I don't think I am cut out for this chicken business!!


9 Years
Jun 24, 2010
Winters, CA
Because I am absolutely heartbroken about my baby Delaware, Blondie. I'm not sure what's wrong with her, but some symptoms seem like Marek's (she lays on her side with one leg outstretched and one curled under, but sometimes she has them both out). I was talking to a nice girl at the feed store today and she was telling me how she just rings their necks when they are suffering. I don't think I'll EVER be able to do that. I'll have to take it somewhere and have someone tell me they are going to keep it and take care of it just so that I don't feel horrible for what's really about to happen.

Our first flock was attacked by a dog, and 3 of the 4 died. I cried for almost a week. I don't know if I can handle this...
That is terrible!!!! About your flock and you thinking that giving up is the answer. I have never been able to cull a bird myself, so we call a friend that can, and it is done. Better to end their suffering if they are ill and clearly not going to recover.

I lost all my ducks to a dog attack. I was lucky enough to be able to replace them for free from another BYC'er. I have lost chickens to snakes, dogs, raccoons, etc. It doesn't get any easier, but I would never willingly give up my birds. They are just too much fun to watch, they are sweet, little feathered comedians. Especially my banty cochin and banty polish. They are Jeff and Mutt, like sisters. They bicker, they argue, they beat each other up, and at night they are snuggled firmly against each other.
Lying on one side in itself is a sign of lack of energy. You need to find out what caused that. It could be sickness, injury or shock. What you do about it then depends on the cause.

If we are in doubt we call the vet and he visits but I understand that in some parts of the world they won't treat poultry. We have had turkeys lie on their sides for several reasons. Young poults often don't live once that happens. They are just weaklings. The other day our 16 week old toms started to display in competition with the mating toms. One mating tom got hacked off with them and started to stomp on one of the younger ones. We isolated the victim and he lay on his side for a few hours with shock but eventually recovered. You really have to learn what's going on and act accordingly. I would not kill a bird until I knew what was wrong and whether it could be put right.
At first I too thought it was callous that chicken keepers seemed so "quick" to cull a sick or injured bird instead of trying to help it heal. Then I had a few die on me despite everything I tried
But I've also had a couple of "miracle" recoveries from injured chicks so all is not lost.
After a few deaths you kinda figure out whether or not you will be able to fix the bird or not, and if you know the answer is "probably not" then ya gotta do what is best.

Unfortunately it is part of keeping chickens. They simply don't live as long as other animals, and a lot of times by the time they show symptoms they are too far gone.
It sucks. I know.
Oh don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my babies. But that's the reason I think I'm not cut out for it. I love them TOO much. You know? When they aren't well it's like my own kid is sick, I've spent all weekend trying to figure her out. I've held her, let her sleep in my lap inside, gave her special treats, etc. I don't know if I can handle losing her!!
For you I recommend a dram of Scotch malt whisky at bedtime to help you relax into a good night's sleep.
But I meant for your Delaware.

Be pleased that you care so much for your animals. For each one that you lose you will have given many others a good life.
I'm already working the wine. See the thread about broom-hook (best housekeeper or something like that.....) for proof, LOL.

Right now I am just doing vitamin b treatment, I don't know what else to do. Vit b-100 crushed up and mixed with her feed, vit b-12 complex (liquid) dropped in her water.

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