Hen with large, soft, squishy crop... Sour crop? Something else?

Oct 14, 2018
Upstate New York
Hello BYC friends,

I've just isolated an approximately 2 y.o. hen that is lethargic. Her eyes are bright, she is breathing fine. While I was holding her, examining her crop, it feels large (as in expanded), soft, and squishy. Almost not like a crop at all, but more like just her tissue if that makes sense. While I was rubbing her crop gently, she opened her beak, made a "hiccup" sound and out came a bit of tomato and a few bits of grain. I continued to massage her crop (even though it doesn't feel like a crop!) and occasionally she made the "hiccup" sound and kept her beak open for a bit. Her breathing does not seem labored to me.

I've read a posted article on this forum about sour crop and about impacted crop. Since her crop is not hard I imagine it's not impacted. But I am uncertain, does large (like expanded) soft, and squishy sound like sour crop?

Can you offer ideas about what could be ailing her... sour crop, or something else?

Thanks kindly!


Aug 27, 2018
Southern Chester County, PA
Definitely sour crop. If she's not impacted she will probably be fine. If she is having trouble breathing or is in distress, there is a way to burp her IF she wants to cooperate. If she doesn't let go, though, it can make the situation worse. For just sour crop I would leave her isolated with NutriDrench handy and limited feed access. If her breath gets nasty, give her some antibiotics, that's a true "sour" crop, meaning it's infected. Be careful and keep an eye on her, injury with sour crop can cause the crop to go pendulous, which means it gets stuck in that expanded state and makes the breast saggy. I have a Cochin like that. Pendulous crop is prone to infections and I understand rather painful, though my Cochin doesn't seem to mind. Good luck, I have lost 3 in 1.5 years to crop impaction (2) and obstruction (1), and saved 1. Crop issues are awful.

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