Crop impactions occur when there is an interference with the normal functioning of the crop, resulting in a partial or complete blockage of food passage. The chicken's crop is like a temporary storage pouch. It is an out-pocketing of the esophagus and is located just outside the body cavity in the neck region. It is where the initial stages of digestion occurs in chickens. Sometimes you can feel the contents and whether it is full or empty. When the crop is impacted, the contents will feel full.
Crop impactions may occur due to the presence of indigestible foreign substances, such as:
- String (crafts, hay bale twine, artificial grass, carpets, etc.)
- Long blades of grass (ornamental or pasture/yard variety)
- Skins from certain fruits (banana, persimmons, etc.)
- Bedding or ground litter (straw, wood chips, mulch, shavings)
- Misc plastic or metal objects
Crop impactions can also occur secondary if birds are having muscular contraction issues, since these contractions are what controls the normal movement of food through the crop. Some forms of Marek's disease
are known to cause muscular contraction issues, specifically related to crop functioning.
often occurs as a secondary complication in chickens with crop impactions.
Treatment for Crop Impactions
Treatment depends on the cause, the health status of the bird (why early discovery of this condition is ideal), and severity of the impaction. Trauma to the gastrointestinal tract often occurs as a secondary result of ingestion of foreign objects. For example, there were several cases where chickens who had ingested baling net wrap lost their tongues from ischemic necrosis. Others developed secondary septicemia and airsacculitis. When treatment is delayed, the condition rapidly worsens and leads to secondary infections, starvation, dehydration, and death.