Chicken’s Crop Is Full Of Liquid (Why + What To Do)

The crop is a very important organ in chickens. Weather you’re a new or a seasoned bird owner, it is important to make sure that your birds crop is in tip-top shape at all times. This organ is located just below the chicken’s neck and plays a part in digestion. The more you take notice of your chicken, and feel it’s crop, the easier it will be for you to pick up if something is wrong. If your chicken’s crop feels like it’s full of liquid then this article will help you figure out why 

If your birds crop feels like it is full of liquid, or feels squishy, then your bird is likely suffering from sour crop. Sour crop develops when the Candida albicans fungus blooms and overgrows in the crop dominating over the healthy bacteria in the organ

Chicken’s crop is full of liquid, why and what to do

The crop acts as a storage pouch for the food that the bird eats, when in the crop, food is moistened and stored before it travels to the proventriculus and the gizzard. The crop should feel full, like a bean bag, after the chicken has finished eating. If the crop feels squishy, and as though it contains water, or liquid, then your bird likely has sour crop. Sour crop can also cause the bird to feel pain 

Sour crop develops when there is an overgrowth of Candida albicans in the crop. This bacteria is already present in a birds crop but it can cause sour crop when it is allowed to bloom and overgrow. When this overgrowth happens, the walls of the crop thicken and the crop dilates.  Other signs that your chicken has sour crop include: 

  • A horrible smell coming from your birds mouth
  • White patches in the birds mouth. These will initially grow in the crop and then progress up the esophagus and into the birds mouth 
  • Gurgling in the later stages
  • The bird may suffer from occasional diarrhea 
  • Your bird may be quieter than it normally is 
  • Your bird may also not have much of an appetite 

The more common reason why birds develop sour crop is a blockage of food in the crop. When food gets blocked in the crop it begins to ferment, this causes the overgrowth of the candida. Other causes of sour crop can include excessive amounts of pasta or bread given to the bird, mouldy feed, worms, an injury, an infection, long tough grasses and even antibiotics 

How do you treat and empty a chicken’s crop?

One way to treat and empty the bird’s crop is to massage it. This will help to loosen the blockage in the birds crop. To do this first lubricate the bird’s esophagus and throat by syringing warm oil (a mixture of oregano oil diluted in olive oil) into the chickens mouth and wait 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes are up, gently massage the birds crop to try to break up the food blockage. Be sure to massage upwards when doing so. This process can be done a couple of times a day over a couple of days.

Warning: If you are inexperienced you should rather take your bird to a vet to have them assess and treat the bird. Having the massage done by an inexperienced person can cause the bird to aspirate. 

Note: If the bird does not get better after a few days of massaging then the bird needs to be taken to a doctor for further assessment.

Can sour crop kill a chicken?

Sour crop can kill a chicken if left untreated over a long period of time. Because sour crop affects the crops normal bacterial flora, it can cause your bird to develop digestive problems. If this happens, your chicken will not be able to empty its stomach, this can cause a blockage in the bird. If this blockage is not addressed it can cause the bird to lose weight and even die


In conclusion, the reason why your bird’s crop feels as though it is filled with water is likely because it is suffering from sour crop. Causes of sour crop can include a blockage of food in the crop, excessive amounts of pasta or bread given to the bird, mouldy feed, worms, an injury, an infection, long tough grasses and even antibiotics. Ways to treat this include massage or better yet, a trip to the vet

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, Can sour crop kill a chicken?, Chicken vomiting yellow liquid, what to do

Chicken’s Crop Is Full Of Liquid (Why + What To Do)
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