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Northern Karl

Sour crop?

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Hi all,


after some advice! The last few days one of our chickens has been looking lethargy and puffed up. I examined her yesterday and she has a huge fluid sac on her front, and she smells pretty bad! Water came out her mouth when I picked her up yesterday, so I started to treat for sour crop. I’ve isolated her, and Fasted her for 24 hours. I’ve also massaged her crop and helped her regurgitate to empty her crop (I know some grown on this). She perked up this morning but her crop keeps filling with liquid, even when she hasn’t drank. she’s been asleep in the house with me and her crop has filled, I picked her up and now the liquid is milky rather than clear.


any ideas what I can do next? I’ve offered her some natural yoghurt but she’s off food altogether.


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Ok, so the sour crop can be easy to treat, but it can equally be indicative of something amiss further down the gut, so firstly treat what you see:

Avoid Yoghurt - while it is good for (some) humans, avians can't digest Lactose - you're thinking along the right route, but the wrong tool - what's needed is neat, live apple cider vinegar (ACV) available from most feed stores.

Empty her crop - you have already tried this, so know that you need to glove up first. Take it slowly and allow her up for air in between; chickens don't have a gag reflex, so could easily aspirate the liquid.

Once it is empty, syringe in 2-3mls (slowly) of neat ACV, there's a video here to show you how.

Keep her off food, but hydrated for 24 hours, see how her crop feels in the morning and rinse and repeat if necessary. Later that 2nd day, allow her just pellets and water with a little ACV in it. Keep an eye on her crop and check that it is emptying over night.

I'd suggest including some Gastro-Grit in their diet to help with gut function and health. She is obviously one you will have to watch to make sure that she isn't gorging and that her crop is emptying.


Let me know how you get on.


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Hi dogmother,


just wanted to update. Gave her some acv this morning... what a disaster... I thought I had emptied her crop but she just regurgitated the acv and more fluid all over me! There was a bit of grass in it so now I’m wondering if she also has impacted crop? Her crop is swollen but I can’t tell if it’s fluid or impaction.  Anyway I left her a couple of hours to recover, and administered some more acv which she managed to keep down. She’s now sleeping and I’ll check on her later. Still hasn’t eaten since Saturday. 

I’ll keep you posted

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Thanks Karl, what a pain.

If it is impacted, then the crop will be very firm, if it's sour, then it will feel like a balloon full of water. From your description, it is possible that she ate some long grass which caused a plug blocking her crop, which then caused the contents to turn sour.  When you have  emptied her crop try feeling it between your thumb and finger to see if you can make out a plug of material in there.

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Ok so I’ve emptied all the liquid out of her crop again. And it still feels like there’s something in there, it’s not hard, but it’s not as soft as when filled with water. So I’m guessing it’s impacted too. 

ahes just done a huge watery poo and I think there’s spots of blood in it so could be something worse?

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