What is Sour Crop in Chickens?

Chickens have quite an unusual digestive process as they do not have teeth. Firstly food is stored in a pouch on their chests which is called a crop, from there the food goes down into their gizzard where the food then is grinded up and digested. Sometimes there can be a blockage in the primary digestive process and food can become stuck in their crop. If food becomes stuck in their crop it is not able to go down to their gizzard and they can literally starve to death.

What Are the Symptoms of a Soured Crop in Chickens?

  • Weight loss, if your bird is not getting enough food they will lose weight.
  • The crop may feel like a watery balloon, squishy and soft.
  • Foul smelling breath, if the crop becomes infected you may be able to smell the infection on the chicken’s breath.
  • Lethargy, not getting enough nutrients may make your hen lethargic and floppy.
  • Brown liquid spilling from your chicken’s beak when the crop is pressed.

How to Treat for Soured Cop in Chickens?


Try not to feed your hens, particularly bantams and smaller breeds any food that is large as this can easily cause a blockage, even very long blades of grass can get stuck and cause a backup of food in the crop.


If you’re hen has a blockage in their crop you will need to flush it out, we would advise seeking professional veterinary advice before attempting to flush the crop yourself, if you are fairly confident the process is explained in detail here (link to Blog Post).

You can also find videos on YouTube on how to do this process.

Flushing is by far the best way to treat a soured crop; however, some try to treat with natural remedies that are given to try and break up the blockage internally. Although this can be effective, the best course of action is to remove the infection and blockage rather than try and treat as the hen would then just be digesting old food that has been stuck in her crop and this can then lead to further digestive issue.

If this is not effective and your hen still has a blockage then seek professional veterinary advice as they may need a surgery and antibiotics to remove the blockage.