Home Remedies for Sour Crop in Chickens

Inside: Effective and natural ways to treat sour crop in chickens. Learn about home remedies and preventative measures to keep your flock healthy.

The crop of your chicken is the first place that food goes once your chicken has eaten. It's like a store and sorting facility for the food. A telltale sign that you have sour crop in chickens is that they have an enlarged crop and may have “fowl” smelling breath.

close up to hen with Home Remedies for Sour Crop in Chickens text overlay

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Home Remedies for Sour Crop in Chickens

The easiest way to tell if you have a hen suffering from a sour crop is to check them out first thing in the morning.

Overnight the crop empties. But if they do not have an empty crop in the morning, then chances are they have a sour crop. There are things you can do about it, don't worry yet.

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It is best to catch your birds first thing in the morning before they have had breakfast. Don't put their breakfast out or own, or however you feed your birds until you have looked them over.

If you are unable to catch your chickens before they've begun pecking at their breakfast, look for these other symptoms in any not-so-chipper chickens:

  • May appear quieter than usual
  • Drowsiness
  • Sometimes will develop diarrhea
  • A loss of appetite
  • Weight loss, if not diagnosed early on

Sour crop, also known as crop stasis or impacted crop, is a common digestive disorder in chickens that can cause discomfort, reduced appetite, and even death if left untreated. It is best to catch them before eating because you can catch it sooner.

Sour crop occurs when the crop, a pouch-like organ in the chicken's neck that stores and softens food before it enters the stomach, becomes overgrown with yeast or bacteria, leading to fermentation and blockage.


In some cases, fasting your chicken for 24 hours can help give the crop time to empty and reduce inflammation.

During the fasting period, provide your chicken with clean water and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. After the fast, offer small amounts of soft, easily digestible food, such as cooked oatmeal or scrambled eggs, to avoid overloading the crop.

flock of chickens

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent that can help regulate the pH level of the crop and prevent the overgrowth of harmful microorganisms.

To use apple cider vinegar for sour crop, mix one tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with one gallon of water and offer it to your chickens in a clean waterer.

You can also add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to their drinking water daily as a preventive measure. This is something I do all year long. It's basically the only reason I have apple cider vinegar in my house.


Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help restore the balance of the gut microbiome and improve digestion. You can provide probiotics to your chickens through their feed or by offering them yogurt or kefir, which contain live cultures of lactobacillus and other probiotic strains.

Alternatively, you can purchase probiotic supplements specifically formulated for poultry. You can buy clearance yogurt for your chickens, they don't care if it's close to the date. They love the wet tasty tret no matter the flavor.


Gently massaging the crop area can help stimulate digestion and promote the movement of food through the digestive tract.

To massage a chicken's crop, hold her securely with one hand and use the other hand to rub the crop in a circular motion, being careful not to apply too much pressure or cause discomfort.

You can also try tilting the chicken's head downwards and gently tapping the crop to help dislodge any blockages.

close up to hen with Home Remedies for Sour Crop in Chickens text overlay

Herbal Remedies

Certain herbs and spices have been traditionally used to support digestive health in poultry.

Oregano, thyme, and garlic have antimicrobial properties that can help control bacterial and fungal overgrowth. You can add dried or fresh herbs to your chicken's feed or offer them as a snack.

Other herbs that may help with sour crop include chamomile, slippery elm, and dandelion.

It's important to note that while home remedies can be effective in mild cases of sour crop, severe or chronic cases may require veterinary attention.

If your chicken shows signs of persistent sour crop, such as a distended or hard crop, vomiting, or weight loss, consult a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

By incorporating these home remedies into your chicken care routine, you can help prevent and treat sour crop naturally and improve the overall health of your feathered friends. It's really best to stay on top and prevent it. I know everything isn't preventable, you are going to deal with issues from time to time.

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Sour Crop

    How to tell the difference between sour crop and impacted crop? For sour crop, the crop will still feel large, but it will be soft and squishy instead of hard. Keep in mind that impacted crop may lead to sour crop in which case the crop will start to feel squishy and the chicken will have sour-smelling breath.

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