what is the general cause of 'impacted crop'

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bj taylor, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    is impacted crop something i can avoid by my feeding practices, or is it something that is inherently (not sure this is the correct spelling) a risk of chickens feeding on unexpected goodies or things like grass that are elongated?
  2. GoldenSparrow

    GoldenSparrow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2011
    I could be wrong, but I believe it is generally caused by eating long grass, long roosts long things?
  3. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    I'm one of these people who has consistently allowed chickens access to long grass, clippings, straw, hay, you name it, and have never seen impacted crop.

    However I've seen gizzard impaction where the gizzard was jammed up with nesting straw. I believe this was due to a lack of hard grit. Her crop was empty. She was a bought-in bird and arrived with a feather eating habit, so perhaps she was eating nesting straw in an effort to eat feathers (they were tangled together).

    Whatever the case, I think birds with access to fresh green pick don't generally gorge on hard fibrous material, and even if they do, hard grit and a healthy digestive system ensure there are no problems.

    I've been feeding alfalfa chaff (mixed in a ration) for 10 years, and I don't take out the stalks. It doesn't make sense to me that fibrous foods commonly cause crop impaction.

    I suspect there are often (which is not to say always) other issues at play, e.g. microbial imbalance; poor muscle tone in the gut; lack of hard grit; mineral imbalance; overuse of antibiotics; something else.

  4. Capvin

    Capvin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    Lake Placid, FL
    I think that people who use straw or hay typre products in and around the coop are more likely to have impacted crop problems. Grass should not cause problems because the chickens generally clip the grass off from the top and the pieces are not large enough to cause problems. Always have sufficient grit around.
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  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    If your hens are in a run where they are desperate for greens I'd clip the glass clippings short (2-3") as I have seen pictures of crop surgery results where the long grass was balled up and was removed from the crop.

    But fungal infections are known to cause sour crop...so I am thinking that Erica has a point in that lack of grit and microbial problems with the crop might be the true culprit - I really don't know.

    I am always telling folks to keep the grass clippings short that are fed as food to prevent it though. However, I have fed alfalfa hay myself and they didn't have a problem (did it with 2 bales of hay).

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