Accidentally cut the crop


Jul 31, 2020
Hey everyone! First time butchering one of my roosters and as I was doing it I believe I cut the crop (the balloon type thing on the esophagus) . I was wondering if I still removed it, if it is safe to still eat the chicken? It looked like there wasn't anything in the crop when it happened. Any insight would be great!
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Here is an old trick I learned years ago. Drive two large nails an 1"-1/2 apart into the top of a large flat topped log. Then you can lay the poultry's head and neck in between the nails and then pull on the birds legs and this will stretch the neck out and make it easier to chop off their head. :)
To avoid the crop or leakage from anywhere else, I started using small (6 inch) ceramic knives for the detailed work.

We "do the deed" up high on the neck, while they're in a cone. After they're scalded/plucked and it's time to process them down, I take the head off from the upper part of the neck, where I then have the long wind pipe and the tube thing that goes to the crop intact. I separate those, peel back the (crop pipe? esophagus? what's it called?) so that I can tie a knot in the one that goes to the crop. Then I work at loosening the crop from the membranes and tissue holding it in there, then I remove the neck as low down as I can.

Then I take the feet off, bending the leg back to tighten the tendons, cutting through the joint easily.

Then I move to the back end, positioning the bird breast down. I take the tail off behind the oil gland, cutting down and away from the body at a 45 degree angle, so that the knife finds the spot where there isn't a vertebrae and it goes through easily. Carefully stopping before hitting the poop chute. I turn the bird over on it's back, pinch up the skin about an inch below where the keel bone ends, and go straight in with the knife until I get through the membrane inside. Then I cut down, towards the side of the vent. If I had cat through the tail far enough, those two cuts meet up and I only need to do the other side, careful not to cut the poop chute. Once I have the vent/tail loose, I reach inside and start loosening things up, searching for the gizzard.

Once I have the gizzard in my hand, I pull with even and straight pressure and if I had loosened the crop enough from the front, it comes with in one motion. Liver, spleen, intestines, crop and gizzard come out in that pile. Then I go back in for the heart, lungs, perhaps a kidney, testes if male, and that windpipe.

We keep a hose handy at the processing table, so that we can rinse as needed and then rinse thoroughly prior to putting them into a salted ice bath.

I've done so many now that I could almost do it in my sleep.

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