Crop Problems


The tissue salts Nat. phos. 6x; Mag. phos. 6x; Calc. phos. 6x and Calc. fluor. 6x are safe and could be helpful (these can be given together). In human babies reflux always relates to food sensitivities, so perhaps you might think about what she is having at EVERY MEAL that could trigger this off?

Carole Bryant

In very RARE instances I have had tiel babies that have had an intolerance to handfeeding formulas…it didn’t matter what brand or combination , such as adding cereal etc. I did 2 things that worked. I returned the baby to a bird to feed and wean out. OR I would use a crop tube and suck out some of the contents from birds that had new or young clutches of babies and then put this into the babies crop about 10 min. before feeding, at each feeding for a day or so.

I also save infertile eggs and will mix some of the egg yolk (1/4 of the yolk) into the formula once a day for the first few days of feeding. Susanne There was also a Blue Crown (feathered) baby which was dropping weight, vomiting and polyuric. (Like most breeders…if the $ are good we do use a vet…when $ are bad we have to do what we have to do)

The clutchmates were fine. Initially I did ginger and several herbs and antibiotics (Baytril)…which stopped the vomiting and got digestion back but it was still dropping weight. I hit the books and started with Capsicum and Gentian extracts (1 drop per 30cc of water) to the formula which slowed down the polyuria and also stabilized the weight…by then it was down to just under a 100 gr (20 gram weight loss).

At that point the bird was so weak it couldn’t stand. Within a day of the C/G (capsicum and gentian) it started acting better though still weak. Over a period of a few weeks I worked it up to 131 grams!…larger than it’s clutchmates.

Today it is doing great and finally weaned. (I have to look back to see how long I used the C/G, but I think it was about 7-10 days ?) I had a similar instance with an young adult parakeet. It was found lethargic and couldn’t walk, and poop was scant and black. I tubed a few cc’s of formula into it that contained the diluted C/G and within hours it was on it’s feet…poop first tarry and each successive droppings returning to normal. That blew me away! Within 24 hours it was back to it’s normal self. I’m using it now on this little handicapped one after it’s brief episode of chilling and slow crop…mainly for nutrient absorption.


Slow Crop

Slow crop is usually a management problem. There are several possible reasons that a baby might develop slow crop. The key is preventing it in the first place. Here are some reasons for slow crop:

1. brooder temperature too cold.  2. brooder not cleaned every day.  3. formula too cold.  4. formula too hot.  5. formula not made up fresh for every feeding.  6. feeding instruments not cleaned and disinfected between feedings.  7. separate feeding instruments not used for separate clutches.  8. improper diet provided to parent birds.  9. blowing on the formula sends bacteria from your mouth into the formula.

Treating slow crop depends on the cause.  1. If the brooder is too cool, increase the temperature.  2. if the brooder is not cleaned every day, clean it. If you don’t have good absorbent bedding then you should clean it at every feeding.  3. if formula is too cold, then it will digest too slowly, allowing bacteria to grow.  4. if formula is too hot, it will damage soft tissues, allowing yeast and bacteria to grow.  5 . if formula is allowed to sit, bacteria will grow in it  6. if instruments aren’t cleaned between use, bacteria can grow on them and you will feed the bacteria to the baby.  7. if separate instruments aren’t used per clutch, then you will spread bacteria from one clutch to another. The babies in once clutch may not have immunities from the parents to that type of bacteria.  8. Parents that are fed an improper diet don’t have a good immune system to give to the babies.  9. don’t blow on formula to cool it.

If the situation is an emergency and the baby is going down fast, then you will need antibiotics and antifungals from the vet. If you are alert and catch the situation immediately because you notice a change in droppings and crop emptying time, you can use herbs.

First, make sure the brooder is warm enough. Sick babies will need a brooder temperature of between 90 and 95 degrees. Sometimes all it takes is heat to get the digestive tract going again.

Some people use papaya to help digest the food in the crop and make it pass faster. It doesn’t solve the problem of why the crop is moving slow and it doesn’t get rid of bacteria or yeast, if that is the cause.

I use the recipe Debi posted a couple of days ago in all my formula. (inserted just below.) I simply do not get slow crop any more and haven’t for years.

Mix together in large jar: I cup Spirulina  1 cup wheatgrass 1TBS kelp powder 2TBS garlic powder (not garlic salt) 1TBS Avigard Shake this well until mixed. We add some of this to our regular handfeeding  formula to strengthen the immune system and help fight off yeast. It works!  The amount you add is enough to make the formula turnslightly lighter green  that pea soup when water is added. It gives the babies garlic breath, but who  cares as long as the babies are healthy! Baby birds fed this potion will be more vibrantly colored than those who do  not get it.

Gang: I have used this potion since 1997, and just rescued a lovebird, which  was spraddled leg, from a friend of mine. She kept the other 3 babies, and I  took the other one. I must say, mine is now walking and alot prettier, than  hers. Debby

Occasionally I have been careless with leaving food too long in the brooder, and then I get a bacterial problem. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

In this situation, I use garlic powder. It works. Garlic kills bacteria and yeast and it doesn’t harm the normal flora in the gut. I don’t know how it distinguishes between invading organisms and organisms that belong there, but it does.

GSE acts like an antibiotic. It kills everything. I don’t use GSE.

You can use garlic powder (NOT garlic SALT) from your kitchen cupboard if it is fresh. Otherwise, get a well-known and reliable brand from the health food store, not a grocery store…not a store brand. Get it in capsules so you can open them and sprinkle the powder in the formula. Use one capsule per 50cc of prepared formula. If you prepare 25cc of formula, use one-half of a capsule. A capsule is approximately one-fourth teaspoon.

Give garlic powder in the formula twice a day for a week. At the same time, I use a probiotic, which will help to crowd out bacteria and yeast. Avigard is one brand I have used. The brand I like best now is a human lactobacillus from the refrigerated section of the health food store. Use the same dosage as for the garlic.

I also use either echinacea or astragalus. Same amount same form as the garlic. Keep an eye on the baby and watch for improvement. You should see signs of improvement within two days. If you don’t, see the vet. Holistic works best if the baby is able to fight. If the baby is losing, then you need antibiotics.


Cockatiels with Yeast

My ‘personal’ term for that look to the eyes is ‘shark eyes’ At first the eyes will flatten and look fevered. Then they’ll go dull looking and the pupil looks strange and will reflect back light. The red is noted more when the babies are pinfeathered, and is actually dehydration. This is when you’re getting close to kidney failure.

The bird will pass a lot of clear urine that gradually gets pink tinged (on some) with blood, and the urates (white) will get very thin and gritty, and very little feces. I believe that the upright stance is from severe pain. And yes the appetites went way down.

What’s strange is I’ve noted on some that they digested (emptied) what was in the crop, but no solids were passed, only clear liquid and urates.



Some drugs and natural products used together can have canceling effect and I’d like to expand on this and a common dilemma. It is difficult for most of us to account for interactions of drugs. That’s why we have vets. Interactions between holistic treatment and the drugs is even less understood even by the experts. IMO this potential for adverse effects is to be avoided by simply committing to one approach or the other.

If we make a scale of 1 through 10 with 1 being mild and 10 is life threatening; let us rate the bird’s condition. IMO 1 through 6 is the window in which to use holistic means. Beyond that (6 -10) it’s emergency and time to get to your vet. The truth is holistic healing is not as efficient at dealing with emergency.

Emergency is the domain for the use of drugs and surgery. However if the condition is mild or moderate and of a chronic nature than holistic is preferable. Using both approaches at the same time is a mistake. You must be clear if it is mild or moderate or severe.

You might double up and overtreat some aspect. You might weaken some physiological event or over-taxanother. Finally when your pet recovers you have not learned which it was that contributed to its recovery. It is for these reasons that I strongly suggest one does not mix approaches.

I think that nearly everyone who is practicing holistic healing subscribes to the DO NO HARM tenet. By coming to terms, in our own mind, as to the severity of the case we can make the right choice and avoid potential self-made problems.

Yeast Problems When Handfeeding Babies

Yeast thrives in alkaline, warm, moist environments. Its favorite nourishment is sugar. In babies that are being handfed yeast finds a foothold in crops that are slow to empty and in crops where handfeeding formula is served at a temperature that may not be hot enough to actually burn the crop, but warm enough to ‘sear it slightly’ causing enough injury and allowing a place for yeast to grow.

Conditions causing the crop to slow are various and bear repeating::

1. temperature of the formula too cool, chilling the baby and slowing its metabolism.  2. temperature of the brooder too cool, chilling the baby and slowing its metabolism.  3. new food fed on top of old food, allowing for growth of both bacteria and yeast. The crop should be allowed to empty completely once a day.  4. formula that is not made up fresh for each feeding provides a rich environment for the growth of both bacteria and yeast.  5. brooder bedding that is not cleaned often enough.  6. dishes and utensils that are not cleaned and disinfected after each feeding.  7. contaminated hands that are not cleaned prior to handling and feeding babies 8. cross contamination of ill babies to healthy babies by not using separate feeding utensils per brooder or baby.  9 overfeeding and stretching the crop so it can’t completely empty.

If the previous list of items are in place, then babies should not develop yeast or bacterial infections unless they have come already contaminated from the nest.

Once a baby has a yeast infection, the following treatments may help depending on the severity of the infection and depending on whether the problems described in the above list have been resolved.

Treatment for yeast:

Herbs: one capsule of garlic, one capsule echinacea, 1/2 capsule of probiotics per 50cc prepared handfeeding formula twice a day for three days. If there is no improvement or if there is weight loss, the baby must be seen by a vet immediately.

This will not work on crop stasis. The crop must be emptying.

Brooder temperature: Increase brooder temperature until the babies do not huddle together for warmth. It would be advantageous to manipulate the brooder in such a way that one end of the brooder is warmer than the other end. On the warmest end the babies might pant a bit. This allows the babies to choose their own comfort level as needed.

Adult bird treatment Adults are usually not prone to yeast infections unless they have been on a course of antibiotics that have destroyed their healthy bacteria. This has left an opening for yeast to take the place of the healthy bacteria. The yeast must be attacked from several directions:  1. Remove from the diet food that nourishes yeast, thus starving and weakening it. All fruit and and food containing sugar, dextrose, maltose, glucose, molasses, honey, syrup etc, should not be included in the diet until yeast is gone. After that, fruit should be included in the diet again.  2. The alkaline environment that yeast prefers should be changed to acid. This can be accomplished by adding ACV or GSE to the water.  3. Healthy bacteria needs to repopulate the gut and take the place of yeast so it can’t return. Add live culture yogurt or other beneficial bacteria products to the diet. There are several on the market: bird benebac, ornabac, aviguard, or even human lactobacillus from the health food store will give the bird’s system a chance to regrow its own organisms. 4. A direct assault on the yeast can be provided by adding herbal antifungals to the diet. One is garlic powder. Sprinkle it on the food if the bird will eat the food, or administer orally.

From Dr. Sheila. First to combat a yeast problem I uggest placing a half of a capsful of a probiotic in their food. (acidophilus). Second I suggest a twinge of pau d’arco in their food . this will also combat the over proliferation of yeast.

From Kathy Greaser You might try using Caprinol (Kaprilic Acid). Caprinol can be found in General Nutrition Centers or other health food stores and is labeled for use on candida.

The nice thing about Caprinol is that the candida yeast does not become resistant to it. Resistant strains of candida are becoming a real problem in hospitals as well as what we do because Nystatin and other antifungals are overused. You will find that Caprinol works just as quickly as Nystatin and is systemic instead of topical. Within 8-12 hours, you will see excellent control.

When you use Nystatin, it must actually come in contact with the candida organism to be effective. Therefore, Nystatin is generally given prior to feeding so it has a chance to coat the crop. Caprinol is given with the feed and does not have to come in direct contact with the organism to work. When handfeeding, I break open a cap and use a small amount in the formula. It is very strong and you can smell it. I believe it is a derivative of peppers. If it is too strong, you may have birds reject it so go easy until you find a dose that is palatable.

One cap will easily treat a cup to cup and a half of formula. Most birds like peppers but you have to go easy on young ones. Its kind of like lactobacillus in that whatever isn’t needed by the bird will be excreted. At any rate, Caprinol is an excellent substitute for Nystatin and doesn’t increase the number of resistant strains we are dealing with.

From Sue Van Gelder For birds on antibiotics that you don’t want to overload with probiotics or other remedies, nor do you want to give them dairy.

RICE MILK! Has added Lactobacillus acidolphus and one other good bug. Also provides tasty moisture if they’re not drinking their water, and a little nourishment for support if they’re not eating well. Use unflavored variety.

Color therapy: Yellow-green

From Katie Kelley Try giving some yogurt. This may help. But don’t do it until she has been to the vet because it could give an inaccurate reading of the tests. I give my birds yogurt and have had great luck with no yeast. Especially in babies. An old greek gentleman that has been raising birds for 50 years taught me this and I’ve had nothing but good luck.

Air in Crop

Lots of air in the crop which can’t be emptied can certainly be because of a rupture or because of a splinter, or other debris. But I had two blue and gold macaw females, which I got as already bare chested – they had been put together like a pair, but didn’t like each other all that much – that would bloat up their crops like crazy when they got excited. This also seemed to make their voices louder.

I think that they were doing what prairie chickens do and purposely amplifying their voices and also making themselves seem bigger. It was very obvious because they were bare chested, but I suspect that some of the feathered birds do it and we don’t see it. The crops would go right down when they were otherwise occupied, eating, bathing or playing.  Linda

It may possibly be a ruptured air sac. Has she been chewing on any wood whereas a splinter could have gotten down her throat. Can you gently part the feathers around the inflated section, and see if the skin looks translucent of if it looks patchy. Sometimes you can go into a dark room and shine a flashlight from the opposite side of the neck and get a good view of the skin. You would also look to see if there is flecks of fluid, blood, etc. What your hoping to see is unblemished (aside from pinfeather bases) translucent skin.

I have several books that cover this. If you’d like please phone and I can look up the info, and have you check Goldie, as to symptoms. Also gently feel from the base of the throat to the bottom of the inflation to see if she reacts to pain. Susanne

It could be from what is known as a subcutaneous emphysema. Because of the way bird’s skin is constructed, air can get in through a break in the skin. It ‘crackles’ when you push on it and can possible be ‘pushed’ all around the bird’s body. Some Jardine’s I purchased that had just been surgically sexed that had this problem. It went away eventually. If it hadn’t , my vet told me they would need surgical correction. gloria

Gentian Violet

In regards to the Gentian Violet (GV)I had used it for several things….mainly as a *diagnostic tool* for determining yeast. I do this when someone brings me a baby that has suspected yeast and I’m not sure how bad it is. First off it is an over the counter product that runs anywhere from $2-4 at a drugstore. I use it for detection of yeast in the crop,or if the problem has gone systemic.

How I do this is dip a Q-tip in the GV and insert the Q-tip into the babies mouth, down the throat and into the crop. I will hold the baby firmly with the head upright and while the swab is in the crop massage the crop skin over the Q-tip to distribute the GV onto the skin and interior of the crop tissue…then remove the Q-tip. The interior skin will be stained a dark purple. If there is yeast present in the crop it will appear as white or opaque patches/areas which will not look purple from the staining. If you only see a little bit of white/opaque patches it’s an indication of a mild yeast infection.

You can rub the crop skin between your fingers and the patch will work loose from the skin. With mild infections this can be once a day for up to 3 days to remove the yeast patches from the crop wall. If the the entire crop skin has an overall white/opaque look this is a heavy yeast build up in the crop. The skin will also have a thickened feel to it.

For this I use a feeding tube and put 0.2 of Nystatin directly into the crop and massage this into the crop skin…2 times a day. Usually within 3 days this will work most of the yeast loose from the crop skin. If the crop skin looks stained purple, and there are no visible white/opaque patches and the baby is having slow/sour crop then I know that the yeast (and possibly bacteria) problem is located in the proventriculus or the digestive tract. In this case I am worried that it can go systemic and I start using a stronger antifungal such as Diflucan and a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Baytril.

Usually in this case, dehydration is noted…such as sunken eyes, reddened/wrinkled body skin. Hydration has to be corrected before any antibiotic/antifungal treatments can truly be effective. I will use an electrolyte as the water to mix my formula to help hydrate the baby. If the dehydration is severe I will subcutenously give the baby Lactated Ringer under the skin every few hours for up to 12-24 hours to get the GI tract moving, restore dropping to normal, get nutrients into the body, and also re-hydrate.

Other instances where Gentian Violet has been very effective is in helping to shrink an overstretched crop. Usually painting the inside of the crop 2 times a day for 3 days has tightened up the skin. Susanne

If you are approaching total digestive shut down there is NO easy solutions. If the baby is still passing a little please try to get the old food out of the crop. Adding new food on top of the existing contaminated food in the crop only compounds the problem. Have someone locally do it or do it yourself by holding the baby upside down and working the crop from the bottom to force the food up the crop towards the throat to have the baby expel/vomit it out the mouth.

The very first feeding I give the baby *after* the crop is emptied is 1-2cc of an A-S solution. What I do is dissolve 1/2 tablet of Alka-Seltzer in 4 oz. of warm (105 degrees) water and feed the baby 1-2cc of this…keep the baby warm, on clean paper towels to monitor the poop…which if there is still digestion this should pass through in 1-2 hours, and also move out some of the harmful bacteria in the digestive tract.

The first feeding is only 1/3 to 1/3 of the normal amount being fed…using an electrolyte (for dehydration) for the water for mixing, and papaya baby food (digestive enzymes) to your handfeeding formula…making it your normal consistency. Again keep the baby warm and allow 3-4 hours to digest. If the baby is slow in digesting prior to the next feeding..*Empty* the old food out of the crop and mix fresh, again using the electrolytes, and papaya to the formula.

Hopefully the digestion should start to be more normal. Once the digestion is moving THEN I determine how serious the problem is…such as if it is critical do I need to use an antibiotic and antifungal…OR…can I go the herbal route…which I mix 2 parts garlic powder, to 1 part cinnamon, and 1 part ginger in a jar (stock mix) and add 1/8 tsp. of this to each feeding.