Do chickens feel pain?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chicknjane, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2009
    Hayward, CA
    Oh yes chickens definitely feel pain, all animals do. They just can't verbalize or vocalize it.
    In my opinion if you can't afford to take care of your animals well, you shouldn't have them.
  2. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    Surgery is surgery. I remember the post about the bumblefoot surgery. Towel over the head is not adequate for anesthesia. My vet did surgery on a turkey that had bumblefoot, and he knocked the turkey out with an injection before he did it.

    Clip toenails -- towel over head. Dig into a foot to scrape out infection "back to the bleeding tissue to be sure it's all out" (to quote my vet at the time) -- anesthesia.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009
  3. vyshtia

    vyshtia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2009
    Norco, CA
    One point to remember - farm animals, unlike "pet animals" and humans - have essentially been bred to have high pain tolerance. Surgical procedures have been performed on farm animals forever and the ones who couldn't handle it died. So the survivors - the offsprings - are all ones that have higher pain tolerance and higher chances of surviving things that dogs/cats/humans do not. Look at how many times people have remarked on the "amazing healing ability of a simple chicken". It is true...and it's because of what chickens as a whole have had to go through to get here. Dogs/cats/humans are coddled and we would not handle such things as well.

    Now. Just because they CAN handle it, does it mean they SHOULD handle it? That is a question that is VERY subjective and the answer is not the same for everyone. We all do what we can in the best interest of our little friends. Some can afford $3000.00 + coops on 200 acres and have a poultry vet on retainer while others can only afford the $5.00 coop in their backyard and has to do procedures on their own, or just cull. We all do what we can and that is something. If all you can do is the procedure at home with no anesthesia/analgesics, or cull - and the bird recovers quickly and lives out another several happy years. I don't think that's a bad thing. The chicken would have been stressed during the procedure, but would have forgotten it quickly and moved on. It's the human that continues to dwell and worry and stress.

    I'm all for anthropomorphasizing everything - I do that for all my critters, my motorcycles, my cars, everything! LOL - but there is a limit. At the end of the day, a chicken is still a chicken - with very simple needs, wants, and understandings. I look at them and am sometimes envious of their simple happiness that epitomizes "ignorance is bliss". So the lesson of the more like chicken - let it go - cause you KNOW there is a yummy worm just under that next piece of unscratched dirt. [​IMG]
  4. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2009
    North Carolina Sandhills
    Birds are extremely sensitive to anesthetics -- to the point that the anesthetic is more likely to kill them than the shock of the surgery.

    I found out about this as a cockatiel owner. In learning about parrots in general I discovered that for the parrot species that have to be surgically sexed the operation is done without anesthetic because the anesthetic could easily be deadly.
  5. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    Sure they do.
  6. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    They do feel pain..
    I had to amputate my roos toe. (it was half off anyway..) i hated to do it..but it saved his life. I had been trying to heal the wound for SO long..finally i realized that i had to amputate the toe to save him. It was quick, one snip...and he didnt even flinch when i did it..BUT..what killed me was cauterizing the toe to stop him bleeding out..UGH! THAT did hurt him..I still feel so bad about it. But hes alive today and has his own little flock and is spoiled rotten.
    Now, could i perform the crop surgery?..nope!..thats much more complicated/invasive for me to even think about doing..
    bumble foot surgery...yes..i'd probably do that to try to save a hen or one of my ducks...
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009
  7. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    All you have to do is watch one chicken scream when another one pecks it to know they do feel pain.
  8. Jody

    Jody Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2009
    Epping, NH
    Quote:There's no nerves in the horns, so no pain involved.. much like clipping nails, on the condition you don't cut too close to the base.

    As for testicles, when I was a student at the aggie decades ago, the only ones to get any anesthetic were swine as it was a surgical removal.

    Sheep testicles were removed with an elastrator.. a tool that stretches a very tiny elastic which is placed around the testicles to cut off circulation.. then they shrivel, dry up and fall off.

    Bulls got a burdizzo clamp which is a tool that crushes their balls.
  9. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Yeah but when kids etc are disbudded - which is a lot more common than sawing off horns, b/c much less dangerous to the animal (large risk of bleeding to death from removing horns from grown animal) -- have you HEARD how they scream? Man, it's awful. And that's normally done unanesthetized/un-sedated. I assume for a reason, don't know enough about goats to know for sure however.

    It is debatable whether elastrators are painless... they do after all cause gangrene etc.

    The horses I've seen castrated have been done with local plus sedation, or in one case general anesthesia. How much of this is for the horse vs for the safety and convenience of the vet, I couldn't say [​IMG]

    Returning to the subject of chickens, though, I think it comes down to a personal assessment of whether it is kinder to let the animal die in pain of a probably-fatal condition (or euthanize it), or attempt a quick unanesthetized procedure to try to save it. There is no "do it yourself" chicken anesthesia, and even vets tend not to be enthusiastic about anesthetizing or sedating birds, as it is kind of hard to ensure they don't end up dead from it. Not everyone is going to assess the pros and cons the same way in every case, which is fair enough. I'm just saying, it is almost never a CHOICE between "anesthesia vs no anesthesia" in these cases with chickens.


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