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Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4244
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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We have a hen with a sour crop. Please advise appropriate antifungal

Customer Question

We have a hen with a sour crop. Please advise appropriate antifungal and other standard of care.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.
First, I hate the term "sour crop". What they have is diminished crop motility, with subsequent fermentation of the contents. Calling it sour crop indicates that it is a simple, singular disease, and it is not. The condition is quite complex, may have multiple causes (and effects) and therefore needs careful diagnosis and quite often very complicated treatment. And that is the standard of care.
Crop problems are like backed-up toilets-- the problem is further down the line. There can be indigestible material that lodges in the gizzard, and things stretch out from there. Sometimes the problem is further complicated because the bird is compelled to eat fibrous or harsh materials to help the GI move things along, but that just makes the clog worse.
There are certain viruses and congenital issues that may predispose breeds/types to the problem.
The best thing would be to have an experienced vet massage out the crop contents, lavage the crop, and tube feed saline/GI protectants/GI drugs and formula until the problem resolves.
I usually put them on a number of GI medications and use injections for antibiotics. Antifungals have to go orally, but can be interspersed with the GI medications. Depending on the case and the findings, my list of medications includes: sucralfate, lactulose, cimetidine, metoclopramide, zosyn injections, fluconazole. Often I include pain medications. They are ALWAYS put on large amount of greens and dietary management.
Can you tell me more about the bird?​
How long has this been going on?
How long have you had her?
Where is she from?
How many other birds? Any others with problems?
How are they housed? Husbandry?
Any accidents or trauma?
Interactions with other birds/pets/children/guests?
What is the usual diet? has it changed recently?
Has the bird gotten into anything?
IMPORTANT Check the website for the feed you give, there have been many recalls; or check this link:
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. Sounds like we need to take her to a vet for specific treatments. Any suggestion for first aid over the holiday weekend when clinics are closed?
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
If you feel brave, you can try "milking" the crop and ejecting the contents. The head needs to be tilted forward and lowered. A two-person job. Do not turn her upside down. This can be stressful and dangerous, so be aware of the risks. I only advise this with great caution because you will be unlikely to find help until Tuesday.
Then give her small amounts of warm water for a couple of hours and monitor how the crop responds. If it empties you can then alternate with cooked rice and cropped greens, with small amounts often.