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Can chickens eat hay?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Cake-decorator, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. Cake-decorator

    Cake-decorator Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2008
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    My chickens do eat some of the fresh hay I put down to help insulate their coop in late fall and winter. My ducks and geese eat it too. I don't worry about it and have never had an impacted crop.
     
  3. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    WOW. Makes me worry too! We have straw and I don't see them eat it much, but WOW! Our rabbit loves the straw and the chicken food.
     
  4. rosscreekranch

    rosscreekranch New Egg

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    I had a hen not eating, not drinking, weight loss and her comb looked small and pale. I am a vet tech so I took her in for a checkup. We took an xray and found nothing substantial except possibly a large gizzard and her crop was full. The Dr. and I palpated her several times and I ended up giving her mineral oil orally. I also gave her SQ fluids. She ate nothing and had no bowel movements all day. Finally in the evening she had diarrhea. The next day she ate some cabbage and a little bread and also had diarrhea multiple times. The third day she was eating cabbage and puffed rice and had a solid stool. The stool was very fiberous and had similar qualities of a cat coughing up a hairball. After inspection I determied the material was grass hay. I use it for bedding and just changed their entire coop (which is large) a couple weeks prior. My conclusion was that she engorged herself with hay when I cleaned the pen (all the chickens like to eat some when I clean house) and I think the 2 week duration would be about right when I discovered an ill chicken. I feel palpating her abdomen, the mineral oil and SQ fluids probably got things loosened up to get her digestive process moving again. This would also explain the larger gizzard and crop in the xray if she was suffering from an impaction. I can't say I'm 100% on the conclusion and I'm still in the middle of this issue so my hen is still trying to get back to nomal.
     

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