Culled a coughing hen tonight, feeling guilty


10 Years
Jul 30, 2009
South Beloit, IL
Earlier this week I had heard some sneezing from my flock of 50. i couldn't pinpoint anyone in particular.

But tonight it was quite obviously that one hen was sneezing and coughing. When I got up close to her, I could her wheezing and there was a rattleing sound in her chest with each breath.

I took her out of the group and to the house to get a second opinion from DH. Once in the brighter light of the house, I could see she was pretty dehydrated. Comb was pale, floppy, and dry. She panted a little after flapping her wings a bit when I gave her to DH to check out. He agreed with the breathing issues.

So we chose to euthanize her. Partly to protect the flock and partly because although I have a large coop, I don't yet have a good place to isolate a single hen.

Now I feel kinda of guilty and sad. Maybe I should have found a way to separate her and give her antibiotics.

I know I can't change it now, but wonder if I did the right thing.

I always feel a little sad when I cull a chicken. Trying to treat a sick chicken is time consuming and difficult to diagnose most of the time. Even my vet who loved chickens, said without extensive and expensive bloodtests, it is hard to diagnose them. Besides that the treatments just haven't really been developed. After all backyard chickens and chickens as pets are a relatively new thing as far as veterinary medicine goes.
Your chicken may have survived, but it may not. It would have suffered while you experimented with assorted ways of curing it.

We butcher our roos and I still feel bad when I have to cull one do to illness of some sort. So just figure you put the poor thing out of it's misery. It is what I would have done.
If you didn't feel bad to some degree, you would not be a very nice person. So
to you. It is ok to feel a little sad. But don't feel guilty.
We had to cull a Welsummer hen last weekend. I totally understand the guilt that goes a long with making the decision, but sometimes it is the best thing to do.
You have my sympathy.
The majority of chickens are battery hens or raised in large meat production facilities. You gave her a good life while she was here and she had a better existence then most.

I've culled birds before and you do what you think is best at the time.
Don't feel guilty. You did what you had to do.

I have a young BW roo that got sick at about 10 weeks. I wished I had culled him then... now he's got a cross beak and he's just not right. And now, I'm still going to have to cull him.
Last edited:
I hate putting one of my chickens down. It hurts especially when I've raised them from a day old chick. I go through all the emotions but deep down I know I made an concerted effort to mend/cure an injury or disease, or there's times it's an impossible situation. I also know I wont let one suffer and be in pain and I'll quickly and painlessly put her down. Time heals and I wish you the best.
Thanks everyone!!! I do think I did the right thing for the group as a whole. It is hard though when you have raised them from day3. She was a sweet girl and I know I gave her a good life.

My hens are quite pampered and they reward me for it every day with their eggs, their wonderful sounds, entertaining antics, and hilarious personalities. Even with 50, I touch each one everyday even if just for a moment when they go to roost. It is how I make sure they are all in and that they are not hurt or sick.

What a great and often under appreciated ( not here of course) animal the chicken is. At the risk of being known as the crazy chicken woman, I share my chicken stories with my friends and co-workers. The more I share, the more they want to hear.


New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom