Can Sour Crop Kill A Chicken? (+5 Effective Treatments)

If you’re raising birds you likely know what sour crop is, and if you’re reading this article you may be worried that your bird may have it and die from it. As much as we know about sour crop, we all hope that it never affects our birds.

If your bird has sour crop, the question on your mind may be ‘can sour crop kill a chicken?’ this article looks into it 

If caught in the early stages, sour crop can be treated and will not kill the chicken. In addition, during the early stages, home-based treatments can cure the bird. If sour crop goes untreated for a while it can cause digestive issues which can cause the bird to lose weight and die 

Can sour crop kill a chicken?

Why birds need crops:

The crop is an important part of the bird’s digestive system, if it is malfunctioning, this can be very bad for your bird.

The crop acts as a storage organ, this is where food is kept before it gets to the bird’s two stomachs and into the rest of the birds digestive system.

If a predator is nearby, and the bird needs to eat quickly and change locations, the crop allows it to eat now and digest food later.

The crop also moistens food before it gets to the stomach. If your bird has a lump on its lower chest, that does not seem to be draining, and the bird’s mouth smells badly, then the bird likely has sour crop 

Can this illness kill chickens:

Sour crop is not deadly. Your bird will recover from this illness if you catch it early enough and if it doesn’t lead to any other issues with the bird.

If you figure out early on that your bird has sour crop, then you will have much better luck treating the bird at home and won’t have to take the bird to the vet. 

If you don’t catch sour crop early enough it can cause additional problems that can be fatal to the bird. The candida bacteria that causes sour crop can cause additional digestive problems.

These digestive problems include the inability to digest food properly and the bird’s inability to empty its stomach. Over time, if sour crop is not treated, the bird can lose weight and die 

How do you get rid of sour crop in chickens? 

Massaging the crop:

In some cases, you may need to (literally) take a hands-on approach when treating your bird, this involves massaging your bird’s crop.

To do this, first dilute warm oregano oil in some warm olive oil and syringe this mixture into the bird’s neck. After this, proceed to massage the bird’s neck gently and in an upwards direction. This should break up the blockage in the crop 

Tomato juice:

If you have some tomato juice lying around in your kitchen you can use some to treat your birds sour crop. This juice is said to help with digestion, and restore the balance of the bird’s crop.

Serve your bird 1-2ml of tomato juice 2-3 times a day over a period of 24 hours 


This product can be used to flush out your bird’s crop. Dilution is necessary when looking to feed molasses to your bird, to do this, mix 1 pint of molasses to 5 gallons of water. Allow the birds to drink this water but do not let them have it for longer than 8 hours. Be ready for runny poop after serving 

Epsom salts:

Using Epsom salts to treat sour crop is an age-old remedy that is simple yet effective.

To do this mix 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts to one cup water. Syringe this mixture into your bird’s mouth 2-3 times a day for 2-3 days. Epsom salts will detox the birds crop 

A vet visit:

If none of the above home treatments seem to be working on your bird, then you’d need to take the animal to a vet. A vet will be able to properly assess the bird and give it treatment. 


In conclusion, if sour crop is caught early on then the illness will not be fatal and you can likely treat the bird at home.

If the sour crop has progressed it may cause the bird to develop digestive issues which can cause weight loss in the bird and even death 

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Chicken foaming at the mouth, why this happens, what to do, Chicken has fluid coming out of its mouth, why this happens, How to drain water belly in chickens, Chicken spitting up clear liquid, why this happens, Chicken’s crop is full of liquid, why and what to do, Chicken vomiting yellow liquid, what to do

Can Sour Crop Kill A Chicken? (+5 Effective Treatments)
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