IMPORTANT ADDITION to "Feeding Chickens: Foods to Avoid" section

Discussion in 'Website Announcements, Feedback, Issues, & Guides' started by norcalfran, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. norcalfran

    norcalfran Hatching

    Apr 1, 2009
    Hi all,

    I just wanted to make a suggestion that you add long cut grass to your "Chicken Foods To Avoid" section on your excellent site.

    Because of all the new fresh spring grass growing in our area, I had been cutting handfulls of it and giving it to my girls as greens.

    They loved it, but when chickens ingest long strands they can get tangled up in a big wad in their crop and cause a blockage, which is what happened to the sweetest gal in my flock, Big Yellow.

    This blockage is called impacted crop, and though a vet did successfully remove the big wad of grass surgically, my hen didn't make it out of the anesthesia.

    When chickens "pick" the grass themselves while it's still growing (that is, NOT when its already been cut), they tear off shorter more manageable pieces, so there is less risk.

    I thought more grit might have helped, but the vet said that the fiberous structure of grass makes it "un-cuttable" by grit (though grit is of course useful and necessary for grinding up grains and seeds).

    So for greens, stick with lettuce, kale, brocolli, etc.

    So if you post this warning on your list of "Foods to Avoid" on your Learning Pages and it prevents just one owner from making the same mistake I did, then Big Yellow will not have passed away in vain. I direct you to the following website for a similar account, which happily turned out better for that hen:

    How the crop got impacted because of long cut grass (and the DIY procedure that the author used to do, but no longer attempts):

    the vet emptied the crop (and the dangers of trying to do this procedure yourself):

    Please make this addition ASAP to your Learning Pages, as I imagine with spring arriving, perhaps other novice chicken owners will unknowingly give their gals long grass too.

    Thank you!

    P.S. Signs of impacted crop in case you haven't yet seen one are:

    1. A large (golf ball-ish sized) bump on a hen's right lower breast that does not empty overnight. It will get full during the day as they eat, but should be emptied every night while they're not eating.

    2. An unusual rolling or stretching of the neck as the bird is trying to dislodge the blockage.

    If you see these symptoms get to the vet immediately. The bird's decline may be rapid if she's completley blocked, because she won't be getting any nutrition into her system, even if she continues to eat (it won't be getting past the crop).

  2. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    So sorry to hear of your loss. Thanks for sharing your story as a reminder to everyone of the causes of impacted crops.
  3. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    THANK YOU FOR THE VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION! So sorry your girl didn't make it. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. Chicky Tocks

    Chicky Tocks [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2666.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Ru

    Oct 20, 2008
    Benton, Arkansas
    [​IMG] I'm sorry you lost one of your girls. I give my hens spring grasses as well but I've read before that it can impact a crop so I always pull and break the grass into no more than two inch long pieces, never more than a handful, and even then I distribute it out to make sure that not any one hen is getting the most of it. They have to hunt and peck.

    Generally I only give them very, very tender grasses only and clover, they loves them some clover, specially those round flowers!
  5. mrsgibber

    mrsgibber Songster

    Jun 3, 2008
    Bolton, CT
    So sorry you lost one of your girls. [​IMG] I appreciate the information given this is my first spring with chickens.

  6. norcalfran

    norcalfran Hatching

    Apr 1, 2009
    Thank you for your kind words everyone. I really appreciate it. I miss Big Yellow very much! Who knew I would get to love a chicken?

    And thank you also to everyone who posted saying that this info will prevent them from giving long grass to their chickens. It makes me feel a little better to know that at least my terrible mistake is maybe helping other owners and their birds.

    Pass this warning along! And enjoy your time with your flocks.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2009
  7. vermontgal

    vermontgal Songster

    Sorry to hear about Big Yellow. You must have loved her very much to have a vet try surgery on her. [​IMG] Thank you for the reminder to the rest of us.

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