Got Chronic Sour Crop That Seems Untreatable? Please Read This And Consider This Option...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by TwoCrows, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    I have been getting a lot of Private Messages from peeps here with birds that have chronic cases of sour crop....crops that just don't heal after long treatments. Now, this does not pertain to birds that have slow/sour crops due to other health issues where sour crop is a secondary problem, nor does it pertain to birds that are on the edge of death. (sour crops are quite common in birds near death) This is for those birds that really do just have a slow or sour crop that just will not respond to any treatment.

    As for all the peeps that have been pm'ing me, I am finding that there is a LOT of this going around these days. Crops that just won't heal. I have a hen that had a very chronic case of slow and sour crop for nearly 2 years, starting at 6 months of age. I suspected the feed as the culprit, but because none of the other birds seemed effected, I came to the conclusion that she had some internal issue going on. I was able to keep her going over the 2 years, but not without constant attention to her crop. I tried different feeds over these 2 years and sometimes she seemed to be much better, but always relapsed.

    So I started to do a lot of research on chicken feed and the ingredients in it and how it is produced. And I have since learned that chicken feed makers not only are constantly changing their feeds, but they are switching over from corn as being the main ingredient, to using field peas. Of course this is being done not necessarily for the health of chickens, but because of cost. Field peas are actually good for chickens as they contain an easy to break down and a usable protein, many trace minerals and vitamins, but they also tend to slow down the digestive process in the intestines. This is actually a good thing as it gives the chicken time to absorb nutrients that otherwise move very fast thru the intestinal tract and do not get absorbed.

    But some birds already have slow moving intestinal tract to begin with. And it is these birds that can not tolerate field peas. And so what happens is, they eat this feed, the crop starts to move at a crawl, and before you know it, the bird has a sour crop. So no matter how much treatment you give to the bird, the crop remains slow and sour. And just because only one of your chickens is having this issue, doesn't meant the rest will either.

    But back to these peeps pm'ing me, when ever I have them stop feeding the layer feed for a few days, feeding the bird some rice, hard boiled eggs, meat scraps, etc...the bird heals within days. When the bird is put back on the feed, the crop relapses. Then a permanent feed change heals the crop up quick.

    So I want people out there with a chronic case of sour crop to be aware of this feed issue. Field peas are becoming the norm now. Some people may chose to put the bird down in this case instead of going further with healing the bird. But for those that want to save their favorite bird, consider a feed change. Read the label to see if it might break down the grain products the feed is made from. Some manufacturers do break it down, some don't. See if you can find a feed that uses corn instead of field peas. I had to switch to homemade chicken feed to save my sick bird. She is my favorite hen and I just couldn't stand to see her sick anymore. She healed up immediately and has not had a single episode in 9 months now, (she is 3 years old now) where as before, she could barely go 2 weeks without needing a vomiting.

    If no other treatments seem to work after weeks of treatment, consider a feed change. [​IMG]
     
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  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Lots of sour crops out there these days. I am bringing this post back up because it does not show in the archives unless it has been posted to. I want people to know their options in case they just can't heal those slow and sour crops. And I hope my posting here today will get it into the archives. :)

    Remember, this is not for sick or dying birds. Only those with a simple case of slow or sour crop. :)
     
  3. ewelch

    ewelch Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for this information! I have found your other article on sour/slow crop super helpful.

    We have a hen who has had this issue for about 3 weeks now. The crop improves, but seems to retain some fluid, even when everything else is emptied. We are about out of options, having tried everything. I had to reintroduce feed because she was becoming nutrient deficient and thin. I boil it first to soften it, and mix it with her sour crop medication (Monistat) as well as cayenne and olive oil. She just doesn't seem to be improving. We had her off of her feed for about a week, giving her scrambled eggs, garlic, whatever she would eat that didn't contain grains or sugar. Eventually though she was becoming weak, and I knew she needed the balanced vitamins and minerals in her feed.

    I know for a fact her feed contains corn though, not field peas. I am considering changing it anyway, for lack of other explanations. Is there a brand you recommend?

    Thanks!
     
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  4. rottlady

    rottlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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  5. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I guess I am lucky that my feed is locally made 10 minutes from my house...I and people local to me, do not encounter Crop issues with feed..Very interesting information.
    My feed has all ingredients listed...Never field peas.....I will be asking at the feed lot next time I go in....

    Cheers!
     
  6. rottlady

    rottlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 9 birds all are well except Fluffy and her crop They eat Nutrena Feather Fixer mixed 50/50 with Multi Flock plus Manna pro omega egg maker

    My SIL has 23 birds same building they eat blue seal extra egg and free range no issues
     
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Make sure you have ruled out everything else before you suspect feed. Worms and Coccidiosos will definitely slow the waste exiting the vent and of course anything that slows the movement of food will cause yeast to form in the crop and lead to sour crop. Once you are sure nothing is slowing the food down, (not only worms or cocci, but water belly, distended liver, Enteritis. egg binding etc....) then a feed change is definitely recommended. Birds can have issues with certain feeds, just as humans and other animals do.
     
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  8. ewelch

    ewelch Out Of The Brooder

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    @TwoCrows just yesterday and the day before, she woke up with a completely empty crop. With the crop being emptied properly for 48 hours, we moved her back into the coop with the other hens. She was normal yesterday after being in the coop and eating the feed. Now, this morning, before eating, her crop was full and squishy again. I massaged it and she vomited up a small amount of liquid, though I didn't force anything further. Both days, we soaked the hens feed overnight before giving it to them. I am wondering if the soaked feed is causing her flare ups?

    Previously, we were just giving them dry feed. Before the first time she got sour crop, we had just started soaking their feed. While she was separated, she didn't have soaked feed, only boiled, which wouldn't have given yeast or bacteria a chance to ferment her feed.

    She doesn't show any other symptoms besides the slow/sour crop. She poops normally and frequently, we haven't seen any other signs of coccidiosis or worms. She's chipper, alert, feisty, and active. She lost weight during the 3 weeks she had her sour crop, but I would have expected that as we were limiting her food quite a bit to help her crop empty.

    She shows no signs of ascites, peritonitis, egg bound, etc. she stopped laying eggs about 3 days after she first came down with sour crop, I expect because we limited her feed. She hasn't laid again yet, but she's only just gotten back to a normal feed amount/schedule.

    Not sure what else to try... frustrating finding her with a full, squishy crop again this morning.
     
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    I have found that birds that have "on again off again" full crop usually have a Coccidiosis problem, at least this is what I have noticed in my flock. Cocci can be hard to diagnose as many times there are no signs in the poop what so ever. There are many strains of Cocci and each one will cause different symptoms or none at all.

    Another thing that can cause an on again off again full crop is sweet foods...(watermelon, raisins, sweet breads, berries, dried fruits, etc....) too much of these can cause crop issues in certain birds that are sensitive to them. I have a hen that always wakes up with something in her crop the day after she has eaten raisins or dried cherries!

    But in your case, if the sweet foods is not the issue, you MIGHT try some Corid for a week and see if this doesn't cure her crop issues? Give her belly a good feel too to make sure she doesn't have any water on the belly, feeling like a water balloon. (compare her's to another hens belly). Feel between the legs too, the liver is between the legs and you shouldn't be able to feel it on the outside. If the bird turns up well for either of these issues and the bird has recently been wormed, I would try the Corid.

    On the note of Coccidiosis...lots of cases of Cocci this year, even in my own flock. In the past 6 years, I have never had to deal with a single case of Cocci, including chicks, however I had 2 outbreaks this year alone. Cocci is on the rise possibly due to climate change. Seems like all the bugs were out of control this year.

    Good luck and keep us posted!
     
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  10. ewelch

    ewelch Out Of The Brooder

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    @TwoCrows this is great information, thank you! Actually, she DID have some raspberries from our raspberry bush yesterday! She free ranged with the other hens for about 2 hours, and amazingly, due to the weather that raspberry bush is still producing. I witnessed her jump up and eat about 4 berries, one of which was slightly old looking and may have had mold.

    I actually had the thought yesterday while seeing her eat the berries that they may cause her sour crop to return, so I distracted her from them, but she'd already gotten some. It seems crazy because she ate them all summer without problem, but maybe these ones are starting to ferment or get moldy.

    I haven't felt her belly for a few days, but I was checking it regularly during her hospital stay inside with us to make sure fluid wasn't building up.

    We do have corrid in our chicken first aid kit, so I may try a round of that if she doesn't clear up soon.

    Your information sparked something for me with the raspberries. I won't let her out to free range today, hopefully she passes what's already in there and her crop clears up quick.

    Is there a specific worming medication you would recommend? Buckbeak, our sour crop chicken, has never been wormed. We give all the birds cayenne and garlic on the regular to help protect against worms naturally, but we have another hen, Merry, that seems to be having trouble pooping (she only has tiny poops, and looks to be straining to get them out) and hasn't been laying (but also just finished molting so we were blaming the lack of eggs on that). We have wondered if maybe Merry has worms. She doesn't show any other signs of worms though like weight loss or being lethargic, she's as active as ever, just not pooping well and not laying eggs.

    Thank you so, so much. Your information and other posts on this topic have really helped us out during this time period. Buckbeak is our favorite hen so this has been a little difficult for us.
     

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