LONG: Moral decision--HELP


11 Years
Apr 14, 2008
Howell, MI
Hello everyone:
I am new here, this is my first post. I am also new the the purebred chick raising adventure after having a few game/bantam yard chickens that escaped from the neighbors pen

I have two Sussex hens that were from the "bad batches" at MM....and they are not recovering well. They are now 8 weeks and one is splayed[splayed leg] and the other spends most of her time on her side [floppy chick]. They both eat and drink, though it seems that floppy chick gets around the small pen she is in for drink and food. Splayed leg is now reduced to walking backwards on her hocks and trying to position herself to eat and drink.
I am really concerned about the quality of life for these two, especially splayed leg. They will never be able to go out with the flock and splayed leg seems in distress every time she tries to move though she still has the will to keep eating and drinking when she can arrange herself.
Please advise.
Also, the history for the batch of chicken these two came from.....
(MODERATOR: may need to be reposted for the MM survey?)
arrived from MM on March 11, 2008 in North FL
1 Sussex DOA
11 Sussex
11 Americaunas
2 Buff Japanese
2 Mille Fleur

Total euthanized to date: 4
Total recovered to normalcy
First two weeks healthy then 1 EE chick down, still eating and drinking.
Week 3 -another EE chick down (not able to stand at all); 6 Sussex, 3 EE and the 4 bantams lethargic and weak some with head tremors.
Week 4 -2 Sussex down
Week 5 - 3 more Sussex down - all with tremors and uncoordination
4 chicks hung on with daily care every hour until I euthanized them after 2 weeks of no improvement.
Now at Week 8 and still the two mentioned at the beginning of the post that have not recovered to near normalcy.


BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
NE Washington State
Do a search for McMurray, sick chicks, MM and you can find many threads on this. It may help you to figure out what to do.

Welcome to BYC!


11 Years
Mar 4, 2008
Are you asking if you should keep trying on the sick chicks?

If yes, I hate to be so cruel sounding, but I would put them down. I am the world's biggest softy with animals - I couldn't do it personally - but I'd have to bring in someone to put them down and I wouldn't look back. Grieve their loss, thank them for being in your life, but know that it is kinder to let them go on into chicken heaven than to prolong a half life here for them. That is totally my opinion and of course you're not obligated to do what I suggest. I totally sympathize with your predicament and I hope life gets better.


12 Years
Sep 19, 2007
Mid Hudson River Valley, NY

I'm with red-hen. I am sensitive, but if they are in that condition, it sounds like you might want to humanely put them down.

All the best with your decision.
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12 Years
Jan 31, 2008
NW Oregon
We faced the same issue w/ our McMurray chicks.
lucky for us the ones that have recovered have done much better. (and I don't think were ever as bad as your chicks)
I did rehome 2 of them to a gal that wanted then and also had 2 recovering chicks. But these chicks can walk don't seem distressed and really what we notice is that they just sit more than the rest of the chicks and have a more stilted gait.

It seems like your 2 really don't have great quality.
I don't think it is wrong to humanly end a life of a chicken for any reason (like supper) but I think if they have such poor quality I think you might be doing them a favor to let them go.
my 2 cents


11 Years
Apr 14, 2008
Howell, MI
Thank you so much for your replies.
My two chicks spent a glorious day on clover in the sunshine and then went on to glorious pastures and warm coops where they will run and live free.
Bless their's and everyone's chicks pure little souls.
Love Live Laugh every moment you can.
Tally, FL


11 Years
Apr 4, 2008
Tucson AZ
hmmm, now that is something I hadn't considered.... sick chickens. I thought Chickens were fairly healthy creatures?


Human Encyclopedia
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
outside of the debate as to whether or not you wish to keep a recovered AE chick, (that is a decision you will need to make for yourself)
ANY chick with sever e illness will have malabsorption of nutrients even when they are eating sufficiently... you need to give a good nutritional/vit supplement like AviaCharge 2000 or deficiency will develop and complicate matters further.

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