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What is sour crop and how do you treat it?

Chicken health

If you have chickens, you know how important it is to keep them healthy and happy. Today, I wanted to talk about a common issue that chickens can face: sour crop. Sour crop is a condition that occurs when the food in a chicken’s crop doesn’t move through properly and begins to ferment, leading to an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast. This can cause discomfort and illness for your feathered friends, but there are steps you can take to help them feel better.

Sour crop is a condition that can affect chickens, and it’s important to recognize the signs so you can take appropriate action to help your feathered friend. Here are some common signs of sour crop in chickens:

  • Foul odour: One of the most noticeable signs of sour crop is a foul, yeasty smell coming from the chicken’s mouth.
  • Swollen crop: The crop, which is located in the neck, may be swollen or appear larger than normal.
  • Reduced appetite: Chickens with sour crop may eat less than usual or may refuse to eat altogether.
  • Diarrhea: Sour crop can cause diarrhea or watery droppings.
  • Lethargy: Chickens with sour crop may be less active or appear lethargic.
  • Regurgitation: Sour crop can cause chickens to regurgitate or spit up their food.

If you suspect that one of your hens has sour crop, here are some things you can do:

1. Withhold food: Don’t offer any food to your hen for at least 24 hours. This will give her crop time to empty and reduce the chances of further fermentation.

2. Offer water with apple cider vinegar: You can offer your hen water mixed with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. This can help balance the pH in her crop and reduce the growth of harmful bacteria.

3. Massage her crop: Gently massaging your hen’s crop can help break up any blockages and encourage the movement of food through her system. Be gentle and take care not to apply too much pressure.

4. Probiotics: You can also offer your hen probiotics, which can help promote healthy gut bacteria and support her immune system. We have these available here for purchase.

If your hen’s sour crop doesn’t improve after a day or two of these steps, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian who specialises in poultry. They can offer additional guidance and treatment options.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to sour crop. Make sure your chickens have access to clean water and feed, and avoid giving them foods that are known to cause blockages, like long grass or hay. With a little care and attention, your hens can stay healthy and happy!

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