Newb with a tough question

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by HarpuaHound, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. HarpuaHound

    HarpuaHound New Egg

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    I am a newb to chickens. Got my first flock of 5 almost a month ago. And I LOVE everything about keeping chickens. Except the idea that one will eventually get sick. Through this forum I have learned of the myriad of diseases and illnesses that could arize. I read about people taking there birds to the vet and even having surgery done. I never fathomed this before. After having these birds for a month I am way more attached to them than I ever imagined I would be. So it has me thinking. If it were my bird.... I cant afford to take my birds to the vet (struggling to pay my families medical bills as it is). I think with a serious illness i might be forced to deal with it in a more practical manner. Not that I wouldnt give my birds the best care I could but the reality is, I wont be paying for any surgeries or big vet bills for my chickens. I guess im feeling a bit guilty about this. But the other part of me says "people have been keeping animals for thousands of years, many with less money and access to imformation than me". Not wanting to see any animal suffer I would likely end the birds life humanely before incurring significant vet bills. I think its great if people can give a greater level of care but I assume there are many chiken keepers that are forced to take a more practical stance.

    Is this acceptable? Or should I consider gving up my birds? Thoughts or suggestions welcomed.

    To be clear, I love my birds and will be caring for them within my ability, also my best friend is an expert in poultry (hatches 1.5 million chicks a week) so I have some knowledgable help even though we live 500 miles apart.

    Thanks
     
  2. Mum

    Mum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a pragmatic approach to my birds. I adore them (emotional) but I bought them for a utility reason (eggs!) I paid £12 per bird at POL. I pay for their housing (don't ask!), their food, their bedding. No way will I recoup what I have invested in them in terms of eggs. But, their therapeutic value ... well, that part is priceless.

    However, I also believe no animal should suffer as a result of my ignorance (hence joining here for ongoing information) or, my finances. I will give my animals the very best care I can afford; now, that means investment (in their daily well-being) in their needs, investment in time (because no matter what, they do take up a good amount of time and investment in knowledge growth and commitment.

    I undertook poulty keeping knowing that chickens are delicate creatures, hide their illnesses well, can be fine one moment and at deaths door the next. At the point of deaths door, I know it is my responsibility to make ethical choices: do I end their pain/misery/suffering myself? Do I take them to a vet - which will charge more for a consulation than the bird actually cost? - or, do I wait it out and try every possible remedy recommended by people with more knowledge/experience than myself; or, do I give up on them, which brings me back to ending their perceived pain/misery/suffering? Am I even the best judge of that?

    Ok, here's where I stand: I spent a season of my youth earning money for Christmas killing/plucking turkeys so I could feed my 3 very young children. I didn't know anything about turkey's just that it was a means to an end and did it very matter-of-fact. I took on poultry keeping with the same view. However, when I lose one of my girlies, I cry! They touch my heart with their personalities! Because, as well as eggs, their worm their way into your affections!

    When I know their end is near; I let them go - even if it means I have to do it myself. I don't like it, but I "like" seeing them in pain/distress even less!

    Will I pay a vet bill for any of my chickens? No.
    Do I feel a pang of guilt about that? Yes
    How do I reconcile the guilt/lack of investment in vet treatment? Easy! I give my girls a luxury lifestyle they may otherwise never have the priviledge to enjoy otherwise; that "luxury" extends to knowing when enough is enough (when they are ill/injured) and ending any suffering. Now, the worst part of ending an injured/ill chooks suffering isn't in the ending of it ... its when you read on here that, actually, a bit of patience and tender care and they could have pulled through! That guilt is far greater than any guilt in ending their perceived suffering!!! But, it makes it very subjective ... and that is where there is a valid argument for a vets intervention ... because you trust they have the experience to know the difference between ending and persevering: that's what you are paying for [​IMG] Yet, not all vets are poultry familiar and could equally make a misdiagnosis.

    Now, if you go the route of going on others advice here vs going to the vet, you need to ask yourself the some basic questions when reading. When you read the advice of some posters on here, you need to make the same kind of judgement call as you would with taking (or not!) your poultry to a vet: do you trust their advice or do you disregard it? How experienced are they? How many chooks have they dealt with who have had the same symptoms are your own hen? Is their advice reliable? Is there a second opinion?

    Now, back to your original question: Is it acceptable for you to cull your own bird instead of paying a vets fee vs giving up your birds?
    The real question begins with: are you actually able to terminate one of your chooks yourself and could you do it humanely? There is a difference between believing you can and actually doing it. Do you trust yourself to a) research when it is necessary and/or b) recognise when it is necessary?

    Another issue is: your finances are your own business - whether you can afford a vet or not, is your concern and no one else's; but, people will make it their business if they think you are being cruel to an animal; making them suffer in any way which is unnecessary or, if you are being fundamentally cruel to any animal in your care. And that doesn't matter if its a chook, dog, cat, goat, pig, horse or even child/partner! [​IMG]

    Keeping any animal - just like having a partner, or having children - comes with the "given" that they will get sick: no if's, buts, maybe's about it; they will! You cannot afford a vet, that isn't an issue in itself; can you "afford" the emotional challenge of calling time on your own birds and carry out the required action? Or, know someone who can?

    And, finally, you will get mixed reviews vs vets/no vets: some people keep chickens for utility purposes, others keep them as pets. Some have a "Mother Nature" attitude to animal husbandry, other have a more sentimental attitude (although both share an equal amount of compassion!).
     
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  3. Mum

    Mum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    PS: forgot to say ... Welcome to the forums!
     
  4. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    [​IMG] Well stated.
     
  5. HarpuaHound

    HarpuaHound New Egg

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    MUM Thankyou for your considerable and considerate answer!
     

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