Hole in chicken's neck


In the Brooder
Mar 22, 2018
A opossum attacked my chicken last night. My dog heard it and chased it off. The chicken was acting fine and we didn't find any wounds, but this morning we checked her again and we found what looks like a hole with food coming out of it on the back right side of her neck.

My friend is on her way over to help me clean the wound. Who has experience and words of wisdom? I'm not sure if I should bandage it and hope that keeps some food in? Or just keep it clean and leave it open? I'm afraid she's going to starve.

Thanks for any advice.


12 Years
Dec 1, 2007
Puna, Big Island, HI
I'm so sorry to hear about this poor bird's misfortune. Unless you are equipped and able to perform surgery to repair the damaged layers of tissue in the neck the only advice I can offer is take her to a small animal or specifically bird vet immediately.

Because the food is present in the wound that is guaranteed to cause serious complications. She cant eat without this continuing to happen due to the severity of injury. There is zero chance of that kind of injury healing without surgery. I wish you and your chook the best of luck!


Crossing the Road
9 Years
Jun 23, 2013
The Big Island/Hawaii
Can we get a picture of the injury? I'm thinking her esophagus (food tube) got punctured as you said neck. If the puncture is lower it maybe the top part of her crop.

You'll need to remove feathering around the wound, flush/clean out & suture the esophagus/crop then the skin .... I've never had to but that's what I think will need to be done. You're in the right forum, the knowledgeable will be responding, hang in there.

Will tag a few, you don't have your location in you profile not sure what timezone you're in, you may want to up date your profile

:bow @Wyorp Rock @WVduckchick @Texas Kiki @azygous @casportpony @micstrachan :hugs Thank you all for your wisdom :hugs


5 Years
Jan 1, 2017
Coastal NC
My Coop
My Coop
Sadly, this is NOT a wound that will heal on its own so you’ll have to make a decision to act.
A vet is your best option if possible.
It’s understandable
Thank goodness your friend is coming with an extra set of hands today.

Speaking of hands. Wear gloves!
Opossum’s mouths are filthy, but the good news is it is extremely rare for one to carry the rabies virus.

As stated above by other posters, this wound must be cleared of feathers, cleaned and evaluated in bright indoor lighting.

If the skin wound is big enough, you may be able to sort of hold the wound open with a pair of clean tweezers or forceps if you have them, and peer inside with a small flashlight for a hint of the trouble inside. If it’s not big enough on the outside, and you’re going in for a repair, scissors (that have been cleaned or sterilized) are the safest and most humane way to create space without potentially “slipping” and having a heart-stopping “oh crap” moment with a scalpel. Think of your exterior opening as a window or door.

If it is an esophageal tear and its small and up at the higher end it’s possible that you may be able to glue it shut. practice pinching it together. Can you?
Does it come together neatly or is the tissue ragged and torn?
If it’s esophageal and farther down, it might be tricky to say the least.

If food is leaking to the outside I’d be willing to bet it’s the crop that’s torn which honestly,
I would hope to discover!

A crop repair isn’t a catastrophe!
The cavity inside her body in the vicinity of the source of the leak and wound would have to be flushed very well with a diluted betadine (povidine/solution to kill germs and hopefully ward off infection.

Edited to add: somehow I lost my train of thought early on but I wanted to say ...
It’s understandable if seeking the treatment by a vet is not an option. Byc’ers understand that and that’s why we’re here to help guide if we can.
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