Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hinchbug, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. hinchbug

    hinchbug In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2008
    Kalispell, Mt
    I just lost a chicken to an impacted crop. The vet said it was full of hay and corn. My question is what can I do for my other girls Buffs, who have golf ball size crops right away in the morning to prevent this. You all know it's like loosing a pet. HELP![​IMG]
  2. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing Premium Member

    How are they getting to the hay? If you can keep them away from that, it would be very helpful.
    How many chickens do you have? Is it possible to take ALL food away from them for a 12 hour period? You can either bring them inside or maybe lock them in the coop with nothing to eat. They need to have water, just no food. What you want is for all of their crops to go down and empty in that period. The only way to do this is to withhold food. If they do go down, you're in the clear. Just keep them away from hay (don't use it as bedding, either).
    If the crop doesn't go down, you will need to separate the bird and control what she eats very carefully, while giving her crop massages several times a day to make the mass go down. Feeding scrambled egg or another favorite treat with some oil can help them pass whatever is in their crop.
    I have one hen that, no matter what I do, always has a big "beer gut". [​IMG] I can't get it to go down but it doesn't seem to bother her. She seems to be the exception, though, so try withholding the food to give their crops a chance to empty out, and let us know how it goes.
    Good luck!
  3. Pumpkinpup

    Pumpkinpup Poultry Princess 10 Years

    Jul 16, 2008
    North-West Georgia
    I agree the hay is the primary contributer to the impaction. Are you using it as bedding or something? If so, get rid of it! [​IMG]
  4. fowlgirl

    fowlgirl In the Brooder

    Apr 4, 2008
    Strange,I never heard of hay impaction.My hens all hang around hay and I use it for bedding.Good info though.Whats the worst case senario on that,how wouls I know if there is a problem,my birds eats so much of anything they are always full. Ill check that out though.
  5. hinchbug

    hinchbug In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2008
    Kalispell, Mt
    Thank you so much for the advice. I put the hay down in their run so they have something towalk on. We had a wet week and out snow turned to mud. I'll stop using it though. I only have 4 girls now, 3 Buffs and an Austrolorp. Would they for any reason eat the pine shavings in their coop? Also, my impacted girl was full of scratch corn, is it not a good idea to use it? I though cold weather was the time. Oh so many questions when you're worried.
  6. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Not all chickens will eat hay, but some will and if they eat lots of large pieces they could be at risk for impaction. The full crop first thing in the morning is the key sign.

    Corn shouldn't be a problem by itself. I have not heard of chickens eating their shavings, but if you have one who is consistently doing this you might look to nutritional/boredom issues that could cause that.

    There are other reasons besides blockage for non-emptying crops ~ yeast or fungal infection is one I can think of. A vet would have to diagnose that, and treatment would consist of crop evacuation and administration of Nystatin 2x/day for 10 days.
  7. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    My "local" feed store told me to use wheat straw instead of hay, because the birds won't eat it. I've used it for 5 years and no problems. Yet. *knocks on wood*
  8. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing Premium Member

    Straw will work and so will pine shavings. If they eat a little bit, that's ok (mine will pick at the pine shavings sometimes) but for some reason, yours like the alfalfa.
    As far as the scratch, that cannot be a part of their primary diet. Think of scratch as candy. What they need to be eating (free choice, available at all times) is layer feed. You can give them scratch, especially now with the cold, but limit it to half a handful or less a day. I would probably give them less than that. The more "candy" they eat, the less good food they eat. If you like giving them a treat or hot food for the cold months, you can give them cooked oatmeal (they LOVE that) or scrambled eggs. Both can be served warm and are a healthier treat than scratch.
    I'm wondering now if they are eating hay because there is something missing in their diets. Are you just feeding them the scratch?
  9. hinchbug

    hinchbug In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2008
    Kalispell, Mt
    I am feeding them layer crumbles primarily. This am they dined on scrambled eggs with some shell, leftover applesauce a part of a mashed banana with drops of vegie oil. Only one has any palpable crop (the austrolorp), the size of a small golfball and hard. She doesn't care though. I keep hearing that people are feeding scraps and such. Can that take the place of a layer feed meal or between meal treat? I so appreciate all the feedback. I already feel like a better chicken mom.[​IMG]
  10. linzanimals

    linzanimals Hatching

    Jan 16, 2009
    My girl died last night for the same reason, bye bye hay! I'm sorry for your loss![​IMG]

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