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Sour Crop

This is caused by a yeast infection which makes the crop lining sore and inflamed. The condition is sometimes called thrush and can be successfully treated.


  • The crop feels like a balloon which has filled with water. Gentle pressure applied to the crop when picking the hen up may cause fluid to spill out from her beak.
  • Classic sour crop has a foul smell and the fluid which is voided is often brown, although this is not always the case.
  • The hen may frequently flick her head.


  • Damp or mouldy feed.
  • Following a course of antibiotics.
  • Sour crop is often secondary to other issues and may recur if the underlying cause is not discovered.


Note that this home remedy is not intended to offer a cure or replace veterinary treatment, but may alleviate symptoms where no professional support is easily available. The suggestions are based on experience gained with our own hens.
  1. Seek veterinary advice.
  2. If veterinary support cannot be found, a home remedy may be offered as follows:
    1. Withhold food and water for 24 hours to allow the crop to naturally empty as much as possible.
    2. On an empty crop, dose apple cider vinegar (diluted to the manufacturers recommendations) syringed into the side of the beak.
    3. 12 hours after the apple cider vinegar administration a few sips of tepid water can be offered together with a small amount (teaspoon) of soft solid food.
    4. Monitor to check the sour crop does not return and gradually build up to normal rations of feed and water.


  • Store feed in weather-proof, rodent-proof containers.
  • Use a probiotic following any course of antibiotic.