How Do You Decide It's Time to Euthanize Pet Chickens?

Aunt Angus

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Jul 16, 2018
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I have an Orpington who is almost 4 yo. She has been slowly declining the past month or so. She's lethargic and losing weight. She's got normal poop. She's not injured or having crop issues. Nothing respiratory. No ascites. She still lays the occasional egg. She just lays down a lot and eats very little. And I've wormed her and given her a round of antibiotics (figured it couldn't hurt at this point).

I'm thinking cancer or something equally awful. So I've been giving her TLC with pellet mash with egg and vitamins to try and give her some energy and put a little weight on her. But I know the inevitable decision is looming.

So how do YOU know when it's time to put them down? What behavior have you seen in your own birds that led you to decide to put them down?

Poppy is a dear pet whom I love, so please be kind.

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I have an Orpington who is almost 4 yo. She has been slowly declining the past month or so. She's lethargic and losing weight. She's got normal poop. She's not injured or having crop issues. Nothing respiratory. No ascites. She still lays the occasional egg. She just lays down a lot and eats very little. And I've wormed her and given her a round of antibiotics (figured it couldn't hurt at this point).

I'm thinking cancer or something equally awful. So I've been giving her TLC with pellet mash with egg and vitamins to try and give her some energy and put a little weight on her. But I know the inevitable decision is looming.

So how do YOU know when it's time to put them down? What behavior have you seen in your own birds that led you to decide to put them down?

Poppy is a dear pet whom I love, so please be kind.

View attachment 3167582
When she can no longer live a happy life. When she seems to be in to much pain and suffering.
 
When she can no longer live a happy life. When she seems to be in to much pain and suffering.
Thank you for replying.

Forgive my ignorance - what does that look like? Puffed up? Not eating anymore? I've done this with dogs and cats (even pet rats), but chickens are so dang stoic. Not 100% sure what to look for.
 
Final stages of shut-down often present as clear as water poops with bright green spots (bile). When she gets to that stage, the end is rapidly approaching. Until then, if she's eating and her crop empties nightly and she's managing to get around unassisted, you can assume she's simply suffering the effects of old age. You might consider giving her one BABY aspirin a day to ease aches and pains.

Your girl looks to be a rhode-island (slash) high production type of red chicken (so many names for these types of production red birds); if so, 4 years old is OLD.
 
She's lethargic and losing weight. She's got normal poop. She's not injured or having crop issues. Nothing respiratory. No ascites. She still lays the occasional egg. She just lays down a lot and eats very little.
Sounds like she is slowing down, but for me...normal poop, no crop problems, still lays an egg once in a while - not her time yet.

That said. Only you can really be the one that can gauge how well she is and make that call.
 
I don’t have any idea for quality of life for a chickens as I have never owned a chicken
But Im So sorry you are going through this
Our birds for some reason are extra special

I did have to put down a duckling at 4 weeks that crushed me
I had to pick quality of life but he was happy and got so excited when he would see me
He would eat really well and tried so hard to improve. But his neck bone was deformed and he was never able to walk on his own
Or swim , eat , drink even preen
I had to assist him with everything
But I loved life and I didn’t want to give up hope cause he tried so hard. As he got bigger it got harder
He slept in his bin on my bed as he had to see me at all times
I’m crying writing this and it’s been months already. He was my little sidekick who I will cherish every moment I had with him

If she is declining and not getting better then I think you will know when the right time is
You know her best
 
I don’t have any idea for quality of life for a chickens as I have never owned a chicken
But Im So sorry you are going through this
Our birds for some reason are extra special

I did have to put down a duckling at 4 weeks that crushed me
I had to pick quality of life but he was happy and got so excited when he would see me
He would eat really well and tried so hard to improve. But his neck bone was deformed and he was never able to walk on his own
Or swim , eat , drink even preen
I had to assist him with everything
But I loved life and I didn’t want to give up hope cause he tried so hard. As he got bigger it got harder
He slept in his bin on my bed as he had to see me at all times
I’m crying writing this and it’s been months already. He was my little sidekick who I will cherish every moment I had with him

If she is declining and not getting better then I think you will know when the right time is
You know her best
I'm so sorry. He was a fortunate duckie.
:hugs
 
Thank you for replying.

Forgive my ignorance - what does that look like? Puffed up? Not eating anymore? I've done this with dogs and cats (even pet rats), but chickens are so dang stoic. Not 100% sure what to look for.
I'm gonna answer this with another question. Do you think she is happy and living her best life?

Able to get around on her own?
Able to eat enough?
Able to empty and fill her crop often enough?
Normal poops? Yes you said.
Is she making happy sounds?
Is she making weak sounds?
How long is she laying down?
Is she able to scratch, or do any normal behavior?
Is she able to roost?

Ask yourself those questions and weigh the pros and cons of wich ever action you de ide on before you do it.
 
Sounds like she is slowing down, but for me...normal poop, no crop problems, still lays an egg once in a while - not her time yet.

That said. Only you can really be the one that can gauge how well she is and make that call.
This helps. I always read how chickens don't show their pain (prey animals). I am afraid of waiting too long.​
 
I'm gonna answer this with another question. Do you think she is happy and living her best life?

Able to get around on her own?
Able to eat enough?
Able to empty and fill her crop often enough?
Normal poops? Yes you said.
Is she making happy sounds?
Is she making weak sounds?
How long is she laying down?
Is she able to scratch, or do any normal behavior?
Is she able to roost?

Ask yourself those questions and weigh the pros and cons of wich ever action you de ide on before you do it.
The only 2 "no" answers aren't even definite "no's" right now. I'm not sure she's eating enough (she's very thin), and she can roost but has opted to sleep on the coop floor of late.

I know this is a personal decision. I just wish it were easier to tell. These questions help. I'm going to bookmark your reply.
 

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