I did it, I operated on her myself...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by redwa, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. redwa

    redwa Songster

    Aug 9, 2007
    You may have read some of my previous posts about my chicken who had crop problems and we eventually had the vet operate on her. (She is doing great!) Then another chicken came down with another crop problem (we've since discovered what the problem was and have taken care of it...) I tried all of my remedies to help her and she was starting to decline. We couldn't have the vet operate on another chick due to the $ so I decided to do it myself. (I made an incision in her crop, cleared out all the junk, flushed it out and then sewed her back up.) She stayed in the house for 10 days and was on antibiotics, probiotics and many small meals throughout the day. That was three weeks ago and she is back in the coop, eating, pooping and chasing the pullets when they get near her favorite food (meal worms). I was very nervous but I figured I'd give it a try. I couldn't let her die or just cull her. Has anyone else done this before? I know it is probably a common practice on many a ranch and isolated farms.
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Wow. Go you! I thought I was doing good to be able to give my goats a shot. I don't know if I could do what you did. Trimming hooves makes me nervous.
  3. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Good for you, Redwa!

    I do have to ask, what was the issue causing the crop problems - I want to make sure to avoid that one before I have to learn the hard way!
  4. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Fantastic! Great call and congratulations on your success. I'm sure she's happy too! [​IMG]

    My son has a hen with a crop problem and although she's not getting worse, she's not improving either.

    A have some questions if you don't mind...
    Did you numb the crop area in advance?
    How did you handle the hen when performing the operation?
    How was she for the process?
    What type of knife did you use?
    Did you flush it out with saline and use any benodyne?
    What did you use to sew her up?
    Where did you get the antibiotic and how did you determine the amount to use?

    Thanks for your patience... we may need to do this and I really appreciate your help and experience.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2007
  5. redwa

    redwa Songster

    Aug 9, 2007
    For us I think it was a combination of things: 1) A galvanized waterer that I was putting ACV in (leaching out metals) and 2) supplementing their protein with high protein cat food - which I have found out can be very destructive to their digestive system, effecting the crop function. (Not all chickens are effected by this). Since I have addressed these two issues, we have had no further crop problems.[​IMG]
  6. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Excellent news! Thanks for sharing.
    You never know when that may come in handy.
  7. redwa

    redwa Songster

    Aug 9, 2007
    McGoo - I did not numb her because I read that it wasn't nesessary (not many nerve endings or blood vessles in that area); there was very little blood; she seemed to not be very phased by it, seemed to surrender; I used my very sharp sewing scissors (everything sterilized); used betodyne to clean the area and saline to flush the area then gave it an extra flush with colloidal silver; I tugged on the crop lining and pulled it together but sewed the skin with a regular needle and thick nylon thread - 4 stitches. the incision was about 1" wide. What I would do differently next time is I would use super glue to seal the crop itself once it has been emptied before I sewed her up. I made sure her water was clean and had extra vitamiins and electrolytes. I fed her probiotics and medicated chicken mash (which has the antibiotics). I also gave her 3 ccs of Nystatin 2x day to deal with any possible fungal infections for 7 days. I fed her small frequent meals as to not tax the functioning of her crop and to make sure it was emptying. I am not sure if I just got lucky or it this is more of a testiment to a chickens' stamina and strength. I also did the surgery before she was really showing any signs of deteriorated health. Sorry for such a long message.
  8. MaransGuy

    MaransGuy Songster

    Oct 25, 2007
    Greenfield, MA
    I am copying a post (long one!) I made to another group last year when I had this same problem. Hopefully it will help you out. As for disinfecting, I used Iodine. Hydrogen peroxide damages healthy tissue and can hinder healing, alcohol stings badly and also dries tissue. I never followed up with anitibiotics as her incision site never looked bad and I hate to use them unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary.


    I just started keeping chickens less than four months ago. It
    has been quite a learning experience and thanks to my SLW pullet
    Penelope, a fairly stressful one as well! I wanted to share this
    most recent experience as it taught me that things are not always
    what they seem and can be much more complex than what one might
    first suspect.

    I first saw Penelope at the New Hampshire show and sale a
    couple months ago and knew right away that she would come home with
    me. Within a few weeks she started laying, giving me my first egg
    ever. Soon after, though, things started to go downhill. I noticed a
    few mites on her eggs when she was laying and started treating for
    that. She was quite thin as well and I assumed that it was from the
    very heavy mite infestation she currently had. I then noticed that
    she would frequently attempt to regurgitate throughout the day. She
    was still eating and drinking so I asumed that it was perhaps a
    reaction to the Sevin used to dust her. I had started them on a
    pellet instead of crumbles and thought maybe the pellets were too
    large as well. I started offering a crumble again and the
    regurgitation seemed to stop, at least for a while. I also tried to
    flush her crop but could not really get much of anything out. I
    could feel a lot of material in the crop but since she was still
    eating, drinking and defecating I was not too worried. It was at
    this time that she also seemed to have gone broody as she would only
    leave the nest for a couple hours each morning to eat. Even though
    there were no eggs in her nest she would prefer to set all day.

    The mites were finally killed off and I thought things were
    starting to turn around. I concentrated on getting weight back on
    her and offered finely cracked corn, hard boiled eggs and other
    treats to help beef her up. After a couple weeks she was still not
    gaining weight, plus the regurgitation had returned. A few days ago
    I examined her again and found her to be at least as thin as she was
    before. She would eat frantically in the morning, head back to her
    nest for the day and not gain weight. I decided that I had to
    attempt another flushing of the crop as her attempts at
    regurgitation were becoming more pronounced.

    Using a much larger tube, I tried to flush out the crop and try
    to suck out whatever seemed to be lodged inside. After several
    unsuccessful attempts I could tell that there was something rather
    large inside that would never be able to leave through any
    conventional method. I could feel what felt like soft modeling clay
    that I could mold and shape with my fingers. Since she was
    progressively getting worse I knew I had to do something. It was at
    that point that I knew I would have to do surgery.

    I want to preface this with the statement that I do not take a
    decision like this lightly. Having the several years of surgical
    assistant experience that I do helped me immeasureably during this
    ordeal and I knew it was really her last hope. After wrapping
    Penelope in a towel I began by disinfecting and then making an
    incision in the skin over the front of the crop. I then made another
    through the crop wall itself. The blood vessels in these areas are
    quite easy to see which made it much easier to prevent any
    unneccesary bleeding. When I exposed the crop contents I was amazed.
    There was soggy hay wrapped into a large ball, filled with food
    particles. As I removed the material and placed it into a container
    I could not believe how much was inside. The other thing that amazed
    me was how calm Penelope was throughout this ordeal. She stirred
    only a couple times but never really got upset. When all was said
    and done I had removed a fist sized, solid clump of balled up hay
    from a little bantam!

    I closed the incisions with thread and skin glue and let her
    rest overnight. This morning I tried offering a small amount of soft
    food but she refused it. I finally let her go out into the pen with
    the others to eat for a few minutes and you would never believe that
    she had been 'under the knife' just a few hours earlier. She ran
    around, put several larger hens in their place and ate. I only
    allowed a small amount of food and then caught (chased!) her and now
    have her in a seperate recovery bin for the next few days. I have
    been offering metered amounts of soft food and water and she is
    eating, drinking and defecating.

    I think the most important thing I learned through all of this
    is that you cannot take any symptoms at simple face value. One
    condition can be hiding another or even affecting it's symptoms. It
    is also important to note that a condition does not always follow a
    script. I was not too worried about an impacted crop as my bird was
    eating, drinking and defecating for a month while she had this
    massive lump of hay stuck in her. Everying I read about impactions
    said that they do not do any of those things. I also think it is
    important to really watch your birds for any sign of a problem. If I
    did not spend as much time as I do with my birds I know I would have
    missed many of these signs.

    I am now hoping the that Penelope saga is finally over and we
    can focus on recovery. I also hope that my chicken keeping
    experiences will be a little less exciting in the future. My other
    little bantam hen just started laying yesterday. I am almost afraid
    to think what will happen to her next!

  9. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Someone should take pics or a video next time they have to do this.
  10. Wynette

    Wynette Crowing

    Sep 25, 2007
    Holy cow - thanks for posting this! I was going to offer grass hay to my chickens over the winter for fiber and something to peck at...I'm now not so sure, as I know I would not be able to perform a surgery such as this! Thanks for the information.

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