Post Crop Impaction Surgery Treatment


10 Years
Sep 6, 2010
Our sweet little banty hen Camilla (24 weeks old) was showing symptoms of crop impaction for 4 days. Oil and massaging was helping, but not fixing and she was going downhill. I decided to operate today, as my boyfriend (the surgeon) was going out of town for the week. There was so much straw packed in there! The procedure went well, she is sleeping quietly in a large box in the back room. I gave a very small amount of tetracycline water 4 hours after the operation, she took 4 swallows and was done. I watched to make sure she didn't drink to much or too fast. 24 hours seemed too long for her to go without water, she's only a pound and a half. My question is what is the best thing to be putting in her water, I have both tetracycline and Sulmet. I also have a vitamin/electrolyte powder with probiotics (Rooster Booster). Should I mix the two (antibiotics and Rooster Booster)? I know the probiotics won't do much good being mixed, but will it cause harm to mix them? I am planning on feeding good plain yogurt, banana, and squash. Any other good foods I can give, or what to avoid?
Also I put some plain Neosporin on the opening because it seemed too dry. I'm planning on moving her skin 3x/day to prevent it from adhering to the crop. How long should I keep her inside and when should I remove the sutures?

I would probably only use the tetracycline for a few days since you are using it as a preventative and not for treating an actual infection. I believe most folks who do the surgery don't give post-op antibiotics at all (from the posts I've read from them)

I would give her the diet you mentioned...soft foods...for a couple of days and then mix in some of her regular feed with it, gradually increasing the amount of feed until she is back on her regular diet.

Her total time inside will certainly depend on how she does post-operatively. If she is eating and drinking well within a couple of days, I'd put her back out. Chickens heal very quickly.
If you sutured the crop and outer skin separately, no need to "move it three times a day" in fact, best to leave it alone. As you saw, the outer cover on the crop is thinner than wet tissue paper - you could tear it by moving it around. The skin won't grow to the crop. And, I never remove sutures. Even my vet said there's no need to - they will dissolve on their own (even when I use plain sewing thread).

Good job on doing the crop surgery. I also never give antibiotics and they do just fine. I only give soft foods the first few days. Scrambled eggs are good. And I wet crumbles or wet and mash up the pellets. I don't feed anything like scratch or cracked corn.

I keep them in a pen in the coop or run area so they can still see everyone and everyone can still see them. That way, when I release them about a week later they aren't a stranger and don't get picked on. I've also found it helps birds heal and recover faster if they are not stressed about being separated and locked up alone.
Last edited:
Thanks for the tips! She seems to be doing well, becoming more and more alert. Eating well, but not drinking as much as I would like, but I've been mixing all of the food I give her with water. I agree with keeping her next to her friends while she heals, we did this before surgery and they could hang out together through the fence. I don't have a "clean" place for her to heal though. We will have to rig something up, I don't want her taking dust baths or eating small pieces of straw just yet. Straw has been removed as much as possible, but there is still some around. The only thing I am concerned about at this point is that every time she eats or drinks, even very small amounts, there is a gurgling noise as it hits her crop. Have you experienced this as well?
No I haven't experienced any gurgling noises. You didn't say - did you suture the crop and if so, did you suture it separate from the breast skin? You didn't give many details so it's hard to say. Did you flush it out completely and make sure everything was out of the crop? I think the most important thing is how well it was sutured. "Gurgling" sounds like maybe something is leaking out of the crop but I really don't know.

When I sutured the crops, I did so very thorughly. They are very tough and muscular so I actually sutured it up and then back down. Then there's that wet tissue paper coating and I only put a few delicate stitches in that. Then I sutured the outer skin, also nice and tight.
I hope that's not what's going on, but it doesn't sound normal, or particularly good to me.
We used super glue to close the crop, it was dry and I feel like we got a good seal. We then used two sutures (from a doctor) on the skin and a liquid bandage product to close the gaps. I had read that you didn't need to suture the crop shut - so I imagine anything is better than nothing, but I would not have left that open! She still is not interested in water, but I am going to put her outside next to her friends tomorrow and hope that perks her up. I got a little in her by putting some in her mouth and also in her food. Bananas and water have been a big hit. I hope she keeps fighting, I don't feel like we are completely out of the woods yet. Thank you for your advice, I read your ordeal last night, I know you have lots of experience with this!
It's possible the glue didn't hold completely - it's also possible that it's nothing serious and she'll be fine. Time will tell. No matter what, at least you tried (that's pretty much my philosophy)
I talked to my boyfriend, he said there was a small area at the bottom of the incision that he wasn't able to close as well as he would have liked. The gurgling seems to be getting less and less. I know she is feeling better because she is wanting to escape her box! Definitely time to move her back next to her friends.
Her incision looks great, dry and healing nicely. Wooohoo!
Update - Camilla is doing great! I reintroduced her to the flock. There has been some pecking and bullying, but overall she seems to be doing great. I am so thankful we went the route we did and didn't wait until she was too far gone. Thank you for your support and advice!
Hello, I was reading through your thread about crop impaction surgery. I'm currently having problems with one of my own chickens.

I've tried just about everything at this point. She started out with an impaction from eating hay. I took her off her feed for two days, and kept her in a small pen with just water. I started out with olive oil and massaging her crop which didn't seem to help that much. After a few days her crop went sour, and I've been emptying it out a couple times a day. After the two days went by and nothing seemed to be going down I fed her some scrambled egg soaked in olive oil, and now I'm using plain oatmeal soaked in water and some probiotic yogurt twice a day. She does poop, but only a little. This problem has been going on since 3/4/14 and it's now 3/10/14. Yesterday I got maggots because I read they could help break up the impaction, and today I gave her 1/3 of a monistat for the yeast infection from the sour crop, and I'll probably do this for the next few days. Her crop feels more firm today and I wasn't able to get anything out of it.

I'm unsure of what else to do for her but I don't want to give up. I'm starting to think that surgery is the only option left. I don't have an avian veterinarian around me, therefore I was hoping you could give me any more information on what to try. Also I was wondering if you could give me a step by step of how you performed the crop surgery? Did you use any type of anesthesia or painkillers before hand? What type of thread did you use to sew it up, where did you sew and where did you use the glue? How did you flush out the crop, and how did you know where to cut and not hit any blood vessels? Did you have to give her anything for the sour crop yeast infection after the surgery? Did your chicken go back to normal after the surgery and did the impaction ever recur?

I'm sorry about all the questions but I just want to make sure I know exactly what to do for her, because I've tried just about everything and I have a feeling that surgery may be my last option.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom