Avian Sour Crop

Avian sour crop, which is also known as crop stasis or gastric stasis, is an uncomfortable digestive condition that can affect birds. It occurs when food moves too slowly through their crop and ferments, leading to a build-up of toxins in the bird’s system. This condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Poor diet: A diet that is low in fiber or contains too much fat can cause food to move more slowly through their crop. This can lead to fermentation of the food and the development of Sour Crop.
  • Stress: Stressful situations can cause a bird’s digestive system to slow down, leading to stasis.
  • Parasites: Parasites, such as worms or mites, can cause inflammation in their crop, leading to stasis.
  • Injuries to their crop: Physical damage to their crop, like from being pecked at by other birds, can lead to sour crop.
  • Infections: Bacterial and fungal infections of their crop can cause fermentation and stasis.

Symptoms of Avian Sour Crop

The symptoms of avian sour crop can vary from bird to bird, depending on the underlying cause. Some common symptoms are:

  • A distended crop that is larger than usual
  • Vomiting or regurgitating food
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Diarrhea

Diagnosing Avian Sour Crop

In order to diagnose Avian Sour Crop, a veterinarian needs to perform a physical examination on the bird. The veterinarian will look for signs of abdominal distention and might take an X-ray to look for any blockages or abnormal accumulations in their digestive tract. In some cases, they could also take a sample of the crop contents to be tested for bacteria or parasites.

Stages of Avian Sour Crop

an illustration of a sick parrotlet

Avian sour crop is a progressive disorder with three distinct stages.

Stage 1

In the first stage, the bird can have a distended crop that is larger than usual and could vomit or regurgitate food.

Stage 2

In the second stage, the bird begins to lose their appetite and become lethargic. Their appetite loss can lead to weight loss and depression. The crop can also become harder and drier.

Stage 3

In the third and most serious stage, the crop becomes filled with fluid that is thick, yellowish, and foul smelling. This fluid is a sign of an infection in their digestive tract.

Treating Avian Sour Crop

Treating Avian Sour Crop will depend on the underlying cause. In cases of infection, antibiotics are usually prescribed. In cases of physical damage or parasites, these may need to be treated before the sour crop can be resolved. In all cases, it’s important to feed your bird a high-fiber diet that is low in fat and to reduce their stress as much as possible.

Preventing Avian Sour Crop

In order to prevent Avian Sour Crop, it’s important to feed your bird a balanced diet with plenty of fiber and fresh vegetables. Stress should be avoided as much as possible, and any injuries or parasites should be treated promptly. It’s also important to keep your bird’s cage clean and free of debris that can accumulate in their crop.