Getting Ready for Crop Operation: UPDATE


11 Years
Jun 21, 2008
I need to clean out the crop on my hen who has not been eating, and has a very full crop. I having waiting 2 days doing ACV in water, oil soaked bread, yogurt, and no results. Her crop is just as big and hard. Now, when I massage it, there is fluid just under her skin that seeps out, so I am concerned that it need to be fixed ASAP. I don't have access to a lot of professional medical supplies, like sterile gloves, betadine, scapel, sutures. What can I use that can be purchased at TSC or a pharmacy to do this operation?

I've read the sticky about the operation, and am not at all nervous about it, but I want to give the hen the best chance to recovery without infection or unnecessary pain. Also, I don't want the incision to reopen later, but I'm not sure how to hold it closed without sutures.

So everyone who has done this before please speak up!
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You are braver than I am! I can't imagine what you could use to close the wound other than to sew it.
I hope she pulls through.
Band-Aide brand makes a solution for cleaning cuts and wounds. I bought it to use on my kids because it has no sting. I'd also get some sterile gauze pads (pretty cheap by the box) for any bleeding. You can also purchase things called SteriStrips that are like bandages but they are used to keep incisions closed that are too small for stitches. I'd also find yourself a basic antibiotic to administer for up to 10 days afterwards. Sterilize your cutting tool and use some iodine on her skin where you make the incision and keep her warm and quiet after all is done. Boxes of gloves can be purchased at any pharmacy or medical supply store.

I'd feed her stuff that doesn't require the use of her crop for at least 2 weeks like crumbles and plain yogurt. It will need time to heal before it needs to be up and functioning again.

I'm no vet, I'm just thinking of some basic first aide. My Mom is an RN so I've learned a lot from her (no, she doesn't have chickens). Let us know how it goes.
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I have used just plain old super glue to close cuts on me, don't see any reason it would not work on a chicken. Started doing this after spending a few hours in the ER with my kid, just to watch the doc clean the cut and use.......plain old super glue.
Okay, so here is the shopping list so far:

sterile gauze or 4x4s
sterile saline
scalpel (tsc has one for castration I believe)


The boxed gloves are not sterile, do I need sterile gloves?

The steri-strips would be fine for the skin layer, but what about keeping the crop layer closed? This is my biggest concern. I don't want to have crop contents leaking out under the skin if the crop incision isn't closed well.

Edited to add: Super glue burns pretty bad on skin. Could I use it on the inner crop layer? or just the outer skin layer?
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You don't have a sterile instrument to remove the contents of the crop. The person in the sticky used absorbable sutures to close the crop. I would personally not try this without absorbable sutures. I have my doubts that super glue would hold wet tissue, and for sure steri strips would not. I don't know how you would do this without suture.

You could probabaly get by with nonsterile gloves if you only touch the handles of the instruments, and not the chicken's open tissue.
Could I make my own sutures? I cannot find anywhere local to buy sutures, and I need to do this operation today if possible. My concern is that if I don't use absorbable sutures for the crop layer, then how do I get the sutures out later? Do I go through the skin and then suture the crop? It doesn't seem like a good idea to suture the skin and crop together, since I'm sure the crop needs to move independently of the skin.

Any other ideas? How can I get this done with no access to professional grade medical supplies?
You need absorbable suture, and you need to suture the crop separately from the skin. I know of no substitute for absorbable suture.

You know, there are a lot of people on here with veterinary or medical experience, including me. If there were a good answer for you, surely someone would have come up with it.
Well, I finally got hold of some absorbable sutures from my sister, who is a nurse at a cardiac hospital. Did the operation, and I think it went very well.

I removed about half a cup of grass and scratch grains. There was no bleeding at all, not when I cut through the skin, and not when I cut through the crop. She tolerated the operation very well. I had laid her on her side, wrapped mostly in a sheet, with a friend helping immobilize her. She just laid there with her eyes closed most of the time. I made sure to flush out her crop as well as I could with sterile saline, and felt around in there with my finger so no bits were left. She was able to stand up immediately after.

She is resting now on the couch in a patch of sun. I'm going to give her antibiotics prophylactically for a few days, but I'm very hopeful she'll make a full recovery.

Thank you to everyone on here who helped guide me through this, especially to the poster who had the pictures of the operation.

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