Backyard Birds

Moniliasis (Crop Mycosis, Thrush)

Moniliasis (Crop Mycosis, Thrush)

This condition is caused by a yeast-like fungus – a Candida organism, which is widely spread throughout the poultry-producing areas of the world.

This condition is similar to trichomoniasis, Vitamin A deficiency, Wet Pox, and T-2 toxicosis.

Most Susceptible Species:

  • ChickensDucks
  • GeeseTurkeys
  • Partridges
  • Pigeons
  • Pheasants
  • Quail
  • Turkeys
  • Grouse

Typical Symptoms / Diagnosis:

This condition produces no specific symptoms. Some are listed below

  • Young birds may become lethargic, and pale with ruffled feathers.
  • Caged layer hens may become obese and anemic.
  • Some birds exhibit a vent inflammation that resembles a diarrhea-induced condition with whitish incrustations of the feathers and skin around the area.
  • Feed consumption may increase by ten to twenty percent.


  • The crop and proventriculus have whitish-thickened areas that are often described as having a “Turkish towel” appearance.
  • Erosion of the lining of the proventriculus and gizzard
  • Inflammation of the intestines.
    Diagnosis is based on history and typical lesions in the flock. Confirmation of the condition is by isolation and laboratory identification of the C. albicans organism.


Moniliasis is transmitted by ingestion of infected feed, or water, or via exposure to a contaminated environment. Unsanitary and unclean water troughs are most often the source of the infection.

The organism grows especially well on corn, so infection can be introduced by feeding moldy feed.

The disease does not, however, spread directly from bird to bird.


An antimycotic drug will control the infection. The addition of Nystatin (100 g/Ton) or copper sulfate (2-3 lb/Ton) to the feed for seven to ten days should control moniliasis.

Note: Many broad-spectrum antibiotics will enhance this disease; therefore they should not be used until after control of this condition is completed.

Useful Web Resources:


(Discuss with vet specific treatment protocol)

Environment treatment / prevention:

Once introduced into the flock, the spread of moniliasis is facilitated by poor sanitation. To resolve this condition, as well as prevent it from reoccurring, the following is recommended:

  • Continued use of mold inhibitors in the feed
  • Proper feed handling and storage
  • Daily cleaning and sanitizing of the watering system
  • Periodic stirring and/or replacement of wet litter areas to prevent caking.
  • An inexpensive, yet effective, water treatment is the continuous addition of household chlorine bleach to the drinking water

Find Your Local Avian Veterinarian

Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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