Sour crop - our experience


In the Brooder
12 Years
Apr 26, 2007
A few notes to anyone dealing with sour crop:

Many people on these pages recommend doing a crop flush using a tube. You can find directions for that method by searching "sour crop".

We did not use the tube down the gullet approach. I didn't feel that I could manage it, and I felt badly about that, but there's a limit to my ability to perform procedures.

So please understand that I am not recommending the following approach, but I have read others in this forum using this method with varying results, and it was the method we used.

We got her to "vomit" it up by massaging the crop and tipping her forward a little bit. We didn't hold her upside down. Whatever was in the crop was already drooling out of her mouth, so it didn't take much massaging before it poured out. It was extremely disgusting stuff, it was very, very thick, had bits of solid material in it, and there was a lot of it, it really does smell terrible, and it WILL get on your clothes.

BE PREPARED: If you take that route, the chicken can aspirate the liquid and it can die, and it can die quickly. I knew there was a risk in doing what we did, but I was not really prepared for what happened - that she would stop breathing almost immediately. Some advise against the procedure for that reason.

If this happens to you, you can try a kind of Heimlich maneuver type of thing. I did, not really on purpose, but I lifted her head and pushed on her sides, and she began to breathe again but only with great difficulty and in a labored fashion. I DO NOT KNOW IF THIS WOULD ALWAYS WORK.

It still looked like she was going to die, but she did not. It's possible that she will get into trouble from having aspirated the fluid - I think they can sometimes get pneumonia from this - but I'm ready with the antibiotics if she does.

We'll see what happens, but just wanted to add our experience in case it can help someone else.
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Thanks for that information.
I'm sorry. My favorite rooster of all time died of sour crop. I did not use the 'make them vomit' method because I was afraid he would aspirate, but he died anyway. I think he actually died of starvation, because as much as I tried to gently massage his crop and work food through it, his crop kept filling with air, and he probably wasn't getting the calories he needed.

It's a tough situation and you have to do your best to treat it and hope for a good outcome, it's tough when your treatment doesn't work the way you want it to.

Wishing you the best of luck as well. I had actually ordered a rush delivery of nystatin (an antifungal) from First State Vet to in case his sour crop was fungal (I guess it could be bacterial too...) but it didn't arrive in time. I wonder if your hen should be on antibiotics to guard against infection cause by aspirated material? Totally not an expert, but it's a thought.... Of course if the sour crop is fungal, the antibiotics could make it worse. Hard call.
Is there a higher chance of dying of aspiration if the roo was vomitting whilst lying on its side?

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