Sour Crop

Sour crop or thrush in chickens is caused by the Candida Albicans yeast in the crop. It can easily be identified by the putrid smell that comes from the bird's mouth.

Sour crop can occur after a course of oral antibiotics (such as Baytril or Tylan) or if there has been a shortage of Vitamin A in the bird's body. It is more common in growers than adult birds.

Symptoms: Sour crop is very easy to diagnose. There is a terrible smell coming from the bird's mouth and once you have smelt it, you will never forget it! Birds can sometimes be lethargic and will gradually lose their condition.

Treatment: Nystatin or Ketoconazole are the treatments that vets will usually prescribe. They are POM-V (vet prescription only medications) that you will need to obtain via a prescription from your vet.

I have found many references to this condition in pigeons as well as in poultry. Some experienced pigeon fanciers have recommended using Garlic. They believe it works faster and better than Nystatin so might be worth a try if it's difficult to get to the vets. I haven't tried this myself before.

Similar conditions

Similar crop conditions that you might encounter are: An Impacted Crop where there is a blockage in the crop and the crop is full and feels like dough but has not stretched to become pendulous. There will not be the smell that you get with sour crop. A Pendulous Crop is when the crop becomes blocked and the weight of the food and weak muscles stretch the crop so that it hangs down like a pendulum.

Important: Chickens crops look big when full (up to tennis ball size). It is normal for the crop to fill like this but it should empty. If in doubt, check the crop has emptied in the morning before a bird has eaten.

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