Now and again, you may experience a chicken with *sour crop*. This can be a serious condition and will need to be treated as soon as you notice a problem. It must be noted that sour crop and impacted crop are not the same condition however an impacted crop can lead to a sour crop if not treated. Prevention, by providing free will grit to help the flock properly process their foods will help ward off most crop issues unless there is some other underlying issue in the digestive system.
Sour crop is an infection of the crop caused by an imbalance of yeast, and can cause an impaction of grains, stiff grasses (such as hay or straw) or in general, food that has not properly digested and begins to ferment. When this happens, the bird is not able to empty the crop properly and may begin shaking it's head to dislodge the blockage as a first sign. From this point, you may notice lethargy, weakness and that the bird is no longer eating or drinking and there may be a loss of weight.
You need to treat as soon as possible, because once the bird has stopped eating or drinking, it is then in jeopardy and may expire from dehydration and weight loss. Bring the chicken into the house or warm accessible shelter in a pet carrier equipped with bedding, electrolyte in their water dish, and a slurry of pumpkin and cooked rice or plain yogurt. You need to keep the chicken warm, protected and reestablish balance to their system with the electrolytes. The soft food will be easily digestible and more easily by-passes the crop so that it can be utilized by the bird. If possible, try gently massaging the crop area to loosen the impaction. To do this, you need to hold the bird with its head down, and gently massage the neck upwards toward the beak and try to get the bird to spit up some of the food or obstruction in there. The bird may vomit, but do not be alarmed, this is a sign that there is a problem that you need to address. While loosening the crop some amount of undigested food may also be expelled. This is good to help loosen it up so that treatment will be most effective. The key to diagnosing Sour Crop is the odor. Many times a chicken will gorge itself and the crop may be visible, but this does not indicate sour crop or even an obstruction, so know what you are dealing with by watching for other indicators such as odor, bad breath, and overall behaviors. Normally for most illnesses we would suggest an Apple Cider Vinegar water solution. However, with sour crop this may worsen the condition, so we suggest our homemade electrolyte solution to help stabilize the bird and re-hydrate quickly. justfowlingaround.weebly.com/1/category/electrolyte-recipe/1.html.
Once you have the chicken stable, you need to treat up with an anti-fungal however they usually begin responding within 24 hours of the time you begin the treatment. Depending upon the course of treatment you choose, your vet may recommend from 5 to as much as 14 days to make sure the infection has been cleared. Read your labels carefully and adhere to the advice of your own veterinarian.
If the chicken is not drinking water, you must administer via eye dropper to get the bird re-hydrated. Be careful to get the applicator right inside, beyond the tiny hole at the back of the bird’s tongue that leads directly to the lungs. Otherwise the bird might choke from ingesting the fluid and could ultimately drown.
If you have a veterinarian that treats fowl, they can perform surgery on the crop to remove the impaction. We do not recommend that you attempt this yourself unless you have some kind of medical background. Typically a small incision is made in the crop, the crop contents removed and the emptied crop irrigated to remove all sour contents. The incision is then closed with sutures. Keep the chicken isolated until it is stable, active and all medications have been provided for the manufacturers recommended duration. Continue the digestible food program, adding soaked grains gradually to increase nutrition and bring the food regimen back to normal. The chicken should begin to gain weight once again and show visible signs of improvement. This may take from days to weeks, depending on the duration of the impaction and ensuing infection, so be prepared to give the bird daily care until it is able to return to the flock.
For most chickens, sour crop may be a once in a lifetime issue, however it is possible to have a bird with a chronic condition or an underlying cause, such as a tumor, liver disease or other internal problem especially in aged fowl, so be prepared to treat it at first signs or cull that bird from your flock. Most often, sour crop is not a contagious condition, however if it causes a viral or bacterial infection,; that infection can be contagious, so be watching the rest of the flock for any signs of illness.
Observation is always the key to prevention for most illnesses in the world of fowl. At first signs, be looking to discover what the illness may be, but start immediately treating with an electrolyte solution to help keep their system in balance, and isolate them from the rest of the flock, at least until you know what you need to be treating for.
First signs for most illnesses is change of normal behaviors. By observing your flock daily you can ward off many problems. The longer an illness goes without treatment, the more risk there is that the entire flock will be affected and losses may occur. Prepare your Rx kit ahead of any possible injury or illness, so you can treat at first sign. If you run out of something in that kit, make sure you purchase the item at the earliest possible time and make sure it is in your kit.
Things happen, and we cannot prevent all issues that may occur, however we can be prepared to treat as needed and start a regimen at the earliest signs to prevent losses or spread of illness or disease.
If you have not established your Rx kit you need to do this at your earliest convenience and make it a priority. We have provided a list of things to have on hand for emergency situations and general poultry treatment for a variety of the most common issues you may encounter. http://justfowlingaround.weebly.com/1/category/poultry-first-aid-kit/1.html.
We have also provided an easy to make electrolyte recipe using common pantry products. You may find other electrolyte recipes, however most we've come across use fancy ingredients that most of us do not have in our pantry on a regular basis, and when you need the electrolyte, you do not want to have to run to the store for special ingredients, you want to begin administering at the earliest possible moment. http://justfowlingaround.weebly.com/1/category/electrolyte-recipe/1.html.
In addition, we also have provided a recipe for making your own yogurt with live bacteria, that can be made up at any time and frozen to use as needed. The good bacteria from the yogurt will help fight off the bad bacteria of the infection, it is also highly digestible and helps provide necessary nutrients needed. http://justfowlingaround.weebly.com/3/post/2014/02/yogurt-good-for-you-and-chickens.html
NOTE: If you are not able to remove the impaction from the crop, you will need the assistance of a vet. To avoid antibiotic use, Copper Sulphate has been used as a water soluble additive, along with improving sanitation and minimizing antibiotic use in poultry may help to reduce the incidence of candidiasis. Candidiasis can be treated or prevented with copper sulfate dilution in the drinking water, but its effectiveness is deemed controversial. Nystatin, an antifungal medication, in the feed or drinking water for 5 days may be effective for the treatment.
Chicken Coop Chatter© All Rights Reserved 2011-2017