Hen with Sour crop... Advise

colette peters

Songster
Aug 25, 2017
264
319
152
Fairfax, California
Hi-
I have 13 healthy hens. And my 6month old hen who does lay, but I’m pretty sure in the last week she has not layed.

I noticed she was sleepy and lethargic and come to look at her closer I noticed a very squishy ballon like crop. With surprise i felt her crop, it was so liquidie and I smelled her beak and omg yuck! Sour crop? I did the procedure to throw her up and was successful. Got so much fluid out. Repeat three more times. Gave her a rest.
After that session She started as her usual self with her flock. And at night she went into her coop as usual. In the am right away I felt her crop again and it was a ballon. Threw her up, this time not as much. Afterwards I gave her a small syringe of olive oil to see if it helped. Not much change in her personality or her crop. Still like a water ballon.
I do notice she does this gagging motion and when I try to vomit her again I’m not successful with anything coming out.

Cut too day 4 now, and not much has changed. I don’t see her poooing or drinking. Just pecking at the ground grazing around.
She still comes out everyday with her sisters. But her crop is still squishy.
She’s not sleepy or lethargic so I’m kinda confused on what’s happening. Any suggestions. Tomorrow I’m plannning a vet visit. But advise could be of help before I go.
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
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Jun 23, 2013
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I read not to make them vomit for fear of aspiration. Hears what I have in my notes....
Sour Crop - Ketoconazole, Nystain, Monistat, lotrimine, miconazole; 1/4” 2x day for 7 days

Is she eating/drinking/pooping?
Have you checked her crop in the morning if it's empty, full at night before bed?

Another reading from my notes:

CHICKEN - Crop DisordersDiagnosing the crop disorderA hen is behaving lethargically, not eating much, if at all, but she has a full crop. This is the first sign something's not right. The full crop points to this hen having crop issues and not being sick for some other reason such as a bacterial infection, which would result in loss of appetite and empty crop.

Before you treat for a crop issue, though, you need to verify that your hen or roo actually has a crop issue and whether it's sour crop or impacted crop or both. So you need to monitor the crop overnight, checking the condition before bedtime, and first thing in the morning before your patient eats anything.

Sour crop
A crop that is still full in the morning has issues. So, is the issue sour crop? If the crop feels squishy and full of liquid, it's likely sour crop. If there's an odor coming from the head of the chicken that smell similar to sauerkraut, then you are probably dealing with sour crop. The cause is a yeast called Candida albicans.

Impacted crop
If the crop is extremely full and hard, or perhaps lumpy, and maybe feels like it's full of fibrous material, you are probably looking at impacted crop. If the chicken has been drinking lots of water, yet not eating anything, this is further indication of impacted crop.

Impacted crop/sour crop
If the crop is full and hard and lumpy and the chicken has been drinking lots of water and it smells like sauerkraut, you likely have an impacted crop that has developed a yeast infection. You will be treating the impacted crop first, followed by treatment for the yeast infection.

Treatment for impacted crop
I use coconut oil for the ease in administering it. When chilled, it is solid and easy to break into small chunks and slip into the beak of the patient without creating a huge mess or getting oil into the airway. You want to measure two teaspoons for an adult chicken and one teaspoon for a baby chick.

After getting the oil into the patient, you want to massage the crop gently in a circular and slightly upward motion. This will direct the contents toward the crop "drain". Massage for five to ten minutes. If the crop refuses to empty, repeat the oil and massage again in 30 minutes. If the crop still refuses to empty, then give a stool softener such as Dulcolax (docusate sodium). Wait 30 minutes and massage the crop. The crop should empty. Add more oil if it doesn't and massage again. This should do it.

Treatment for sour crop
I advise against trying to make your chicken vomit because it may cause them to aspirate the sour liquid. Besides, it's very unpleasant for your hen, and she may hate you if you do it. (Curiously, most sour crop victims are hens.)

Nystatin is the best treatment for yeast infections, but it requires a prescription. Or you can try to locate medistatin which is for birds and doesn't require a prescription.

The easiest (and cheapest) to obtain yeast treatment, though, is miconazole, found on the women's hygiene shelf in the pharmacy. You can use either the suppositories or the vaginal cream. Measure a quarter inch of suppository or about half an inch of cream and give orally twice a day for seven days. Do not stop treatment before the full seven days are completed or the yeast may return.

Following treatment for sour crop, offer plenty of plain fresh water and boiled egg to get the crop operating again. I like to also give a probiotic or Greek yogurt to restore good microbes in crop and intestines.

Pendulous crop
If you have treated for these crop issues and the crop still refuses to empty by morning, the hen may have a condition called pendulous crop. This is caused by poor muscle tone that causes the crop to sag and the contents are below the crop "drain" so the crop doesn't fully empty. The solution is a crop bra.
 
Last edited:

Wyorp Rock

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I noticed she was sleepy and lethargic and come to look at her closer I noticed a very squishy ballon like crop. With surprise i felt her crop, it was so liquidie and I smelled her beak and omg yuck! Sour crop?

6month old hen who does lay, but I’m pretty sure in the last week she has not layed.

Often times there is an underlying condition that is causing the symptom of a crop issue. Reproductive problems, worms, coccidiosis and infection are common causes.
Since the crop is still sour and ballooning even after you have vomited her, you need to treat the source -or at least part of the problem - usually yeast. You can use over the counter yeast medication as outlined in the article below or since you have a vet visit tomorrow, he/she will likely prescribe something like Nystatin.
Either way, you need to have a fecal float to check for worms and coccidiosis too. Feel her abdomen for bloat/swelling or fluid as well since she is not laying - she could have reproductive problem too.

Read the following article, let us know what you think
https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...w-to-know-which-one-youre-dealing-with.73607/
 

colette peters

Songster
Aug 25, 2017
264
319
152
Fairfax, California
Often times there is an underlying condition that is causing the symptom of a crop issue. Reproductive problems, worms, coccidiosis and infection are common causes.
Since the crop is still sour and ballooning even after you have vomited her, you need to treat the source -or at least part of the problem - usually yeast. You can use over the counter yeast medication as outlined in the article below or since you have a vet visit tomorrow, he/she will likely prescribe something like Nystatin.
Either way, you need to have a fecal float to check for worms and coccidiosis too. Feel her abdomen for bloat/swelling or fluid as well since she is not laying - she could have reproductive problem too.

Read the following article, let us know what you think
https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...w-to-know-which-one-youre-dealing-with.73607/
I
Often times there is an underlying condition that is causing the symptom of a crop issue. Reproductive problems, worms, coccidiosis and infection are common causes.
Since the crop is still sour and ballooning even after you have vomited her, you need to treat the source -or at least part of the problem - usually yeast. You can use over the counter yeast medication as outlined in the article below or since you have a vet visit tomorrow, he/she will likely prescribe something like Nystatin.
Either way, you need to have a fecal float to check for worms and coccidiosis too. Feel her abdomen for bloat/swelling or fluid as well since she is not laying - she could have reproductive problem too.

Read the following article, let us know what you think
https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...w-to-know-which-one-youre-dealing-with.73607/
I read not to make them vomit for fear of aspiration. Hears what I have in my notes....
Sour Crop - Ketoconazole, Nystain, Monistat, lotrimine, miconazole; 1/4” 2x day for 7 days

Is she eating/drinking/pooping?
Have you checked her crop in the morning if it's empty, full at night before bed?

Another reading from my notes:

CHICKEN - Crop DisordersDiagnosing the crop disorderA hen is behaving lethargically, not eating much, if at all, but she has a full crop. This is the first sign something's not right. The full crop points to this hen having crop issues and not being sick for some other reason such as a bacterial infection, which would result in loss of appetite and empty crop.

Before you treat for a crop issue, though, you need to verify that your hen or roo actually has a crop issue and whether it's sour crop or impacted crop or both. So you need to monitor the crop overnight, checking the condition before bedtime, and first thing in the morning before your patient eats anything.

Sour crop
A crop that is still full in the morning has issues. So, is the issue sour crop? If the crop feels squishy and full of liquid, it's likely sour crop. If there's an odor coming from the head of the chicken that smell similar to sauerkraut, then you are probably dealing with sour crop. The cause is a yeast called Candida albicans.

Impacted crop
If the crop is extremely full and hard, or perhaps lumpy, and maybe feels like it's full of fibrous material, you are probably looking at impacted crop. If the chicken has been drinking lots of water, yet not eating anything, this is further indication of impacted crop.

Impacted crop/sour crop
If the crop is full and hard and lumpy and the chicken has been drinking lots of water and it smells like sauerkraut, you likely have an impacted crop that has developed a yeast infection. You will be treating the impacted crop first, followed by treatment for the yeast infection.

Treatment for impacted crop
I use coconut oil for the ease in administering it. When chilled, it is solid and easy to break into small chunks and slip into the beak of the patient without creating a huge mess or getting oil into the airway. You want to measure two teaspoons for an adult chicken and one teaspoon for a baby chick.

After getting the oil into the patient, you want to massage the crop gently in a circular and slightly upward motion. This will direct the contents toward the crop "drain". Massage for five to ten minutes. If the crop refuses to empty, repeat the oil and massage again in 30 minutes. If the crop still refuses to empty, then give a stool softener such as Dulcolax (docusate sodium). Wait 30 minutes and massage the crop. The crop should empty. Add more oil if it doesn't and massage again. This should do it.

Treatment for sour crop
I advise against trying to make your chicken vomit because it may cause them to aspirate the sour liquid. Besides, it's very unpleasant for your hen, and she may hate you if you do it. (Curiously, most sour crop victims are hens.)

Nystatin is the best treatment for yeast infections, but it requires a prescription. Or you can try to locate medistatin which is for birds and doesn't require a prescription.

The easiest (and cheapest) to obtain yeast treatment, though, is miconazole, found on the women's hygiene shelf in the pharmacy. You can use either the suppositories or the vaginal cream. Measure a quarter inch of suppository or about half an inch of cream and give orally twice a day for seven days. Do not stop treatment before the full seven days are completed or the yeast may return.

Following treatment for sour crop, offer plenty of plain fresh water and boiled egg to get the crop operating again. I like to also give a probiotic or Greek yogurt to restore good microbes in crop and intestines.

Pendulous crop
If you have treated for these crop issues and the crop still refuses to empty by morning, the hen may have a condition called pendulous crop. This is caused by poor muscle tone that causes the crop to sag and the contents are below the crop "drain" so the crop doesn't fully empty. The solution is a crop bra.
 

colette peters

Songster
Aug 25, 2017
264
319
152
Fairfax, California
Update- I took my hen to the vet today and she’s diagnosing her with Merck’s disease. All my flock did get the vaccination but she said it’s not guaranteed and they can still get it.
But good cause the others may be ok. But to keep an eye out for the other.

I’m just at a loss cause I was convinced it was sour crop as she had that bad smell coming from her beak. But I guess she’s saying she may have a digestive problem from the disease that is causing the dour crop.

But yesterday she ate and seemed ok, but this am her crop was so full and felt like play-doh so that was alarming. When she came out of the coop she was hobbiling barely able to walk and so off balanced, and the other hens started pecking at her comb. Probably a bad sign.

The vet suggests we put her down and it’s just hard to imaging, but I don’t want her to suffer . Any opinions ??
Thanks
 

micstrachan

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Apr 10, 2016
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How did the vet diagnose her with Marek's? That is typically diagnosed post mortem via necropsy. I thought her only symptoms were lethargy and sour crop until she got off balance today? If she were mine, I might aggressively treat the sour crop, but I don't know how your hen is doing. If she will drink it, give her poultry grade acidified copper sulfate in her water (I forget the dilution, even though I just did this recently... it was something like 1/4 tsp per gallon?) If she will not take the water, you may want to treat her with a vaginal yeast cream. I recently successfully treated a doughy crop (not quite sour yet, but very slight fruity/vinegary smell from the beak) with help from my BYC friends (thank you!). I treated with clotrimazole 2%. My understanding is that it should be the vaginal cream vs. something for athlete's foot or jock itch because it is taken internally. I gave my hen 1mL (via syringe to the beak) three times daily for ten days. I also gave her lemon juice with cayenne and cinnamon per @TwoCrows suggestion. I also provided lots of chopped kale, which apparently is one of the anti-yeast foods.

Putting a chicken (or any other animal) down is a personal decision that only you can make. We are here to support you whichever way you decide to go. Are you able to take a video of her, post it to YouTube and link it back here to this thread so we can help you assess her condition? Also, did the vet perform a fecal float? My understanding is that worms can also cause the full GI tract to slow down.
 

colette peters

Songster
Aug 25, 2017
264
319
152
Fairfax, California
Thank you for your quick response. No she has not done any tests. I guess what alarmed her was that she’s only 6 months. And I did fail to mention since she’s been a few months old I’ve always noticed she walked and ran so funny. And I guess that’s why she suggesting it’s probably mareks. I did not treat the sour crop other then get a fountain of liquid from vomiting her. I panicked cause when the crop was this dough like ballon in the am I thought there was no way to treat it. But maybe in the am I can suggest the vet do the fesal float.
You support is appreciated and thank you for all this information.
 

colette peters

Songster
Aug 25, 2017
264
319
152
Fairfax, California
Did you ever "treat" her for sour crop or just vomit her?
You can only go by what the vet says. Marek's can be a bit of a mystery.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
Just vomited her and thought that was good enough as she seemed better and started eating. But I guess it just stayed in the crop and didn’t digest and caused so much backup :( but the other suggestion was to aggressively treat her with vaginal yeast cream. I may hold off on putting her down with a suggested fesal test first.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
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Sep 20, 2015
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Southern N.C. Mountains
Just vomited her and thought that was good enough as she seemed better and started eating. But I guess it just stayed in the crop and didn’t digest and caused so much backup :( but the other suggestion was to aggressively treat her with vaginal yeast cream. I may hold off on putting her down with a suggested fesal test first.
I didn't read any article that suggested aggressive treatment. But if the crop is sour and festering with yeast/fungal infection then usually the only way to treat that would be with a yeast/anti-fungal medication. You can get medication from your vet as suggested previously or choose to use an over the counter medication.
As stated in the previous post a lot of times a crop issue is a symptom of an underlying condition or disease. You have to determine if the crop is impacted/blocked by vegetation or if there is something else that is causing inflammation/blockage. For example a gizzard that is blocked or a reproductive problem that is causing inflammation and pressing upon the internal organs/digestive system -essentially slowing/blocking the passage of food.

If the crop has turn yeasty/sour and she has not been eating/drinking well, then that could possibly cause weakness to where she is not able to keep her balance or walk well.
But you have added to the symptoms now that you noticed that she has walked/ran "so funny" so to me, that would indicate she already has something else going on.
Marek's is a real possibility. Your vet is the one that examined her and came to that determination. All you can do is go by their recommendation or make an attempt to treat her and see how it goes.

If you do put her down, I recommend that you send the body to your state lab for testing, that will give you a report with confirmation of their findings. UC Davis is your lab system, you should be able to find instructions about how to get testing performed on their site
https://cahfs.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/

Here is a well written detailed article on crop issues that you may find helpful
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/impacted-slow-and-sour-crops-prevention-and-treatments
 

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