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How do you know if a chicken is in pain?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I would like to know if there's anyway you can tell?

We raise Nubian goats on our little farm in N.C for milk and as pets. Just got started raising chickens with our three RIR's (born April 19th '08) and now 3 blue laced red wyandotte chicks that hatched 07-25/ 07-26
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We raise Nubian goats on our little farm in N.C for milk and as pets. Just got started raising chickens with our three RIR's (born April 19th '08) and now 3 blue laced red wyandotte chicks that hatched 07-25/ 07-26
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post #2 of 8

If their head or comb or wattle is hurting, they will usually shake their head vigorously.  If they hurt their leg or foot, they will limp and pick at the sore area.  Wings or other parts of body, they will pick at them.  When the hurt area is new, they will often squawk.

Old, fat, gray-haired EMT guy.  Raised birds for 60 years.  I don't name 'em, and don't dwell over any that die.  I treat every bird with respect, and feed and care for 'em as best I can.  Dad to 2 M.D.'s, a teacher and a computer guru.  Grandpa to 6 beautiful girls and two grandsons.  Life is good!
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Old, fat, gray-haired EMT guy.  Raised birds for 60 years.  I don't name 'em, and don't dwell over any that die.  I treat every bird with respect, and feed and care for 'em as best I can.  Dad to 2 M.D.'s, a teacher and a computer guru.  Grandpa to 6 beautiful girls and two grandsons.  Life is good!
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post #3 of 8

i know this one is quite old - but it should be added that also their eyes become very dilated and the iris' can turn a dark red color.

people get lost in thought because it's unfamiliar territory
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people get lost in thought because it's unfamiliar territory
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post #4 of 8

If you know your birds, you will know when they are hurt or not feeling well. I have a few birds that are just not morning critters.
They will sit on the roosts for a good hour before coming down for a drink and some poultry grain.

I have a few that I know are old and slow and given time they get things done.

When you have a bird that is not interested in feed or water, they are walking or moving odd, they seem withdrawn etc. It is time to go pick that bird up and isolate it. Give it water and feed and a warm heat source for the day.

In the evening, if the bird is not knocking you down to get out you have a sick or hurting bird. Before you put the bird to bed you should give it a thorough exam. You have already isolated it so you know what the poop looks like. You can tell if the crop is full and you can see if the bird is drinking and eating. viola the diagnosis is so much easier.

Guinea Data:   http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/species.jsp?avibaseid=1044B438EE7556BB


Guinea Info:   http://www.guineafowlinternational.org/


Guinea Keets:   visit your local hatchery


Poultry Solutions:   http://msucares.com/poultry/diseases/solutions.html



Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein

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Guinea Data:   http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/species.jsp?avibaseid=1044B438EE7556BB


Guinea Info:   http://www.guineafowlinternational.org/


Guinea Keets:   visit your local hatchery


Poultry Solutions:   http://msucares.com/poultry/diseases/solutions.html



Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein

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post #5 of 8

Slifer used to pain when her hip was hurting her.
They might not use the effected bodypart.
Penny cried when she tried to get down the stairs to go out.

They might also bite you if touch the hurting area.

Paradise is loving a person who's heart is covered with feathers.
"I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity" Poe
Visit my site: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5406335
Visit my other site: http://p197.ezboard.com/bpetpoultryassociation23977
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Paradise is loving a person who's heart is covered with feathers.
"I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity" Poe
Visit my site: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5406335
Visit my other site: http://p197.ezboard.com/bpetpoultryassociation23977
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post #6 of 8

I just learned that chickens hide their pain as much as they can because if they show even the slightest weakness, the other chickens will gang up on them. This is typical behavior for "predator" type of animals (of which chickens are included).

I've also heard that farmers are advised to spend time observing their animals each day and getting to know what "normal" behavior is. That way, they can tell right away if an animal is not acting normal.

With my chickens, there is often something wrong if one is standing apart from the others, or if one is not it's normal perky self. For example, if I put feed out and one does not rush over to gobble it up, sometimes that is a sign that there is something wrong.


Edited by chickenannie - 1/24/09 at 9:00am
Happy owner of 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 guineas, 3 Black Langshan bantams, 6 Buff crosses, 1 OEG cross, 1 Maine Coon cat, and 4 Bourbon Red turkeys!
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Happy owner of 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 guineas, 3 Black Langshan bantams, 6 Buff crosses, 1 OEG cross, 1 Maine Coon cat, and 4 Bourbon Red turkeys!
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post #7 of 8

Almost ALL animals hide pain & symptoms as much as possible, in the "Zoo Business" we call it "masking".

Basically, to show weakness or pain is to bring on threat of lowered status (getting picked on, or booted out of a more "alpha" position by a former "suboordinate", lose "breeding rights", etc.!), or to make yourself an "easy mark" for predators looking for the least challenging meal possible, if you are a prey species (actually chickens are a prey species, not a predator smile ).

Animals don't really understand "hey, I need to show my weakness to this human, because they will try to fix it", because biologically-based hardwiring & self-preservation (from THEIR perspective!) dictates otherwise.

As was mentioned, KNOWING YOUR ANIMALS, knowing what "normal behavior" for them is, is CRITICAL for identifying problems as early on as possible, before they are too sick to treat successfully!!

Oh, and I have also noticed that when an animal is in pain, you often see increased breathing rate and increased heart rate.  Not ALWAYS, but it's another "cue" to look for...

post #8 of 8

I find this is true with most bird species. If they're hurt they'll seperate themselves from other chickens if it can be helped. They'll have their head so closed to the neck their feathers poof out around it and will fluff their feathers up. They'll even let their wings droop. One other thing is they keep their eyes closed and look almost like they're sleeping. They'll do these things if they're sick too.

If their pain is from an injury put proxide on it. The chicken might squawk but I pefer a chicken with injuries that are clean and hurt than a chicken with dirty injuries that could kill them. I've lost chickens to injuries like that. I also want to thank everyone else who posted because I can help my rooster better now.

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