for chickens?

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Verm-X pellets and liquid

Verm-X for Chickens

How good is Verm-X for chickens? Verm-X comes in a liquid or pelleted formulation and I tried it out over 6 months, but how can you be sure it’s working?

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Health: Categories

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External Problems

External Problems

Feathers, beak, skin, scales, spurs, eyes, comb, nails, legs and wings. Problems such as lameness, feather loss, external parasite infestation, frostbite, blindness, cuts and wounds.

Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory System

Respiratory problems including Avian Influenza, Aspergillosis, Gapeworm, Infectious Bronchitis and Mycoplasma.


Digestive System

Typical digestive system problems include internal parasites, loss of appetite, swollen crop, bad or sweet-smelling breath, diarrhoea, or messy bottoms.

Reproductive System

Reproductive System

Reproductive system problems include egg-laying problems (but not egg problems) in chickens and other poultry.

Wrinked Egg

Egg Quality

Common quality problems with eggs, such as soft or missing eggshells, wrinkled or misshaped eggs, watery whites, double yolks or blood spots.

Skeletal and Muscular problems

Skeletal, Muscular & Nervous System

Skeletal, muscular and nervous system problems.

Diseases such as Marek’s or Toxoplasmosis.

Cardiovascular and Organs

Cardiovascular & Organs

Diseases and disorders relating to major organs or the cardiovascular system include acute heart failure and Avian Leukosis.


Every effort has been made to provide accurate information about poultry diseases and illnesses, and it is provided in good faith; however, content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. Reliance on any information provided on this website is solely at your own risk.