I feel like a cold-blooded murderer! Need some support.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Junebugsin, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Junebugsin

    Junebugsin Chirping

    Jun 25, 2015
    Southern New Hampshire, USA
    So, I've never killed a chicken before tonight.

    One of my chickens, Lunch, was attacked by a fox two weeks ago. Since then I have been caring for her and trying to make her better. I was able to put one dislocated hip back into position, but she was still not able to put any weight on that leg. Her other leg, she was able to put some weight on it, but she would only put weight on it if she had it too far out in front of her, so she couldn't balance herself to stand, as it if pained her to put it in the normal position, and she would not squat on it as if to roost. She also had one wing that was not working right. I tried and tried to see if she had any broken bones, but I was not able to feel any. And bringing her to a vet was financially impossible.

    I feel awful because, until today, she was drinking and eating fine and her puncture wounds were healing, or at least seemed to be, however I found a little beetle thing on her tonight right by the scab of her largest wound on her breast. I squashed the beetle. It freaked me out.

    I tried putting her in a sling that I rigged inside a cat condo cage, but she would always list to the left and would keep swinging her right leg forward until she caught her foot on the front of the cage and her left foot (of the leg that had been dislocated) would just dangle, though it was in a more proper position and she was now able to move it, but would not put any weight on it. I can't even tell how how many times I readjusted the sling and tried different heights and positions because, for the last couple of days, she kept escaping from the sling. I even rigged the sling so that her feet would be in a small storage box, thinking that I might be able to get her in a more comfortable position, but that didn't work either as she got a hold of the front of the box and wiggled and squirmed until she flopped out of it backwards and landed in a half sitting position, stuck in place between the sling and the back of the box. I tried laying her in a short-sided box in hopes that that would ease any discomfort, but she just wasn't comfortable and would flop around on her side.

    Then, tonight, after her flinging herself out of her sling four times and out of the sling/box and after having not eaten or drunk anything today I just felt defeated. She wasn't comfortable, I couldn't make her comfortable, I couldn't figure out what was wrong with her, she had stopped eating and drinking and then she had that beetle on her. I decided that I was just keeping her alive to just keep her in pain and figured she would probably never be able to be her old self again. I grabbed one of my husbands thick leather gloves, picked Lunch up and walked into the back yard holding her with my left hand and arm. Then I grabbed her head with my right hand, dropped her out of my left arm, swung her around to break her neck, and tossed her into the woods, turned around and walked back into my house. I assume the fox, or something else will come and get her sometime tonight.

    I was truly dreading doing that to her. As I said, I had never done anything like this before. But I figured she was only going to suffer and die a slow, painful death. I decided that it would be best to get it over quickly for both her and I. It was actually not as horrible as I thought it would be, which, in a way, makes it worse! I think I might have broken her neck when I dropped her as she didn't make a sound and seemed to go limp, but I didn't hesitate to swing her around, toss her and walk away. I feel very cold-blooded for all that, but I just couldn't hesitate or dwell on what I was doing and had to just get it done and go.

    You're probably horrified that I just threw her into the woods, but what else was I going to do? Bury her? I live in the Granite State and digging anywhere without hitting huge rocks is practically impossible. I certainly wasn't going to make soup out of her since she had that beetle on her. Lord knows what kind of larva was developing under that scab where I found it. Putting her in the trash seemed extremely disrespectful, besides, we'd have to wait a week to go to the dump. So, at a loss for what else I could do, I tossed her into the woods. That doesn't feel much better than putting her in the trash, but it's a smidge higher up on the killing-your-chicken moral ladder, I suppose.

    Anyway, I'm now sitting down writing this and drinking a beer to try to relax. I hope I haven't horrified anyone too badly and I hope I did the right thing for Lunch.

    Sequel and BlueBaby like this.
  2. Virginia and James

    Virginia and James Songster

    Dec 20, 2017
    Western North Carolina
    Hey Jenn,
    You made the hard choice that we all dread, and you're feeling the self-doubt over it. Totally normal. Does it totally suck? Yes!
    I don't think you did anything that we would not have. You tried, and determined that her quality of life would be poor. And I'm sorry you had to do this to your girl. Have another beer to celebrate her good life :hugs
  3. Junebugsin

    Junebugsin Chirping

    Jun 25, 2015
    Southern New Hampshire, USA
    Thank you Virginia and James for your heartfelt reply. I do feel a bit better now, but I am going to go get another beer.
  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    :hugs Unfortunately, part of chicken keeping means being able to make the decision when you realize that a sick or injured bird is suffering with no good prospect for recovery. It's far kinder to end it immediately when you reach that point, instead of letting the bird languish.

    The last time I had to do it, one of my hens was attacked by a hawk. I chased off the hawk but the chicken was mortally wounded, though still very much alive. Not wanting to wait an hour for my husband to get home since that would be an extra hour of suffering, I snapped her neck with a branch pruner. I felt terrible for days but I knew I did the right thing.
    Sequel, Eggcessive, Perris and 2 others like this.
  5. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

    Jul 16, 2018
    Sacramento County, CA
    My Coop
    Wow. THAT is dedication. You did everything you could to make her comfortable, and when that didn't work, you tried again. When you exhausted every possible avenue (and then some), you decided to end her suffering. As many times as she kicked out of that sling, it's almost like she was trying to tell you that it was time.

    I know I would want to do the same if one of my hens was suffering that much. I only hope I have the same courage when I am faced with that decision.
  6. BGcoop

    BGcoop Songster

    Aug 5, 2018
    To me it sounds as if you did the right thing. You gave her the best chance possible and when you came to the point where quality of life was not going to be there, you ended it quickly and painlessly and did not prolong suffering. Kudos to you!
    Sequel, Eggcessive, Perris and 2 others like this.
  7. Perris

    Perris Crowing

    Jan 28, 2018
    Gower, Wales
    you could not have tried harder to save her. But the damage was irreparable and she was suffering, so you did the right thing to end it. That act is very hard, and first time even more so, and you steeled yourself and did it. It was your last act of kindness to her. It is completely natural to then want to get away asap. Have another beer and sleep easy.
  8. Mixed flock enthusiast

    Mixed flock enthusiast Crowing

    May 21, 2018
    Stillwater, OK
    What a miserable experience! I’m so sorry that both you and your hen had to go through this attack and suffering afterwards. You did a lot trying to help her, but it sounds like she had mortal injuries that were slowly killing her. Hugs and hoping that you will soon feel peaceful knowing that you did your best for her.:hugs
    Sequel, Eggcessive and Aunt Angus like this.
  9. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    You did the right thing. :hugs Being a good, compassionate chicken keeper is knowing when to put on your big girl pants and put an animal out of misery. Kindness is NOT delaying because you are afraid. You just 'git it done.

    I personally prefer the broomstick method as it is quick and less dramatic and you may find that less trauma for you, but it sounds like you got it done. For those really suffering where I don't want to inflict more pain, I've used the CO2 method with dry ice and a bucket, but that entails driving in and getting dry ice which is a problem. So generally, I've learned how to get good with the broomstick.

    One thought, and you did absolutely fine, I might have possibly burned the body. The fox will definitely be back to get the carcass which will reward it for it's hunt at your coop. That could encourage it to do more hunting.

    Carry on. You did what you had to do. Poor a cup of tea. Look over your fencing and coop security to protect the rest of the flock. Life goes on for them.

  10. 2 many chickens

    2 many chickens Songster

    Jan 14, 2017
    You did what you had to.
    RIP to a Lunch. Who is now a Dinner instead.
    Sequel likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: