Had to put our fav chicken down today

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickenchick99, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. chickenchick99

    chickenchick99 In the Brooder

    Oct 16, 2014
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    I am new to chickens and to this board.
    A week ago I picked up our fav hen (a little black thing that looked like a crow with the softest feathers you could imagine, approx 6-8 months old) and let the neighbour pet her. She commented that her crop was unusually large and hard. I Googled like crazy and determined that she must have an impacted crop. I gave her water and olive oil with a syringe (some sites said to do this while others said it was dangerous as she could aspirate the liquids - read this after I had already done it). I tried at least 20 times to get her to vomit, but nothing came out. No foul smell emitted from her mouth,
    I kept her inside in a cage with water only. In the morning her crop was quite malleable and it looked like she had pooped approx 15 times. By malleable I mean that it was no longer rock hard and the size of a tennis ball, but when you would squish it, it would remain in place/stay squished. Not normal.
    Also, for the past few weeks we noticed her opening her beak and grasping for breath (my hubby and I thought this was hilarious when we first noticed - thought maybe she was a rooster, trying to crow and nothing would come out)
    So, after the one night in a cage I felt bad and let her out with the others. I checked her crop the next morning and it felt the same (still way larger than it should be and stayed squished). Yesterday it was quite large again, today, huge and rock solid.
    I put her in the car and brought her to a vet who is not an avian vet (none in the area) but treats all of the birds from the local Raptor Centre (figured he must know something and was also bringing him my 4 month old turkey who broke her/his? leg on Monday)
    He listened to Mr Nip's (my son named her before we knew he was a she!) lungs and said they were rattling and this was not normal/good.
    Also said that the inside of her mouth was abnormally pale. He thought it would be best to put her down. First, he took long tweezers and reached down her beak to see if there was twisted weeds/grass. There seemed to be nothing but wet feed. He did not suggest surgery (perhaps he doesn't know much about chickens or thought she was beyond this?)
    So, this morning she was happy and seemed fine - ran out to get her "treats" (veg scraps) with all the others. Other than a rock solid crop and gasping for breath she didn't seem sick or bothered.
    The vet gave my (very favourite) hen a lethal injection and I have cried all day.
    Please tell me if there was hope, what I should do in the future, if there was any hope for her.
    I feel bad enough that I listened to the "white coat" and put her down. He really made me feel as though I would be causing her undue pain/stress if I did not, but after reading a whole lot of threads on this board, trying to educate myself, I feel as though I could possible have saved her.
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    So sorry about the loss of your favorite girl :hugs It sounds like you really tried to do the best you could for her and she had a good life with you and knew she was loved. Don't second guess yourself now, you did what you thought was best for her at the time, she was definitely ill and had been sick for awhile and it was reoccurring... you made sure she didn't suffer.

    A good habit to get into is to give your girls exams on a regular basis, so you know what is normal and if something is different and may be wrong early on. Here is a nice chicken check up list to go through
  3. chickenchick99

    chickenchick99 In the Brooder

    Oct 16, 2014
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Thank you so much! That list will be super helpful! I "rescued" a beautiful Lakenveder Roo in July and now have 28 birds.
    Mr Nip came to us along with two others and I integrated them right away, only to notice that they all had lice. (It seems like I have made a lot of unnecessary mistakes). I used dusting powder as they infected my whole flock. (Would love to use DE, bought that first and then read so much bad stuff about it - esp that it can be harmful to their lungs) Dusting powder sounds even worse when you really read up on it.
    I didn't even know what a crop was until last week and have had a growing flock for 4 months.
    I still can't believe that I didn't bring her home and try apple cider vinegar, probiotics, no food, etc at least for a few days. I guess he got me when he said that I would be causing her undue suffering. Has anyone ever seen the "gasping for air" that she was exhibiting along with the impacted crop? I don't want to beat myself up, but I also would like to know if there was any hope for her? I couldn't imagine what I would do if she got worse over the next few days. I would be traumatized it I had to "put her down" myself
  4. toynutz

    toynutz Chirping

    Jul 24, 2014
    Pacific NW
    I'm sorry you had to do that, it's such a tough decision that can leave you second-guessing. I went thru something similar a few months ago. I thought my girl had a crop issue... it wasn't super hard but it wouldn't empty properly. Long story short, she had EYP and her stomach was full of yolks. She could've had experimental surgery and ongoing meds, but thinking of her chances of survival and her quality of life afterwards, not to mention the expense, I couldn't put her or myself thru it. Your girl could've had other issues going on inside too... gasping for air could mean she was developing respiratory problems. It's sad, but you did what was best for both of you... and you gave her a good life while she was with you.
  5. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Crowing

    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    So sorry for your loss...it is never easy...

  6. Toddrick

    Toddrick Songster

    Sep 28, 2014
    Sorry for your loss. I lost a dog a few months ago, and when we found her in the corner she was still alive, but gasping for breath, and her gums and tongue were very pale and dry, not pink, kinda white. We could tell it was her time, and she only lasted another 15 minutes or so. She died at an old age, and my vet suspected she had stomach cancer for quite a while before this.

    I think a very pale tongue is a sign of lack of oxygen or blood, and indicates they are in death throws. I read a thread the other day on BYC that a vet told the person that the crop wasn't emptying because digestion had halted itself (suspected stomach cancer as cause), not because it was blocked. Maybe that's what happened to your girl. I am certain you made the right call.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
  7. chickenchick99

    chickenchick99 In the Brooder

    Oct 16, 2014
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Thank you so much everyone. Having one last cry reading your posts. It definitely makes me feel better and I am so glad I joined this board. I was so upset yesterday because I was beating myself up, thinking that I should have brought her home and maybe she could have lived. Too bad she was sooo cute and we don't even have a photo. I didn't have the heart to take one at the vets. She really looked like a raven, not a chicken! She was a cross and one of a kind, irreplaceable :)

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