Question Re: impacted crops and grit

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by emys, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    My question is What is the role of grit in an impacted crop situation.

    1) Is lack of grit a contributing factor in crop impaction, or is that not known for sure? Or do you believe it is only excess of grass, hay etc?

    2) I never see grit mentioned as something to try in an impacted crop thread. Is that because it is already too late for that? Or is there a worry that with the addition of grit at that point the bird will be in danger of crop damage during recommended massage treatments?


    Just wondering...
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Grit is used in the gizzard to grind food, not in the crop. If the food could get from the crop to the gizzard you would not have a problem, but, no, grit will not cure an impacted crop or prevent it. The gizzard comes after the crop.
     
  3. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Ah basic bird anatomy! Thanks.
     
  4. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    I'm still stuck on this for some reason. Is it possible that a gizzard without enough grit could get backed up or slowed down to the point that it could contribute to an impacted crop?

    Feel free to just say "no" if you don't think so.
     
  5. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2007
    Grit can definitely prevent an impacted crop. If food can't be ground up and passed on downstream, it will indeed back up.
    What I found most useful for an impacted crop and massaging it really well several times a day, and giving them olive oil and water and yogurt. Of course you would withhold food for a couple days too.
    Sometimes its really hard to tell where the problem is......sometimes its just in the crop, sometimes the gizzard, sometimes its a tumor somewhere along the line that's blocking things.
    And its good to treat an impacted crop ASAP, as their crops can stretch out so badly that they can't pass food at all, and they die. Once the crop tissue gets really stretched out, the innervation to the crop gets disrupted, and nothing can make the food go down. I lost a hen to this.
     
  6. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    I'm sorry you lost a hen this way.

    I noticed one of mine with a slow crop - not totally empty in the AM and feeling some junk in there, plus she wasn't first one at door waiting to go out like normal. The grit had run out three days ago and I wonder if this contributed to the problem. They also free range in the yard and got out 2 days ago and I caught them with a piece of road kill they found under melting snow. That could have been it too!

    I have brought her inside and am feeding her bread soaked with olive oil and tomato juice. She is drinking on her own and the mass is malleable, so I think I caught it early and she will recover.
     
  7. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I had a problem with hen grit and an ensuing impaction, described on this page, Incident 02.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=7693-sick-hen

    I discovered that lifting the crop to allow passage of nutrition helped, and that you must spend significent time with the bird assisting her to clear the problem- I got help from an experienced breeder here and added this to my limited repertoire! [​IMG]

    She's fine.
     
  8. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2007
    The hen I mentioned earlier who had a pendulous crop..........she would eat anything. I think this is because she was pretty much starving to death. But sometimes when their crops, etc. aren't working optimally, and they eat too much grit........the grit just adds to the impaction problem.
    Also, I've learned that just because their big crop has soft contents, it doesn't mean they are okay. I've always had problems identifying "sour crop". But I think sour crop tends to be big and soft. Diagnosing isn't always easy.
    Emys.....be careful with the bread. If it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, I would just give her straight oil (in a syringe). Just be sure to get it down far enough so it doesn't go in the lungs. If you want to continue with the bread, you can really saturate it with oil. I also sprinkle garlic powder on it too.
    If she does have a "GI" problem, she will benefit from yogurt.
    What are her stools like?
     
  9. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Well, last night they were green and white and very runny and she was very quiet for her and didn't go to roost. I did feel her crop last night, but it was just very squishy - seemed swollen. Last night I thought she was sick from eating road kill, so I brought her in and offered her cooked eggs with lots of parsley. She ate a small piece or 2, but that was all. I decided to let her sleep and warm up, so I kept her inside in a quite spot with a blanket over most of the dog crate.

    When I went to check on her this morning, she had passed two totally normal poops in the night - which was both encouraging and strange, since I thought she had a bacterial problem due to road kill. So, I checked her crop and found a small ball of junk sitting there and it felt like straw and stuff - probably the diameter of a half dollar. That's when I changed my diagnosis to probable impacted crop. (The day they escaped they were also in the neighbors horse barn.) She drank a little on her own this am and ate a little of the soaked saturated bread with olive oil and tomato juice. I left her with water and the soaked bread -more oil than bread while I was at work. When I checked her just now most of the oil is gone out of the bowl and her crop is filled with liquid as well as junk, so I massaged it all again. She seems to be perkier, so I am hoping this the correct treatment and she will begin to do better tomorrow. I did offer her some regular dry feed just now as well, but she pecked it half heartedly and really didn't eat much of it.

    This hen has always been first to the food dish and never shy to come running when I enter the yard, so it was easy to identify that she was ill. If these symptoms had appeared in another bird, I probably would have thought she was having a bad day and not noticed as quickly.
     
  10. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2007
    Hi Emys,

    sometimes there is a tumor down-stream from the crop, and no matter what you do, you can't help them. But you don't know that for awhile, and there's lots to try before that.
    I think its important when there's a "GI" problem in chickens, to give their tracts a total rest. Don't be afraid to only give her water (or an electrolyte) solution for a day or 2. I tend to do this when their crop is squishy and doesn't feel impacted. Then after a day or 2, I start them back on VERY small amounts of soft food.......like yogurt, a tiny bit of bread soaked in olive oil. But its important to let their tracts rest, or you're just pouring more into a sick system. The fact that she eats what you give her doesn't mean its good for her.

    If I think there's an impacted crop, I massage the heck out of it...........3-4 times a day and pretty aggressively. The olive oil and massaging seems to help the best for impacted crops.
    Do you have her isolated?
    Just like humans with a stomach flu, it takes awhile to get back on track. Good luck with her. Sounds like you're taking good care of her!
    And really do try to buy some plain yogurt for her. I even break open capsules of a probiotic and add that to the yogurt.
     

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