Performed crop surgery on my EE last night, but...

Love my Critters!

11 Years
Apr 15, 2008
Carlsbad, NM
we didn't find anything unusual. She is a 1 year old EE, we've been watching her in the garage for a week, giving oil and massages. She had a baseball size crop and was losing a lot of weight. She was down to skin and bones. She wasn't having bowel movements. She didn't have any more food and her crop never got better. We decided the only way to save her was to cut it open and pull the stuff out. Some of the chickens had eaten on a styrofoam (sp) icechest, so we thought that maybe what was blocking her. She did great through the whole process, but we didn't find anything other than laying crumble in her crop. I flushed it out very well with sterile saline but that is all that was in there. Can a chicken get an impacted crop just from laying crumble? I am worried that the blockage is maybe further down and she's not going to get better. She is up this morning and looking pretty good. I will offer a little pediatlyte this afternoon. Do any of you think that the laying crumble could have been the cause?
If she has a blockage it is probably further down. I lost a hen that way. I thought massaging and olive oil would help but I made it worse. After her crop surgery she never did get better. The vet put her to sleep for me and asked if he could have the body to see what went wrong. I said yes and that's when I learned that I had pushed the obstruction too far down.

Give her soft foods and water and if she doesn't start passing poops you might have to do what I did.

Give her scrambled egg, chopped up cooked pasta, cottage cheese, cut up grapes without skin (the skin will add fiber you don't want her to have) smashed strawberries or blueberries. You can also soak a few layer pellets with applesauce or yogurt and when they turn to mush give that to her.

I would also offer her some grit and she if she will eat it. Maybe when she became impacted she didn't have enough grit available. She knows what she needs and will eat it if she does.

You also want to make sure she can walk around to keep her system 'moving'. My hen stayed in the kitchen in a box that I put on it's side. She felt safe but could get up to eat and drink. Just cover the area around her with old towels or rags. She won't go far.

Make sure she has water and soft food available at all times.

I'll keep you in my thoughts.
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Thanks pupletree, I have her in a large dog crate. She is up walking around and has had several BM's. Shes seems to be more alert today than she did before the surgery. I think I had read your post before about you pushing the contents further down, so I tried to be very careful about that while massaging her. I feel better today after seeing that things are at least passing some now. When I go home this afternoon, we are going to inspect the poop to see if we can see any styrofoam or anything else unusual in there. Can laying mash cause a blockage on it's own?
I don't think layer mash alone would cause a blockage - unless she ate a bunch and then had no water to drink.

Could have been a piece of the styrofoam causing a blockage further down. Keep a close eye on her poop, but it sounds like she's doing better since things are moving again.
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Walking and pooping is a very good sign. She might be in shock a little from the surgery but with rest and the excellent care you are giving her I think she is on her way.

Keep us posted
Well I don't have grit available to the chickens because the free range all day in a fenced in acre, so I figured there was plenty of sand and pebbles to eat. Should I add grit out there? This morning she is looking even better. Now she is not happy about being stuck in a dog crate
, I have been giving her plain yogurt and watery scrambled eggs with a few drops of olive oil on them. She eats like there is no tomorrow but I won't let her have too much at one time.
I was wondering... when you did the surgery... How did you sew up the crop? I know the sac is a very thin stretchy membrane because I've handled it when I processed broilers. I would think it might be tricky. Just wondering if you had any trouble with that and how you did it.

I made a very small incision and took my time pulling everything out. I then flushed with a lot of sterile saline. I dried the incision area well and glued it shut. I clued the crop and made sure it was all sealed well, then I glued the outer skin. Her crop was almost the size of a baseball when we started and I made about a 1/2 inch incision. When her crop was empty the incision was much smaller. I am being very careful to feed her small amounts of food at a time right now to prevent her crop from having to stretch too much. I had read up a lot about this surgery before attempting and the glue seemed to work well. Some people stitch, but I figured it would just cause the chook more pain and I didn't want to do that. I only did this to save her life, we would of had to cull her if we didn't do this. This was a LAST resort.

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