is long grass a problem?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ISA brown hen, Mar 26, 2016.

  1. Frequently

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  2. Sometimes

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  3. Rarely

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  4. Never

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  1. ISA brown hen

    ISA brown hen Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2016
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    I 've been reading online about the potential problems that can occur after a chicken eats long grass - apparently they can get a crop impaction [​IMG]Obviously, I can mow my own lawn to control it's length. But my chickens are often allowed to free range nearby on utility land and parkland nearby - I can't really control the length of this grass! How much of a problem is it? Are you just unlucky if they get a crop impaction or is it almost certain to happen? It's hasn't happened so far in the 6 months I've had them. I guess I could keep them locked up in their run, but they love free ranging so much! They call out to me when they hear me get home from work, demanding to be let out! Appreciate anyone's experiences with this.
     
  2. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine free range and we have a bit of yard we mow and the rest is allowed to grow. I have never heard of such a thing. As long as your chickens have access to good grit (we have a gravel road, sand) you chickens should have no problem digesting grass.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  3. ISA brown hen

    ISA brown hen Out Of The Brooder

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    Well that's good to know! Mine always have access to shell grit and seem to eat a lot of soil as they are foraging. Hopefully that should be enough to help them digest grass.
     
  4. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sure it will be.
     
  5. rIrs roost

    rIrs roost Sir Crows A lot Premium Member

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    I've read this too. And someone may correct me but I've had my chickens a year now and haven't had any problems. Apparently someone has thought because I have read it on this site. But as long as I'm not having problems, they're free to the field that they live so much.
     
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  6. ISA brown hen

    ISA brown hen Out Of The Brooder

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    Good! It would be such a shame to lock them up when they love free-ranging so much! Thanks for your help
     
  7. CrazedCowgirl

    CrazedCowgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting. Now I don't have to worry about my adult girls but I have 6 new chicks this year and they seem to struggle with long grass (4" or more in length) I only mow my front yard and part of my back yard (where my dogs run) but let a good bit of it grow out for my birds.

    A few times a week, I'll go out and hand cut grass for the chick to put in their brooder so they can get some variety in their diet and get the nutrition from fresh grass. I free feed my babies grit but I've noticed that if I give them long grass, they seem to choke on it. Not gonna lie, it's freaked me out several times. These are my first chicks so I'm sure I'm just being paranoid about them but, should I be cutting the grass into shorter pieces or should I just throw it in their brooder whole?
     
  8. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try shorter, cannot hurt them. I guess when I feed our chick's grass it is usually spring and the grass is short.
     
  9. rIrs roost

    rIrs roost Sir Crows A lot Premium Member

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    People will tell you different but I haven't had a problem with it. I'd love to know if there's been a study on this. Maybe someone Will read this thread and show us some facts. I've only had chickens for a year But I haven't had problems. Oh and mine have been opening their mouth like they're chocking or yawning since I've had them. I found a thread about it and they said that it's normal.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
  10. animalgrl

    animalgrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Speaking from recent experience, long grass can be a problem. I just last month lost my favorite EE to a crop/gizzard impaction caused by long grass. On necropsy the vet said she had about a baseball size ball of long grass clogging up her crop and gizzard. And I have both oyster shell and granite grit out free choice and throw the occasional handful out for them to encounter while scratching around our run. If I had caught it earlier, maybe we could have saved her, but we didn't catch it soon enough. I don't even know where she got the grass. Either she ate some of the orchard grass hay I was using for coop floor bedding, or she managed to get some of the long grass growing along the outside of the run fence (although it doesn't get through the fence, so no idea how she would have gotten a baseball size worth or that). However, I'm guessing how likely long grass is to be a problem depends on the individual chicken. My girls are in a run, eat mostly a layer pellet diet with occasional greens/fruit/veggie scraps. They don't get a lot of forage and the vet said that my EE's gizzard wall was thin. As the vet explained it, since the gizzard is a muscle, it doesn't get a lot of "work" digesting layer feed and can weaken and have trouble grinding fibrous food if they aren't raised on or used to it. So it may be less of a problem if your chickens free range regularly, but don't think it can't happen. My vet said our EE was the third case he has seen this spring and that both the other hens died as well.
     
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