Baby Bird Crop Full Of Air (Why + What To Do)

There are many crop conditions that baby birds can suffer from. Some conditions can be dealt with and rectified by the bird’s own body, others may need human intervention. A birds crop is an important organ that plays a major role in the birds digestive system, if the crop isn’t functioning as it should, this could spell trouble. If your baby birds crop is full of air it’s understandable that you’d be concerned. This article explores the question of ‘baby bird crop full of air, why and what to do ‘

Baby birds develop an air-filled crop when they swallow too much air as they feed. When feeding, baby birds can get too excited and swallow air along with their food. To treat an air-filled crop, either massage the crop, burp the bird, poke the crop with a sterile needle or take the animal to a vet to have the air sucked out with a syringe 

Baby bird crop full of air, why and what to do

The phenomenon of baby birds keeping air in their crops is more common than we think. If you’re hand-raising a bird, or are a new parent, you may not notice your bird sucking in air as it feeds. This happens when the bird is very hungry, because it is so excited to eat, it sucks in air as you feed it. Not pushing enough food out of a syringe during feeding can also cause it to inhale air. 

One way to get the air out is to simply massage the crop. To do this, you’d need to hold the chick upright, be gentle and not forceful when doing this. Position the beak upwards then gently massage the bird’s crop in an upward direction, this should release a good amount of air. 

Another way to get the air out of the crop is to burp the tiny animal. To do this, get the bird to open its mouth. Once the birds mouth is open, gently squeeze the crop where the air bubble is and allow the bird to burp. The expulsion of air will make the animal make small popping sounds, these are burps. This method can work in some cases but in others, it can cause the bird to swallow more air. If the bird swallows more air then move on to another treatment

A more invasive yet very effective way to get the air out of the crop involves using a needle. To do this, sterilize a needle and poke the bird’s crop where the air bubble is. This can be done every time the air bubble forms. Be very careful when doing this, do not get near the bird’s veins with the needle. 

If the massaging and burping does not alleviate the problem and you aren’t comfortable with poking the crop with a needle then it’s best to take the bird to a vet. The vet will be able to safely pierce the crop with a needle. Another way that the vet can remove the air in the bird’s crop is to use a syringe to suck the excess air out

How do you know when a bird’s crop is full?

If you’re a bird owner you can usually feel the difference between a full crop, an empty crop and a crop filled with air. If the crop is empty it will be flat, if it’s full of food it will feel like a bean bag, if it’s full of air it will feel like a helium balloon.  

How long does it take for a baby bird’s crop to empty?

If you’re feeding a baby bird the crop will empty 4 hours after feeding. Ideally, you should feed the bird before it becomes completely empty if you’re raising a rapidly growing bird. If the bird’s crop is full of air, and you massage the crop, burp the bird or use a needle on the crop then the crop will deflate in a matter of minutes 


In conclusion, air filling a baby birds crop is more common than many of us know. An air-filled crop can happen as a result of the baby bird taking in too much air as it eats. To rectify the situation you can massage the bird’s crop, burp the bird or poke the crop using a sterile needle. You can also take the bird to a vet to have the air syringed out 

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other baby bird related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Baby bird crop too full, why and what to do, Baby bird crop not emptying, reasons why this happens, Baby chick has a swollen crop, why this happens

Baby Bird Crop Full Of Air (Why + What To Do)
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