Hens Feet are Falling Off


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 28, 2010
Hello - my chicken got frostbite this winter. Her comb and feet turned black. I've had her seperated from the rest of our chickens for about a month now. She has gained weight and looks good except for her feet and comb. Today when I went to check on her, one foot had fallen off. The other one is getting ready to come off as well. Her comb is still on though. She isn't laying. She can't really walk, and she has to use her wings to balance her when she is standing or trying to walk. Should we put this chicken out of her misery or do you think she can be fine without feet down in our chicken yard and eventually start to lay again? I feel like - if I put her back down in the yard, the other chickens will try and kill her - just as they did when she first got frostbite. Thoughts? Thank you in advance for your feedback!
You may always have to keep her from the other chickens since she is injured but there are several people on this site who have chickens with no feet who learn to walk and function normally.. Just as it does with any animals, it will take time to learn to balance but as long as she is not in pain, i would not cull her.. Just give her some time and plenty of tlc.. Only thing you really need to watch out for is infection..

I knew a woman who had a chicken without legs/feet, due to an injury, and I always felt so sorry for it, it just sat there all day, and really had no life. I'm sorry to say, if it were me, I would put her down, that can't be comfortable for her. I couldn't imagine waking up one day and my foot has fallen off.
I would have her put down in the most humane way possible. Quality of life is an issue here.

ETA, and then rethink your coop/run setup, to prevent a recurrence in another bird.
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I would put her out of her misery too. I know that sounds harsh, but unless you have a lot of time and energy to focus on rehabilitating this one hen who may or may not end up having a normal life.. then you are only prolonging the agony.

Do you think that you can rehabilitate her well enough to ever function back with the flock or is her life with the group over regardless?
This is a situation that is hard to decide on. I believe in not putting animals like this down just because they are injured or the owner just "doesn't have time" to take care of it but this chicken could be in a lot of pain and that isn't fair. She may be able to get over this and live fine. I don't know. I have never heard of a chicken being able to but others on here have said they have. My point is you need to really think if you may be making a decision based on what you want and what you feel and not on what this chicken's needs and feelings are.

I believe when you look at an animal you can tell if they are happy or in pain and I would have to look at this chicken and judge accordingly. I wouldn't want to put it down if she had a chance for a happy life but then again I wouldn't want to put her through pain that she doens't have to go through and later, though she can function and manage to walk, she may still be in pain and getting picked on.

I'm so sorry but I hope this helps.
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Oh I am so sorry to hear of your poor little chicken. I hope you can gain strength to enable you to follow your heart and do whatever it is you should do. I don't have an exact answer, but I think you do.
There are alot of 3 legged dogs, cats, whatever running around just find. We have an older dog in the neighborhood like that - and his quality of life is excellent, unfortunately he is a nasty little ankle biter but, he was before his accident too.

I've seen dogs on the Animal Planet show with 2 legs getting around fine and playing with kids etc. The thing about animals is they don't fret about it or worry what others will think. That's stuff people do. Animals just know what is, and gradually find ways to get around and cope. I agree that an animal in pain should be put down humanely. But usually the pain is ours and comes from looking at them and thinking how we(people) would feel in their place. Animals don't pity themselves. If she still is eager to eat and drink, and peck at bugs I think she deserves some TLC and some modification of her living area. Chickens are always being separated from the flock for one reason or another - so why not help this hen? She didn't ask to be kept in a climate that would be so brutal to her.

I hope you will take a chance on her and she is she wants to live.

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