Sour crop is caused when the crop doesn’t empty fully overnight and as a result the food ferments within the crop causing a fungal infection. When a chicken takes food and water it is passed from the mouth into the crop which is located just outside the body cavity in the neck region. It is then stored there until it is time to pass it on to the rest of the digestive tract. You can identify sour crop by checking the crop before the bird eats in the morning and if it is sour crop the crop will be watery or squishy like a balloon and an unforgettable foul smell will emanate from the chicken’s beak.
Sour crop in chickens is caused by the Candida Albicans yeast in the crop. 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 growing birds than in fully developed adult birds.
Some home remedies for sour crop
You will probably need to repeat this procedure over three days or until the crop stops filling and the bacteria in the crop returns to normal. If the problem still persists after that time you should seek the advice of a vet who will prescribe a course of anti-fungal medicine.
As with most things prevention is better than cure. Try to ensure that all long grass is cut where the chickens forage as long blades of cut grass or tough plant fibres tend to form a mass in the gullet and crop that can cause a blockage, leading to sour crop. In addition keep living areas free of foreign objects such as plastic or rubber bands that your birds could eat. Also provide lots of fresh water, adding unfiltered apple cider vinegar to their water regularly will lower the pH in the crop and help prevent bacteria growth. A weekly treat of plain live yogurt will also promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system