Chicken necropsy guide

Page last updated: Friday, 22 June 2018 - 9:10am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Post-mortem approach

1. Pluck the feathers from the dorsum and ventrum

Plucking feathers from the dorsum and ventrum
Check for trauma, dog bites and dermatitis.

2. Disarticulate the leg

Disarticulating the legs
Reflect the legs laterally by incising ventral thigh and disarticulating the femoral head.

3. Expose the pectoral muscle

Exposing the pectoral muscle
Reflect or remove the coelomic skin cranially over the sternum and up to the neck to the intermandibular space.

4. Visualise the air sacs while removing keel/pectoral muscle

Visualising the air sacs while removing keel or pectoral muscle

5. Remove the sternum

Removing the sternum

6. Reflect the coelomic musculature

Reflecting the coelomic musculature
Reveal the gastrointestinal tract. If fibrinous exudate is present in the coelom or air sacs, a swab should be placed into bacterial transport media.

7. Visualise the bursa in dorsal cloacal wall

Visualise the bursa in dorsal cloacal wall
Reflect the ventriculus cranially and to the right. Visualise the bursa/remnant by moving distal colon to the right. The bursa will have regressed in sexually mature birds. Fixed bursa should be taken in younger birds.

8. Remove the heart

Removing the heart
Remove the heart at base (collect a fixed and fresh sample). Examine the dorsal air sacs once the heart is removed.

Contact information

Animal Health Laboratories (ahl)