sour crop

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sara K, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. Sara K

    Sara K Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2013
    I was unable to get this resolved until I found this online. DO IT! IT WORKS!!!
    Impacted crops are not caused by your birds needing more grit. Grit is indeed necessary for birds that eat other than commercial feed; they need grit when they eat scratch grains, greens, and when they free range. Birds use grit in their gizzards to grind food; but the gizzard is far "downstream" from the crop. The crop is a kind of foyer into which all the food packs before moving into the digestive system.
    Things that cause impacted crops are anything a bird eats that is too big to move into the digestive system. Some of these too big things are whole grain (especially for small birds), grapes, and greens. When free ranging birds eat greens they rip off small pieces and these pieces pass freely out of the crop. One way I caused impacted crops in our flock was letting the flock out on once long, freshly mown grass. They have no problem with long unmown grass because they can rip off little pieces. Long strands of fresh cut grass pile up in the gizzard and can't get out.
    You need to flush and empty an impacted crop. You can use an eyedropper, a syringe without a needle, or a child’s ear syringe. Be sure to put the dropper or syringe all the way back in the bird’s mouth. There is a hole at the base of the tongue that leads to the bird’s lungs. You must be way past that or you will damage your bird.
    First Treatment
    You can start by putting an eyedropper full of vegetable oil into the crop and then massaging the crop. This will soften the impaction. Put the dropper all the way back in the bird's mouth and slowly push out the oil. Any vegetable oil is good: olive oil, corn oil, or canola oil.
    • 1/2-cup baking soda
    • 1 pint of warm water
    Fill the syringe and insert it as far as you can into the mouth of the chicken. Have someone hold the bird upright in front of you. Slowly and very gently fill the crop, do not over fill and get liquid into that hole at the base of the tongue. Gently press up under the chicken’s breast and slide your hand up to the crop. This makes the bird open its mouth and the impacted mess will come out the bird's mouth. Push the contents up and out of the crop and out of the mouth. You can face the bird toward the ground to help empty the crop. Repeat this gentle stroking pressure until nothing comes up.
    If there the crop is not empty, flush it again until it is empty.
    Once the crop is empty, give another dropper of oil.
    Coop the bird away from other birds so it can rest. Provide about a cup of water with 1 teaspoon terramycin dissolved in it. Give no feed.
    Second Day
    If the bird is droopy on the next day, put molasses in the bird’s water for about four hours (1/4 cup per gallon of water). Remove the molasses water after four hours and give the bird fresh terramycin water. The molasses water will flush soured food from the bird’s digestive system.
    Follow Up Treatment
    If the crop impacts again, repeat the flush.
    Continue the terramycin for 7 days to avoid secondary infection.
    After 24 hours, give only soft food for a week or so. This lets the inflamed and irritated crop recover and prevents another impaction.
    The soft diet can include crumbles and chopped hard-boiled or microwaved eggs. You can feed bread if it is soaked in milk or buttermilk. Buttermilk is especially good because active culture buttermilk has good bacteria in it that help the bird’s digestion.
    Be sure to also give the bird some beneficial bacteria. They keep digestion going correctly and fight disease by crowding out disease bacteria. You can just mix 1-2 teaspoons per bird of ACTIVE culture yogurt with a small amount of food and give this as the only food until they eat it. You can also buy lactobacillus at health food stores, pharmacies, Wal-Mart, and Lake's Unlimited 800-634-2473.
    Give no grains, no large pellets, no not soaked bread, and no grass or greens because these can cause another impaction. Feed only things that almost fall apart when wet.
    Glenda Heywood likes to feed this for the week
    • 1 slice wheat bread
    • 1/2-cup buttermilk
    • 3 tablespoons active culture yogurt with no artificial sweetener
    • Babyfood (or unsweetened) apple sauce (as Barb recommends below).
    Adding oil to the food will help avoid another impaction. Cod liver or wheat germ oil are good because they provide vitamins A, D, and E. Only add about 2% of the feed’s weight.
  2. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    Some of the information is reasonable and some not. Too many steps for such treatment. There's no need for antibiotics unless you know what you are treating. Oil is not recommended since it separates from water and often causes regurgitation or sits and binds with organic material in the crop. Docusate sodium aka crop bound capsules are a better alternative to oil since they are a stool softener. Molasses works well in some cases as a natural laxative. The directions for that were correct. Many people overlook the importance of deworming, and there are two types of capillary worms which infest the esophagus and crop of chickens. Canker and candida are other problems that can cause crop problems. Terramycin (tetracycline) is ineffective against crop canker/candida.

    Inserting the syringe in the "hole at the base of the tongue" will kill a bird fast by aspiration. That is the opening to the lungs. The esophagus is behind that, and to the left facing the bird. There's much garbage information all over the internet, so be careful what you read.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
  3. The Kibble Goddess

    The Kibble Goddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2009
    Sylvania, Ga
    Would an Epsom Salt flush have any place in this treatment? I know it is very effective in cleaning out their digestive system.
  4. Melissa Sakata

    Melissa Sakata Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2016
    I used this with my 10 week old Ameraucana and approx 12 hours after giving her the epsom salts she was cleaned out with the most horrendous smelling diarrhea. (1 tsp of epsom salts to 1 oz of warm water and a syringe given orally) She had a large squishy and probably sour crop for at least one week. It took me 3 days of research to finally figure out it was a crop issue.

    And YES, I did massage her crop, and took a chance by vomiting her. She still had a squishy crop, but less full. She was so happy and perky, that the next day I let her go back to her chunnel with her bud. Big mistake! They escaped and she filled her crop again with more grass!!! Ugh! I massaged her crop again, and made her vomit. This time it was the consistency of green pea soup.

    I am at the vets right now, but so happy that she finally passed that stinky mess. I was so sure I was going to have to euthanize her, but she perked right up after her stinky bout. Vet will prescribe some oral antibiotics and probiotics and I will pray for the best.

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