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how do you decide to let a sick hen go?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Autumn Mama, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. Autumn Mama

    Autumn Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    we have a three year old australorp, who has been struggling for a couple of months now, and as we've worked with our vet, nothing seems to be helping her to recover. and there isn't clarity as to what is actually wrong with her (my vet doesn't see many chickens, despite being a farm animal vet). we have tried antibiotics twice, she has been wormed (along with the rest of the flock) and she is currently in the house, wasting away, unable to eat, or drink on her own. she will eat/drink with assistance, very small amounts. she cannot stand and sort of hobbles occasionally. her eyes are shut except for a moment or two when she eats. it is depressing to see the hanging on, but lack of improving.

    have you had a bird this ill that has ever recovered? were they welcomed back by the flock? that would be my goal, not to have her live a life shunned and without quality of life.

    i suppose i am worried that she is about to make headway and then i will have euthanized her before she could get well again.

    i'd love to hear thoughts or experience. i am also considering doing a necropsy, if we euthanize or she dies on her own, to see what was happening.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    I am really sorry your hen is not improving. It is a tough call. I don't really have suggestions about what else to try. Without a diagnosis it is hard to treat, which of course makes it understandable that you are considering a necropsy.

    In the U.S. I have read that some states or university extension programs do necropsies for low or no cost. I don't know if this tread would have anything that applies to Canada or nothttps://www.backyardchickens.com/t/40141/link-find-your-state-vet-for-a-necropsy
     
  3. Autumn Mama

    Autumn Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2009
    British Columbia,
    thanks for your response. yes, i do have an ag extension lined up, to do it at a very affordable cost. considering what i may learn about future decisions about caring for my flock (and the 8 newbies in the brooder), i consider it a $10.00 well spent. the diagnosis is weak ,the vet seems to think it is something bacterial as a secondary infection sort of thing. but i didn't want to go into that too much to keep the post relevant to this forum.


    i also have the option of seeing another vet to look more closely, who has seen more chickens, but is more of an exotic animal vet. but a different perspective may be useful. at least i hope to be able to learn more to not reqire spending our precious $$$ at vets. a little investment for the learning curve, seems worthwhile and i can manage it, but to use a vet all of the time, well i don't really want to be dependant on that route.

    thanks again. :)
     
  4. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    It sounds like she is past the point of recovery and you have done everything possible to help her. Believe me, I have had swan and geese in wheel chairs, chickens with special shoes etc etc... But sometimes they just can't get better, and it sounds like she is just hanging on. It is difficult to put down one you have spent so much time on.... But I think it would be the most compassionate choice for her at this time.
     
  5. tyjaco

    tyjaco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just wondering if the Vet did an xray. The reason I say that is because we had a hen last year that had those same symptoms. It turned out that she had eaten a small piece of metal - we think it was a cut off from the hardware cloth we used when we built the coop.
    I don't know if it's worth the money to you. I just wanted to share my experience.
    Sorry it's so hard.. we all love our girls...
     
  6. Autumn Mama

    Autumn Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2009
    British Columbia,
    thanks all for your comments, i always appreciate the kindness here.

    we made the difficult decision to have her euthanized today, after bringing her to the second vet. it was unclear exactly what she had (possible ascites, secondary to something else not determined...definitely liquid in her abdomen, alot of it), it was very clear that she was wasting away and doing very poorly. i liked this new vet so hopefully we have her experience to assist us if anything else comes up.

    we will do a necropsy tomorrow and find out some specifics as to what was causing her severe illness...
    thanks again, everyone..


    ~erin
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  7. AreYouLoved

    AreYouLoved Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Norman OKLAHOMA
    Autumn Mama you have my sympathy. PLEASE keep us updated on the necropsy results. [​IMG]
     
  8. AreYouLoved

    AreYouLoved Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Norman OKLAHOMA
    and if you do not mind me asking what method was used to put her to sleep?
     
  9. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    I had a hen that was swollen like a penguin.Short of operating on her I did what I could.After a few months I decided it was best to end her suffering.I chopped her head off.She was attacked by her mates when I put her outside for sun.Best to reintro at night.Sorry for your loss.
     
  10. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    I'm sorry about your hen, but at least you found a vet you who will be a goo resource. I hope the necropsy reveals the source of the problem, and if you learn something helpful we here at BYC appreciate learning if you feel like posting the results.
     

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