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Crop Sickness 1: Crop Burns

Crop burns normally occur in baby birds when they are manually fed with food that is too hot. Bird owners, especially newbies, are often misled with falseful information about water temperature (too hot) for mixing the baby powdered formula, or when the mixed formula is heated in the microwave.

Do not microwave!!! The temperature of microwave-heated food will be very uneven, there will be "hot-spots" and therefore it will be difficult to accurately evaluate the temperature, leading to crop burns easily.

The severity of the burn and the bird’s reaction vary greatly. Some birds become ill from the tissue damage and may die despite intensive care. Other birds have no signs and the burn is only detected when either food or a hole is noticed in the area of the crop.

If the burn is mild, swelling and redness will appear on the surface of the skin within several hours to days. Mild burns may be treated with antibiotics and topical ointments (under veterinarian instruction only). If the burn is severe, the chick may be very ill, refuse subsequent feedings, and need immediate veterinary care. Severe burns require life-saving supportive care, and later surgery to repair the damage.

For information on proper preparation of baby powdered formula and feeding instructions, please read Baby Bird Feeding Q&A.

Coming soon: Crop Sickness 2: Sour Crop.

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