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What causes sour crop?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi al

Any advice would be helpful on what causes sour crop. I have heard that too much bread causes sour crop, and I would like any advice on this too. Feel free to post your thoughts!     

The key to everything is patience.
You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
Arnold H. Glascow
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The key to everything is patience.
You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
Arnold H. Glascow
Reply
post #2 of 8
Generally, stuff gets stuck in the crop and can’t get out. The chicken mixes some digestive juices with it and it just sets there and goes sour.

The main culprit is usually long strands of something. When a chicken eats grass and weeds when foraging, they break off small bits. When we give them grass or something already cut, they can’t break it into small bits but instead swallow the whole thing. This can get wadded up into a ball in the crop and they just can’t get it down to the gizzard to grind it up. The rule of thumb I’ve seen is that the stuff needs to be less than 2” long, but I’m not sure how reliable that is. Anyway, even longer strands are usually not a problem, but they can be.

This is not always vegetation. They may eat string, plastic, something like that which just can’t get to the gizzard.

Something else that can happen. It’s not real common but it does occasionally happen. For some reason a chicken may eat a whole lot of dirt or sand. I mean they really pack it in there and for some reason it does not move on through their system. I really would not worry about this since it is so rare, but it is a possibility.

Grit will not help a sour or impacted crop. Grit comes into play in the gizzard, which is a lot further down the digestive system. If they don’t have grit or if they swallow something they can’t grind up, it’s possible that long vegetation can get balled up and prevent stuff from moving on through their digestive system. This won’t cause a sour crop but it will slowly starve the chicken to death.

I really truly honestly believe bread will not be the culprit. It does not have the texture to block the exit from the crop.
Edited by Ridgerunner - 1/27/13 at 6:06am

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the info Ridgerunner!  It was really helpful.  Do you or anyone else have any ideas how to actually cure sour crop? 

The key to everything is patience.
You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
Arnold H. Glascow
Reply
The key to everything is patience.
You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
Arnold H. Glascow
Reply
post #4 of 8
I've never had to do it so I can't help you. Sorry.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #5 of 8

It depends on if the sour crop is caused by an impacted crop that has gone sour, which will result in either a hard mass in the crop that smells bad inside the mouth or a hard mass surrounded by softness. Or, the sour crop is caused by a bacterial imbalance which will result in a swollen, soft crop.

 

Make sure you really have a crop probably by checking the bird first thing in the morning or withholding food long enough to determine that the crop has in fact not emptied properly.

 

If it is an impaction you have to find a way to clear it. I would start by isolating the bird and stop feeding any solid foods. Feed olive oil and give massages from the top of the crop downward to try to loosen the mass and get it to pass. If the mass is too large for this to work surgery will be needed. Some people go to the vet and some people (myself included) have done it at home.

 

If it is a bacteria imbalance you get to again isolated and feed a very controlled diet that will help correct this imbalance. I have not personally dealt with this so I do not have a strong recommendation but have seen people use yogurt or monistat successful on the forums.  I would search the threads as there are several good ones.

 

Do you currently have a problem?


Edited by ChickensRDinos - 1/28/13 at 5:39am
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

No, but I used to.  The sour crop never went away, and the chicken died (not because of the sour crop).  Just wanting to be prepared for next time!  thanks for your help goodpost.gif

The key to everything is patience.
You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
Arnold H. Glascow
Reply
The key to everything is patience.
You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
Arnold H. Glascow
Reply
post #7 of 8

I just had a hen die from what I believe was sour crop. Had two hens (Buff Orphingtons) that for a couple of nights were not flying up to the perch, but were instead huddled together on the floor of the coup. Very lethargic, drooping combs.

 

Captured one and put it in a cage by itself with food and water and a bed of hay. Left the other one out to see what would happen.

 

Today noticed the caged one was a bit perkier and had been eating some hen lay. The other one was still sitting in a corner of the coop after I let the rest of the flock out this morning. So I picked her up and put her in another cage, also with hay, food and water.

 

Checked on them several times today. The first hen seeming to be getting better. The other still lethargic.

Finally went out a few minutes ago and the second hen was laying dead in a corner of her cage, with fire ants all over her (something dies around here and within 30 minutes the ants are going to work).

The first hen was standing up in her cage and looking much perkier. She's been in there two or three days and hasn't laid any eggs yet either.

I put some ACV in her water, and then added some to the flock's drinking water.

Now I'm watching another hen that was looking a bit listless (Americana). If she doesn't get up on the perch tonight, I'll gather her up and put her in the "hospital".

post #8 of 8

Well, I'm not so sure it's sour crop after all. This morning I found the Americana hen hunkered down on the floor of the coup, so I picked her up and felt her crop. Felt mushy, empty. But since she wasn't protesting me picking her up, I knew she wasn't well.
 

I took her into the isolation ward of the "hospital" and put her in a cage. I checked her a few minutes later and found she hadn't moved, but seemed to have fallen over on her side. I started to move her, when she began seizing, thrashing, throwing her head back. As first I wasn't sure what was happening so picked her up, and then quickly changed my hold as she lost her bowels and seemed to "throw up" as a clear liquid came out of her beak.

That fast she was dead. Still don't know what happened.

 

Now the first hen is standing up and moving around in her cage. I did try to put her back with the others but she wasn't too perky, so I immediately put her back in her cage where she has her own food and ACV-treated water.

 

Now sure what to do. Sure don't want to see this go through the entire flock.

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