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Advice needed for an old (9yo) chicken please

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dblick, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. dblick

    dblick New Egg

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    Nov 4, 2016
    I need advice on caring for a very old hen. She is one of my originals and is 9 1/2 yo! She was doing really good until the last couple of months. First I noticed a difficulty in her breathing, but usually only at night. She seems to wheeze, but only when she is laying down or standing still, not when she is walking around. She can walk just fine, but her legs sometimes give out, especially if she tries to run. Now this last week she has developed pasty butt and in the last couple days her comb has fallen over to one side and lays almost flat. She looks old and tired all of a sudden. I've noticed her picking but not eating food. However, I just threw some scratch out and she is eating away. She doesn't seem like she's in pain, but I don't know. So I guess my question is this - should I just let her die on her own? Is she in pain and should I put her down? What is the most humane way to put her down? I had to ring a chickens neck for the first time last week and don't like that at all, however, if it's humane, I'll have my husband do it this time. After 9 1/2 years, I"m just tore up over this, but want to do the right thing by my sweet "buttercup". Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Apr 3, 2011
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    Welcome to BYC. You have done a great job if she has lived almost 10 years. It can be difficult to decide how to proceed with a chicken who may or may not be suffering. I have one who so enjoys being ith her flock that she makes the treck up and down our hill daily to stay with her biddies, even though she has a bum leg, and mostly lies down. I would probably put her down if she looks in pain or the wheezing gets worse. Many older hens suffer from internal laying, egg yolk peritonitis, or ascites (fluid in the belly from heart or liver failure, or infection in the abdomen.) I dislike putting them down, but if I have to, I hang them by the feet or in a cone upside down which seems to calm them, and cut the neck vessels with a sharp knife very quickly. Here is a good thread about humane ways of euthanasia and a video showing how to humanely butcher:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/730431/whats-the-most-humane-way-to-kill-a-chicken
     

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