Crop Surgery Performed - Truly Graphic but Informative Pics - By Ruth

Well, you can add one more thing to the list of things I never thought I would do in a million years. I operated on a hen tonight and performed crop surgery.

She has been impacted for at least three weeks, getting more and more frail. I've had her inside and have been feeding her soft foods and olive oil and doing regular deep tissue massages in an effort to break up the hard mass in her crop. When she could no longer eat and it was apparent she was having difficulty swallowing and was skin and bones I felt I had no choice but to try and save her. When I laid her on her side to examine her, black foul-smelling liquid began pouring out. So, I first held her upside down for about 20 minutes while massaging the crop and being very careful that her head stayed down so that she would not choke or inhale and drown on the awful black smelling liquid that just kept pouring out of her mouth. There must have been at least a cup of it to come out.

Then I was able to examine her and the crop was still the size of a softball or larger and hard. I knew I had to open her up. I got my trusty assistant Boaz to help. His job was to hold her. We laid her on her side and covered her head with a towel and she NEVER moved, never flinched. In fact, at one point, he said "I don't think she's still with us" and wanted to move the towel or rouse her to see if she was still alive. But I knew since she had not so much as flinched that she was still alive and I just kept working on her. The following pictures say it all - they are graphic but informative. Only time will tell if she will recover but as soon as I finished stitching her back up (first the crop, twice, and then the outer skin) she sat up and looked around and started walking around.

Here is when I first started pulling out all the mass of hay/straw/grass that was in her:


Here is some of it after I got it out - looks like she ate a nest.


Here you can see the incision (about an inch) after the crop was emptied and before I stitched it closed:


And here is the outer stitching that closed up the skin.


You can read more and discuss chicken crop surgery.