Chickens and freshly cut grass - DANGER!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LawChick, May 10, 2012.

  1. LawChick

    LawChick Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 9, 2011
    I have eleven chickens, ten hens and one rooster. They love being out of the coop after the grass has been cut, and we often saw them chowing down on the cut grass. Not anymore! And here's why: My little Ameraucana, Cordelia, was listless and thin for several days. I finally broke down and took her to my chicken-owning veterinarian, who discovered that Cordelia's crop was severely impacted and that she had an intestinal infection, too. My vet was not able to determine what came first (no, not the old chicken and egg question), the infection or the crop impaction. She warned me that my little bird might not make it, but since that wasn't an "abandon all hope" message, I told her I'd like to give Cordelia a chance, at least. We decided to treat Cordelia for a couple of days and see if she improved. She did! And while she was at the vet, she passed some substantial amounts of very fiberous material . . . grass! She continued to do so after coming home until her crop was normal about a week later. She seems to be recovered from her problems, is putting on weight again, and has been reunited with her flock. She nearly died, though, and I spent an amount at the vet's office that I will not disclose to avoid ridicule!!! :)

    See, when chickens are out in the yard eating grass, they snip off a piece small enough to keep moving through their digestive tracts, but when they eat the cut grass, those blades (at least out in the country where we live) might be several inches long, and it just gets bound up in their crop. So if your chickens like being out after you've mowed, be firm and tell them no to protect them from an infected crop. (BTW, Gail Damerow's book identified surgery as the only treatment for crop impaction, but my girl was able to pass that material through with the aid of feline hairball medicine at the vet's office, and a mixture of finely crumbled bread mixed with water and some olive oil at home. Also, when she came home from the hospital, I was told by the vet not to feed her regular chicken feed or grit, and to stick with the bread/water/olive oil mixture, applesauce, and scratch grains. As she began to feel better, I added a strawberry now and then, or a bit of canteloupe.)

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