Crop fill is an important tool for farmers to assess the success of the transition to the barn and helps to indicate if the birds have found their comfort zone and are finding feed and water. Crop fill can be assessed within the first day and after 24 hours. Chicks eat approximately every two to three hours, so the level of crop fill across the flock will increase over the first 24 hours. Within 24 hours, between 90-100% of the birds should have full crops.
Birds should also be assessed in different regions of the barn to gauge flock uniformity.
Not only is crop fill important, but the texture of the crop is also very relevant. When the crop is full of feed and water, it should feel soft and pliable – almost like porridge. If the flock crop fill is low, or if the texture is more like bedding, then this can be an indication that the flock is sick or not in their comfort zone.