PoultryDVM - Reasons why DIY Crop Surgery isn’t a good idea

Reasons why DIY Crop Surgery isn’t a good idea

Added January 12, 2023

Lack of any pain meds or anesthesia. Chickens do feel pain and the reason they may not react to pain is because they are prey animals, and their instinct is to freeze.

Inability to use sterile instruments. While crop surgery isn’t necessarily a sterile procedure since crop contents are being exposed, using nonsterile instruments increases risk of infection.

Chickens and ducks don’t have the ability to block their trachea (don’t have an epiglottis). Crop contents can easily backwash into the mouth during surgery and cause aspiration and potentially death. During crop surgery a veterinarian would secure the airway with an endotracheal tube to not only provide anesthesia but also to protect the patient from aspirating crop contents.

Lack of specialized training. The crop and skin are supposed to be closed in two different layers which most people doing this at home won’t do and they also will likely not be able to ID the different layers without training. If you suture everything together, it will cause the crop to heal to the skin, and a result will affect the crop’s ability to expand and move.

High risk of infection. While the crop is not sterile, the surrounding soft tissues are. Doing this surgery at home greatly increases the risk of infection after surgery, which will cause the incision to heal abnormally and often results in crop contents leaking into the surrounding soft tissues or creating a stoma.

Most crop problems don’t occur in a vacuum. There is usually an underlying cause and crop surgery alone is unlikely to fix the problem.

For additional information about crop impactions in chickens, please refer to our Crop impactions page.

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