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Sour Crop and Apple Cider Vinegar

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BarkerChickens, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    One of my girls was slowly trailing behind the rest of the flock, which isn't like her. She is the bossy one in the group and usually the leader. Otherwise, she is acting normal...pecking, etc. So, I picked her up to see what was going on and I felt her enlarged crop, which was mushy like a water balloon. Yippee...my first experience with sour crop. [​IMG] We brought her inside (and of course, spent much time reading BYC posts on sour crop!), massaged her crop (which she LOVES!) and gave her apple cider vinegar in water (in a ceramic bowl...NOT metal). She actually pushes against our hand when we massage her crop. After a while it went down and I could feel bird seed (around the yard) that she had pecking at around the yard (not hard though...more like a tiny bean bag). She seemed better. After a while, I picked her up again and it was mushy again. So I massaged it some more (downward as the posts mentioned), but this time there was gurgling sounds and she would open her mouth (like a silent burp)...[​IMG]....sour smell. I massaged it down and put her in the large dog kennel (the indoor "chicken recuperation coop", which has an old sheet for bedding, so nothing to eat...just her ACV water). I am assuming we caught it early enough.

    Is there anything we can do? Most posts say 1 tsp ACV per gallon of water for maintenance...a few said "more" for sour crop. How much more? I think her water is 1 tablespoon ACV to 1 gallon. I also put a couple squirts of Poly-Vi-Sol (WITHOUT iron).

    What causes Sour Crop? How can I prevent this from happening again? I read that ACV helps keep algae out of the water too, is this true?
  2. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Songster

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    [​IMG] I am so sorry to hear about your hen. How scary!!

    I don't have any experience with this problem, but will be watching for answers!!

    Good Luck and Happy New Year![​IMG]

  3. maymiegirl

    maymiegirl Songster

    Jul 27, 2008
    I heard the ACV was the best maintenance for sour crop and I think maybe you should add a little more--like 3 tablespoons to 1/8 cup per gallon. It won't hurt them. I also read about yogurt--unsweetened, plain--places cultures into the crop that help prevent sour crop. I think the yogurt is more for other health reasons but I never have that problem using yogurt. Sour crop is a YEAST infection. The cultures in yogurt never allow the yeast to grow.

    Damp feed can cause sour crop. I have thrown out half a bag of feed that had gotten damp before. The feed should be very dry and never allowed to dampen and then dry or be given damp or wet. You absolutely did the right thing. It is best to withhold the feed for 12-24 hours once the crop empties. The crop has to have a chance to empty every day--so free feeding "could," cause the crop to sour. It is a blockage created by old food that disallows the crop to empty. Adding a good grit helps a great deal also.

    I once had to squeeze my rooster's crop till he threw up the debris and one other time I had to lance it and squeeze it out. After you withhold food for 12-24 hours give yogurt-softened oatmeal a few times to ease your bird back into feeding.

    Oh and YES the vinegar DOES work really well for keeping the algae growth and other impurities from occurring in the water.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  4. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Thanks! We've had some hard rains (and snow) here and while their food is in an area that usually remains dry, it did get a little moist. I never thought of the food. I bet that was the culprit. The food in the feeder right now is brand new food and completely dry, but the yeast may have been developing for a few days already. I will keep an idea on the rest of the girls too. Meanwhile, I will add some more ACV and check on her in the morning.
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member 11 Years

    What you need to do is separate her and only give her ACV water for a day or two, then add yogurt and soft stuff like scrambled eggs, etc. Nothing she has to grind up.

    I had two girls with sour crop. I did find the culprit, though I thought it had been fixed. The huge compost pile, which is fenced completely, had grown so it was against the fencing. One day, they chowed down on it by reaching their heads through the fencing, and we found, came in contact with moldy feed in the shavings at the bottom. They ate alot that day. I lost a valuable Blue Orpington hen from this; she died in our arms as we were taking her to the house to deal with it better. We then wrapped the fencing with some with smaller holes. She had always had a pendulous crop and was molting, so we probably didn't catch it early enough.

    My other hen survived.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  6. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Well this morning her crop is much smaller and nearly as mushy. There is still some seed in the bottom of her crop, but not as much as last night. She spent the night in our living room with only ACV water in her coop. When I massaged her crop this morning it wasn't all gurgly like last night and no silent, foul smelling burps. I should off on any yogurt, egg or olive oil soaked bread until her crop is completely empty, right?
  7. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    She isn't drinking much of the ACV water...maybe too strong? I used an irrigation syringe and kept putting drops on her beak to get to drink it. She is very active and not acting sick. I'm letting her walk around the living room to stretch her legs. But, when I massaged her crop just now, she had the gurgles and nasty silent burps again. Her crop is much smaller than last night, but she still has the mushiness and still some of the bean bag feel at the bottom from the seeds. Maybe they are not passing quickly because her crop is irritated from the yeast infection? She has passed two solid (though slightly green from not eating much the last 24 hrs) poops, but most are just watery white, which I assume are from drinking only water. They don't seem too abnormal given the circumstances. I don't want to keep starving her, but I don't want to irritate her crop anymore that it is already from the infection. At what point is it safe to give her soft foods like scrambled egg, yogurt, bread w/oil, etc? Just to be safe, I gave my girls outside ACV water (though at the maintenance concentration..not treatment). Don't worry, it is a plastic container.
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member 11 Years

    Use ACV 1-2 Tablespoons to a gallon. Mine seem to actually like it. I know the dilemma-when to feed her any food at all, or rather, how long to let her go without. I do no food for 24 hours, then bread with oil, plain yogurt which has less sugar, and scrambled or boiled eggs. Dont feed her grains or layer feed for two or three days, then start out by wetting it for her.
  9. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Thanks Speckledhen! She hasn't eaten for about 24 hours already, so I will give her some oil soaked bread. I also have some greek plain yogurt (which is thicker than regular yogurt), so I am sure she will love that too! I'll keep you updated.
  10. tonini3059

    tonini3059 [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Luv

    Nov 6, 2008
    Southwestern PA
    I am not sure if you have considered the possibility of it being impacted. If that is the same as sour crop I apologize, I am not that familiar with all the terms as of yet. Anyway I had a chicken that had an impacted crop, and everything I read said surgery. So one evening I performed the operation and she came out just fine. It turns out she ate a pumpkin seed that was just a little too big. I am not saying this is necessary, however it is something to keep in mid if the acv doesn't work.

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