First time terminating a hen due to illness

McChics

Songster
6 Years
Apr 10, 2015
205
301
166
My once best laying hen, Sugar has had a rough summer. It started out when she had a dust up with our new ducks. She tried to do a Karate kid maneuver when she and the duck met in a narrow area by the gate while there was food around...and the chaos ensued. I had a thread about that here too - she jumped up, came down...and from that point forward limped heavily. Over the next few weeks she got mobile again and continued to lay the most amazing and beautiful eggs. She was known to lay some whopper huge eggs from time to time, but generally even through her leg injury stayed consistent. She was just over two years old.

We noticed a couple of months ago she laid two "fart" eggs in a row. and after that nothing. Other than the limp she seemed healthy. Such a wonderful attitude. She had a way of talking to me totally different than the other girls whenever I walked by. She eventually made nice nice with the duck she got into a spat with, and has been peaceful since.

Please don't read any further if you don't care for graphic description of injury/issues.

I really hope I made the right choice here. Saturday morning I noticed she had dried blood and goo all down her backside. She was drinking water when I picked her up. Her entire rear was covered in maggots. I've never seen so many on a living creature. I took her in the shop sink and gently sprayed warm water on her washing them away. Back by her vent, she had a bulging thing about the size of the end of you thumb. Bloody. It smelled dead. I don't not how this happened so fast. I was just holding her the day before. I made sure this wasn't just maggots in old poopy butt. They were all rooting around deep in her tissue. As I rinsed, fresh blood started to flow. The maggots just kept coming out from deep in her tissue. My wife agreed it was too serious for us to treat and the swollen/tumor looking spot didn't look like something that would heal easily.

I made a decision she had to be put down as it appeared a severe infection, and if this was a tumor coming out/around her vent it would explain why she hasn't produced an egg since early June.

All my other hens either died on their own, or one I took at a vet to be put down.

I've read the forum plenty about the "best" way to do it. I ended up using a large pair of branch loppers. I still feel like crap about this - I hate myself for it really. I asked me wife to leave and let me handle it. The good news (if any) is they didn't severe her head off - there was only a little blood, but it just broke her neck and some how (maybe because they are worn out) folded her neck area over flat. Her body did the typical jerking reactions for a bit - I had my eyes closed. Just held the loppers until it stopped. If I have to put one down again, this is the way I'll do it. It wasn't messy and it was fast - probably just due to the condition of these exact loppers.

I don't wan't to ever do that again. I think I've cried more over this weekend than I have in a long time.

I've started to second guess myself. What if that was just from a freak fly larvae infestation from a poop but that I didn't catch and wash off...or maybe a minor injury that would have healed up after being washed out and treated. I just don't know. But I want to believe I did the right thing.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
32,046
259,789
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
My once best laying hen, Sugar has had a rough summer. It started out when she had a dust up with our new ducks. She tried to do a Karate kid maneuver when she and the duck met in a narrow area by the gate while there was food around...and the chaos ensued. I had a thread about that here too - she jumped up, came down...and from that point forward limped heavily. Over the next few weeks she got mobile again and continued to lay the most amazing and beautiful eggs. She was known to lay some whopper huge eggs from time to time, but generally even through her leg injury stayed consistent. She was just over two years old.

We noticed a couple of months ago she laid two "fart" eggs in a row. and after that nothing. Other than the limp she seemed healthy. Such a wonderful attitude. She had a way of talking to me totally different than the other girls whenever I walked by. She eventually made nice nice with the duck she got into a spat with, and has been peaceful since.

Please don't read any further if you don't care for graphic description of injury/issues.

I really hope I made the right choice here. Saturday morning I noticed she had dried blood and goo all down her backside. She was drinking water when I picked her up. Her entire rear was covered in maggots. I've never seen so many on a living creature. I took her in the shop sink and gently sprayed warm water on her washing them away. Back by her vent, she had a bulging thing about the size of the end of you thumb. Bloody. It smelled dead. I don't not how this happened so fast. I was just holding her the day before. I made sure this wasn't just maggots in old poopy butt. They were all rooting around deep in her tissue. As I rinsed, fresh blood started to flow. The maggots just kept coming out from deep in her tissue. My wife agreed it was too serious for us to treat and the swollen/tumor looking spot didn't look like something that would heal easily.

I made a decision she had to be put down as it appeared a severe infection, and if this was a tumor coming out/around her vent it would explain why she hasn't produced an egg since early June.

All my other hens either died on their own, or one I took at a vet to be put down.

I've read the forum plenty about the "best" way to do it. I ended up using a large pair of branch loppers. I still feel like crap about this - I hate myself for it really. I asked me wife to leave and let me handle it. The good news (if any) is they didn't severe her head off - there was only a little blood, but it just broke her neck and some how (maybe because they are worn out) folded her neck area over flat. Her body did the typical jerking reactions for a bit - I had my eyes closed. Just held the loppers until it stopped. If I have to put one down again, this is the way I'll do it. It wasn't messy and it was fast - probably just due to the condition of these exact loppers.

I don't wan't to ever do that again. I think I've cried more over this weekend than I have in a long time.

I've started to second guess myself. What if that was just from a freak fly larvae infestation from a poop but that I didn't catch and wash off...or maybe a minor injury that would have healed up after being washed out and treated. I just don't know. But I want to believe I did the right thing.
:hugs:hugs:hugs:hugs:hugs
I am SO sorry! You DID do the right thing. I can't imagine how difficult that must have been. She was certainly suffering greatly. And I believe she did have a serious internal laying issue that could have led to or be caused by reproductive cancer which was then compounded by the flystrike.
I have yet to have to relieve one of my hens of suffering. You really did a good job. I hope I can be as brave as you when the time inevitably comes.
 

ValerieJ

Straw parade on snow day
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 24, 2016
10,552
63,211
1,287
Washington State
Well, @McChics , I know you did the right thing. An eagle attacked a couple of my birds, one was killed and another injured. The injury didn't look too bad, so I brought her in to sick bay and tried to get her well. The next morning she had a bunch of maggots around her vent, so I gave her an epsom salt bath and got rid of them. I don't know what all was going on inside of her, whether the injury was deeper than it appeared, or whether I didn't successfully get all the maggots out, because I didn't send her for a necropsy. Instead of doing the brave and humane thing you did, I kept trying to nurse Ethel back to health, and watched her slowly die over the course of a week. In the end, I definitely regretted putting her through all that. I also cried and cried, mostly because I wasn't brave enough to do right by her. My DH always does the euthanizing when it's needed and he was out of town. I couldn't. RIP Ethel. :hit
 

McChics

Songster
6 Years
Apr 10, 2015
205
301
166
Well, @McChics , I know you did the right thing. An eagle attacked a couple of my birds, one was killed and another injured. The injury didn't look too bad, so I brought her in to sick bay and tried to get her well. The next morning she had a bunch of maggots around her vent, so I gave her an epsom salt bath and got rid of them. I don't know what all was going on inside of her, whether the injury was deeper than it appeared, or whether I didn't successfully get all the maggots out, because I didn't send her for a necropsy. Instead of doing the brave and humane thing you did, I kept trying to nurse Ethel back to health, and watched her slowly die over the course of a week. In the end, I definitely regretted putting her through all that. I also cried and cried, mostly because I wasn't brave enough to do right by her. My DH always does the euthanizing when it's needed and he was out of town. I couldn't. RIP Ethel. :hit

Wow, thanks for that. That helps - although we both had loss - that helps me reconcile what's going on. Sorry for your loss, and again...thank you.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,420
20,127
867
Western Ohio
Sorry for your loss! Yes, you did the right thing. Good chicken life Overall and suffering was not prolonged.

We’ve had to humanely dispatch two chickens, due to different reasons, but it was to end the suffering after unsuccessful treatments/quarantine. While this was sad, we performed it quickly and calmly so as to not stress out the bird.
 

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