Sour Crop treatment options (Aus)

Josie_G

In the Brooder
Sep 25, 2019
15
9
34
Perth, Western Australia
Hi Birdigo Im in Perth and currently also battling sourcrop. I find that for some reason I haven't identified every September I get a run of sourcrop or respiratory infections - it seems to be the combination of the weather warming up and the ground still being wet that triggers something.

I have previously tried Nilstatin (Nystat is the brand name, the vanialla flavour is tolerated better than the cherry) but found it be ineffective to be honest, as the liquid has to physically come into contact with the yeast to kill it. It is good at making the girls burp though and relieving the discomfort of the gas build up - once you have managed to get it into them you can gently massage their crop to mix it into the slime and gas ball in the crop. I also use De-Gas or Gas Busters on them - you can buy it from any chemist. Its a tiny capsule containing an oily substance called silmethicone which relives cramping and abdominal pain, and peppermint oil. Its AMAZING at causing burps and getting the gas out! I bite the capsule and squeeze the oil onto the side of their beak - the burps start a few seconds later. It can sometimes takes 3 or 4 capsules to get all the gas out but the result is a flat crop - for half a day anyway - and generally the girls suddenly realise they are starving and take the opportunity to scoff some feed before their crop blows up again. When massaging the crop, I tend to put one finger at the top to stop the slime ball being pushed into their throat, and then gently squeeze from various directions. If they have managed to eat you will feel the grains in there so be gentle, it must hurt and the skin is only thin but they feel so much better once the gas it out...you can see the relief on their little chicken-y faces.

The de-gas only eases the symptoms. In terms of actually getting rid of the cause, I have now moved to using fluconazole - its the same yeast (candida) that causes both sourcrop and thrush and fluconazole - the drug used to treat thrush in humans - is systemic to you dont need it to come into contact. You can buy a single (human) dose fluconazole capsule (50mg) over the counter of any pharmacy without a prescription (make sure its a capsule with powder in, not one of the suppositories or other treatments you can get) but the tablets I had were 200mg each so better value but require a prescription. I open the capsule, dissolve the powder in water and then dribble onto their beak.

The dose is generally 10mg/kg so depending upon how heavy your chook is you may need a few capsules so it would be worth asking the vet you saw to write a script for the 200mg capsules as it will be cheaper in the long run. You also tend to loose a lot of the meds as the girls wont want to take anything into their tummy as its so swollen and sore (getting rid of the burps first helps with this) and so you may actully only get half of your dose into them so the meds dont go as far as you think they will!

I've currently got 2 girls with it and am dosing them at a higher rate than 10mg/kg as its being persistent and wont go. Getting better but still there. Fluconazole is one of the safer anti-fungals and can be taken safely at higher doses (by humans anyway) - for eg the dose for human thrush is a one-off dose of 50mg, but if you have persistant thrush or a chronic skin infection causes by candida, the dose is 200mg for up to many months! So I figure increasing the dose wont hurt where it is being persistent; and given that your girls will likely flick a lot of their meds off their beak rather than swallowing it, you can't actually be that accurate with the dose anyway - you may put in your syringe enough liquid for their full dose but did they flick away half of it or just 1/3 ?? How much did they actually swallow?? You just have to guestimate and given them more to make sure they get their full dose - err on the side of giving more not less.

Its pretty painful administering meds to a chook!

BTW dont apologise for caring about your chooks. It breaks my heart that so many people dont and just let 'nature take its course' when they wouldnt dream of doing the same for their dog or kids. Any animal you bring into your life should receive the best medical care you can provide. Ive been sleeping with the girls in my bed (hubby is in the spare room, lots of towels down!) for the last few nights, either holding their crop flat with my hand to expel the gas as soon as it is created and supporting their head to stop it drooping, or having them resting on a pilow to achieve the same thing. They look and behave fine during the day (apart from only nibbling food, not actually eating properly) and so someone not paying attention wouldnt know they have it; but at night one of them spends the entire night doing this awful hiccup / cough / sneeze thing trying to get gas out: everytime she starts to fall asleep and her head droops it trigger it so she hasnt slept properly in a couple of weeks poor thing. Hence the crop-squashing head-supporting bedtime now!
 

Birdigo

In the Brooder
Mar 5, 2021
19
38
49
@Josie_G Thanks for all the details! I'll keep this in mind when I next see my avian vet and ask about prescriptions and medication options. One of my other girls is starting to show early signs of sour crop (I suspect). It's been very rainy then warm- everything is so damp! I have to fix the roof of their run soon, it's sprung some leaks. I feel like I'm in for a long ride.

The current hen I'm treating is now on liquid itraconazole from the vet, and some cisapride to help move along content from her gut. She was originally on antibiotics, which cleared things up and improved stuff until the yeast settled in- the vet described her as having bread-smelling breath.

She is now steadily getting better, but it's slow progress. I've gotten quite good at syringing liquids down her beak now, at first I was losing near half- now everything is getting down in one go. The itraconazole is sooo sticky, it got everywhere the first time... on my clothes, her feathers, in my eye. Awful. But non-liquid medication was way easier... she'd eat it right out of my hand without me needing to gussy it up.
 

Birdigo

In the Brooder
Mar 5, 2021
19
38
49
Sadly the crop issues are still not resolved. The hen and her sister, from the same parents and clutch both have crop issues now. They'll be going into the vet today for a follow up.

I'm starting to wonder if these two have developed pendulous crop, predisposing them or making it harder to treat their issues. Of all my birds, these two have always been pigs and would gorge themselves to having big bulging crops- while the rest of my hens would have smaller crops even at their fullest. I previously didn't think much of this until now.

I'll be asking the vet again further about this. I did order some crop bras for my hens, I think it would be beneficial to have while dealing with this.
 

Birdigo

In the Brooder
Mar 5, 2021
19
38
49
Crop bras have done their work very quickly! Both hens crops are emptying out normally once again. One hen still has some digestive issues to work out (she is on prescribed antibiotics), but everything is getting much better. :)
 
Oct 19, 2021
4
5
6
Hi Birdigo

I recently had a hen with crop issues. She was diagnosed with sour crop by one vet, and another thought it was due to an impacted crop. She went off the feed but would still show interest in things like oats, cheese, scrambled egg etc. I’d also isolate her and offer her Greek yogurt with baby bird formula mixed through it for extra nutrients. I gave her crop a gentle massage at night, but not too much so she wouldn’t aspirate. The anti-fungals had to be in contact with the thrush lesions so I syringed it into her mouth, rather than down her throat. I also put apple cider vinegar in the water. She got better which I was very pleased about.

Offer her any food that she will eat as you need to get nutrients into her. If you find an avian vet they might be able to do a crop wash, which my vet did twice. Good luck, I hope your girl gets better.
What specific anti-fungals did you use?
 
Oct 19, 2021
4
5
6
Hi Birdigo

I recently had a hen with crop issues. She was diagnosed with sour crop by one vet, and another thought it was due to an impacted crop. She went off the feed but would still show interest in things like oats, cheese, scrambled egg etc. I’d also isolate her and offer her Greek yogurt with baby bird formula mixed through it for extra nutrients. I gave her crop a gentle massage at night, but not too much so she wouldn’t aspirate. The anti-fungals had to be in contact with the thrush lesions so I syringed it into her mouth, rather than down her throat. I also put apple cider vinegar in the water. She got better which I was very pleased about.

Offer her any food that she will eat as you need to get nutrients into her. If you find an avian vet they might be able to do a crop wash, which my vet did twice. Good luck, I hope your girl gets better.
What specific anti-fungals did you use?
Nilstat, which I got on script from the pharmacy.
UGH! I wish I had an avian vet somewhere close to me! I lost one chicken earlier this year to this same issue and I'm struggling to find a true fix. I've been studying all day trying to find a cure. I've got a few things up my sleeve to try, I just hate to see my silkie suffer...
 

LozzyR

First of her name, mother of chickens.
Premium Feather Member
Mar 30, 2019
5,500
56,965
1,037
NSW, Australia
What specific anti-fungals did you use?

UGH! I wish I had an avian vet somewhere close to me! I lost one chicken earlier this year to this same issue and I'm struggling to find a true fix. I've been studying all day trying to find a cure. I've got a few things up my sleeve to try, I just hate to see my silkie suffer...
I've heard of some people using Canesten but I don't know how effective it is/was. Something over the counter anyway, depending on where you are?
 

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