Hen Versus Car: How will I know if it's time to euthanise?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CranberryBirds, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. CranberryBirds

    CranberryBirds In the Brooder

    Mar 14, 2007

    One of my hens had a slight encounter with a car on Sunday. I thought she was dead on impact but by the time I got outside she was kind of dragging herself away from the road. I picked her up and checked her all over--she had a small nick on her head and some sort of issue with her leg(s).

    I put her in the "isolation ward" with food and water and hay. I got her out yesterday for a bit but the other chickens wouldn't leave her alone. She would kind of stand on one leg but not the other. She is eating and drinking and pooing. Yesterday a membrane-only egg came out, too (first one ever and no egg today). I've been feeding normal food, scratch, yogurt, egg yolk, etc.

    I put her in the enclosure outside by herself today. She stands on both legs but only one seems to work. She mostly stayed in one place.

    This sucks. I don't know if her leg or hip is broken or dislocated or what. I know that chickens with one leg CAN live an OK life but she seems really unmotivated to TRY and hop around. Taking her to a vet is not an option.

    What do you all think? How long would you all give her? How do I know if she is suffering? I know animals are really good at hiding their pain.

    Thanks for your responses.
  2. Wes in Tx

    Wes in Tx Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Keep her isolated where she can't move around alot and add plain aspirin at the rate of 5 5-grain per gallon of water.
  3. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    cranberrybirds, First I want to say congrats for having a isolation ward, something that being prepared includes.

    Checking the hens hip to feel if it is broken should be easy enough to tell, if not time might help to see if the leg heals. Anyone hit by a vehicle will have some trauma, especially a chicken. Time will tell,I hope for the best.

  4. chickiemom

    chickiemom In the Brooder

    Mar 1, 2007
    South Louisiana
    I am very impressed about the ward! WOW way to think ahead.
    Sorry to hear about your hen. I think the over all decission is yours and yours alone. Only you know your hen, give her time to heal, but always know that what you decide is the RIGHT choice for her. GOD Bless :aww
  5. CranberryBirds

    CranberryBirds In the Brooder

    Mar 14, 2007
    Thanks for the replies. I guess I know it's a decision I need to make on my own--it is just so hard and I know the people here understand what is going thru my mind.

    Since you mention the iso-ward, I thought I would post a few pictures, since I'm kind of proud of this. I should probably put this in coop design, maybe I will cross-post...

    Here is a picture of the outside of my coop. http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j127/krweaver/IMG_0384.jpg This is an old cupboard that we attached to the side of the coop. The two "compartments" on the right are the nest boxes. The two compartments on the left are "ventilation/isolation" areas. I keep the next box side door closed (just open it to get eggs) and the other side is open when it's not windy/cold.

    Here is a picture of the inside. http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j127/krweaver/IMG_0385.jpg You can kind of see the edge of the isolation ward. 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch welded wire keeps the chicken in the iso-ward away from the inside of the coop, but she can still see/hear/talk to the other chickens. So, it's a physical isolation ward only, not for disease isolation. Food and water sit on the little shelf just inside the wire. Originally, I thought I would use these areas for introducing new birds or 1 or 2 chicks to my other girls.

    It's small but the hen can stand up and move around a bit. I don't think it will be good for long-term isolation but it's good for at night since she can't get up on the roost.

    Here's hoping that she recovers.....
  6. Jillylam

    Jillylam Songster

    Mar 16, 2007
    Kingwood, NJ
    I hope she does ok. I like your isolation ward. I only have an emergency area set up in my house but not one attached to the coop. I'd like to add something on to my coop and create a seperate run also. Thanks for the pictures.
  7. chicknmania

    chicknmania Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    We once had a hen with a dislocated hip. We let it go for a while (several weeks) before taking her to the vet; he said we had waited too long and it would make it more difficult to put the hip back in. He broke her leg trying to put the hip back in. He discouraged us from euthanizing her, saying she could lead a fairly normal life by hopping on one leg, as long as we kept her in a pen by herself. He didn't seem to think pain was a big issue. We could not afford surgery for him to repair the leg, and he didn't offer to do it for free. We took her home and babied her for several weeks after; let her out with the others only under supervision, etc; she seemed to do ok, but I felt sorry for her. She died one hot day, i'm guessing from the heat rather than a leg-associated thing. So I guess that's one vet's opinion about pain, if it helps.
  8. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Eeee, chicknmania - your vet seems a bit cavalier about things. Any animal with a central nervous system is going to feel pain in a similar way. Chickens, like any flock or herd animal, are especially adept at hiding injury and pain so that they aren't singled out.
    CranberryBirds - I think you are doing all you can. I think a bit of shock is to be expected, and I probably wouldn't encourage her to walk around too much anyway, so a small isolation area is good. Good luck!
  9. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    CranberryBirds , sound like you are doing all the right things. Great idea on the iso-ward too.
    Hope she recovers soon. :aww
  10. chicknmania

    chicknmania Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    I thought so, too, about the vet. That was a while ago and we haven't taken any to him since. But she did learn to walk a little better, was eating and foraging. talking back to us and seemed (relatively) cheerful..; like you said, hard to tell, really, though. The vet said she would develop a false joint in her hip and learn to live with it, with minimal pain as long as she didn't use the leg.; he didn't saymuch about the fracture! From the description in the car accident, I thought the two injuries sounded similar symptomatically, but who knows. There could be many undisclosed injuries in a car accident injury. I guess if it were me I would keep this hen confined and just watch her for a couple days, see what progresses.

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