Poppy's Crop and the Broccoli Stem: No More Broccoli Stems for Chooks!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by wingnut1, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. wingnut1

    wingnut1 Crazy Bird Lady

    This is the story of Poppy versus the Broccoli stem. To cut to the chase: A piece of broccoli stem got lodged in the area between her crop and her proventriculus and she developed very bad crop stasis, had surgery to remove the blockage and the gunk that backed up in her crop, and is all better now.

    I wanted to post this because I had *no* idea that a piece of broccoli stem could be so dangerous!!!! The piece sure seemed small enough - and we've been feeding our bird broccoli flowerettes and chopped up stems for years - but no more stems allowed!

    If you are interested in more details of the broccoli saga

    Poppy is a 1 yr old blue orp, and last Thursday her crop looked rather large. I read the eggcellent information BYC and other sites have on has on sour and impacted crops, and started treating her myself with a bit of apple cider in water, followed by yogurt mixed with baby bird formula and beneficial bacteria. And I massaged her crop.

    I thought I had made progress by Friday, but Saturday morning she started to twist her neck like she was choking. I am lucky enough to have an avian vet nearby who has poultry science training. She met me at her office, an xray of the crop showed no big solid objects. She tried to irrigate the crop, but to no avail.

    So she cut into her crop and pulled out *one pound* of food/bits of plant material from her crop - Poppy weighs 7 pounds without the crop full of yuk - and found the piece of broccoli stem stopping up the whole system.

    So the morals I am taking home from this? Chicken grit is no match for broccoli stems that get lodged at the bottom of the crop. And if a crop doesn't markedly improve in 24 hrs, its time to move on to more aggressive treatments or to take the chicken to the vet!
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009
  2. RendonRoo

    RendonRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2009
    ft. worth
    thanks for the warning. Wouldn't have ever seen a problem there either. Glad your chick survived.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Heard a saying once that applies... the better for basket weaving, the worse for chicken feeding. It means dont feed them tough fibrous stuff. And unfortunately, your experience backs that up! Glad Poppy is okay now!
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Well, this is important information.

    I've also fed broccoli stems to the chickens for years. They are always chopped and cooked in the microwave, however.

    In fact, I just took some shredded cabbage and carrot peels (cooked again) out to the birds. Hope the chopping, shredding, and cooking continue to do the job. They especially like the cooked carrot peelings.

    The only time I've had problems with impacted crop was with another stem, or stems - stemmy grass hay.

    Grit probably won't do anything beneficial unless it reaches the gizzard.

    Good thing Poppy had you there to take her in to the vet.

  5. wingnut1

    wingnut1 Crazy Bird Lady

    Quote:Thanks, Cyn! What a helpful saying!!! It makes perfect sense - and for the life of me I don't know why I didn't realize it earlier. [​IMG] Poor Poppy!

    She is happy to down 2 baytril and let me spread antibiotic over her incision twice a day because I always reward her with a pasta party!!! [​IMG]

    Steve - thanks for the kind words. I'll bet your microwaving breaks down the fibrous material....

    Live and learn, eh??? [​IMG]
  6. wingnut1

    wingnut1 Crazy Bird Lady

    And today, Poppy caught a mouse.. I saw her dangling it during the obligatory chicken keep away chaos - and then swallow it essentially whole. I was worried initially - and then said to myself.. "whats good for basket weaving is bad for chicken feeding.." and felt better.. never seen a mouse basket. *phew*!!!
  7. FrenchHen

    FrenchHen Chicken Ambassador

    Jan 26, 2009
    Bagshot Row
    mouse basket...ewwww!
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

  9. TammyTX

    TammyTX Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 16, 2009
    A POUND ??? [​IMG]

    OMG! How much does a crop usually hold?
  10. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    I feed mine broccoli stems but I literally mince them up (it's quick work with a good chef knife and technique), but only through the winter. Now that's it's nice out and they can come out to wander the yard, they can find their own salad out there!

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