do I need to cull? :(

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by slackwater, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. slackwater

    slackwater Songster

    Feb 1, 2010
    One of my hatchery EEs developed a cross-beak when she was about a week old. Since then, it has gotten progressively worse (and I don't have ANY luck trying to fix this condition). Now, at 10-ish weeks, she is half the size of the other chicks, and when I picked her up yesterday, she was a lightweight and was staying permanently fluffed. She seemed to be doing okay when they were penned exclusively, but now that they are free-ranging, I don't think she can get enough calories to meet her needs. Even if I feed her by herself, so that she has sole access to plentiful food for a bit, she doesn't seem to be able to get enough.

    I'm guessing she's reached a point where she simply cannot get enough food to grow and thrive. Is it time for me to put her out of her misery? Or is there something else that I can do? To make matters worse, she is the only chicken that I have that actually comes up to me to greet this is a particularly difficult decision.

    Inputs appreciated!

  2. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Songster

    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    That's a tough one and people in your position have made decisions both ways, to keep trying and to cull. Honestly, there's not a right answer.

    Having a chicken with a disability like hers is quite time consuming and even with the very best care, many times they still don't thrive. Since you are rather attached to her, have you tried filing down her beak to make it easier for her to pick up food? People have also had good luck using really deep dish feeders with cross beaks. Then again, if her condition is really severe, that still might not be enough.

    I'm sorry you're going through this. If you really think she's suffering, have done all that you reasonably can and still won't have a good quality of life, I would cull.

  3. Montana-Hens

    Montana-Hens Songster

    Feb 20, 2008
    Buxton, Montana
    Culling is hard, but it sounds to me like your bird's quality of life is failing. I would cull now. It gets harder as they get older, both emotionally and bigger birds are harder to put down.
  4. Bat Cave Silkies

    Bat Cave Silkies Songster

    Feb 11, 2010
    Bat Cave, NC
    It's always a heart-wrenching decision....
    I "try" to be merciful to these birds I love, as soon as the condition warrants, but it's always so hard not to second guess yourself. Will they get better if I do this? or do that?

    A friend of mine counseled me with this advice: "if you're going to have livestock, you're going to have deadstock"

    I would advise to put an end to her suffering [​IMG]
  5. Mrs. Feathers

    Mrs. Feathers Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    The decision is such a tough one and I do not envy you...always a time for few tears for me when we have that decision to make....thank goodness for my DH and his patience.
    If you did decide to try and raise her...which as others have mentioned will be alot of work and take time...I would make a suggestion to try a moist mash in a deeper dish for her. Even putting in the work and time may not make her quality of life improve and as she gets older the others may pick on her (survival of the fittest). We have always culled our disabled chicks as early as possible (sounds horrid when I write it)...unless it is something crooked toes which we splint then won`t use those birds for breeding.
    I like the advice of BCSilkie`s is true.
    Whatever decision you make will be one that you have put thought into and will be the right one for your own situation.
  6. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    There are several folks here that have chickens with cross beak, myself included. It depends on the severity of the condition whether or not a bird can survive with this deformity. My bird's cross beak is so minor that i missed it for a long time, so she will be fine with a little beak trim every now and again. Others have birds with deformities so severe that only hand-feeding keeps them alive and usually not indefinitely at that. You need to decide how severe your bird's deformity is and how much time you can invest in keeping her alive, remembering that in the most severe cases it doesn't matter because the birds simply cannot survive long term.

    I would euthanize her if I was in your shoes. It sounds like her cross beak is getting the better of her slowly, and that is an untenable situation. I am sorry for you and for her. Lousy situation where nobody wins. Sorry.
  7. slackwater

    slackwater Songster

    Feb 1, 2010
    Well...she beat me to it. It was just yesterday that I truly noticed how "slight" she was...and today, between the torrential downpours and the other chicks, she was nearly trampled to death. I think she just didn't have the "oomph" to stand up to it all. She has since passed [​IMG] She will be missed, but I know it was for the best. Her cross-beak was pretty severe, and I think it would have taken heroic efforts to keep her alive.

    Thank you all for your advice!

  8. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    It was for the best. Sorry for your loss.
  9. Afrochicken

    Afrochicken Chirping

    Aug 7, 2010
    Toms River, NJ
    Remember, it was for the best. May her soul rest.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by