Ode to Lucinda, and wry neck fail

LitchCoChick

Chirping
Apr 17, 2021
14
71
56
Northwestern CT
So, this is my second post. Although I've visited this site almost daily for all of the kind and useful advice on everything "chickens". I don't really know what I'm going to type, so bear with me. I'm going to ramble, so if you've got better things to do, it's ok to abort now. 🙂 I'm not looking for advice or answers, I just felt the need to put my thoughts here. Here, in the Emergencies/Diseases/Injuries and Cures forum. I originally had planned to check in here when I had cured my six month old buff orpington of her chronic wry neck that I treated all summer. I had planned on sharing the good news and successful treatment plan to help others that felt as desperate as I have. Unfortunately, I have no good news to share.

I am sitting here with a young, beautiful half-dead chicken in my bathroom, in a crate lined with newspaper and bedding. There is a waterer filled with electrolytes in the event that Lucinda can untwist her neck enough to drink since she's rejected me holding the bowl to her beak. That won't happen though, she won't drink. She hasn't had anything to eat or drink since Friday and it is Sunday evening. I was told at the emergency vet clinic today that she is likely not going to recover this time, and if it weren't Sunday, he would euthanize her today. Due to the fact that I am having a necropsy done, we will have to wait until tomorrow, because she needs to be "fresh" in order to take to the lab, and they are not open on Sundays. Fresh. (sigh)

Now, I have all this time to think and be sad. And regretful, and angry, and sad. Did I say sad? Honestly, going into the chicken-keeping hobby, I never thought I would get so attached to the little dinosaurs, but I have- especially Lucinda. She and another buff orpington were purchased (verbal confirmation of vaccination) locally and added to my vaccinated (documented) hatchery purchased flock at about six wks old. The ones from hatchery were just barely four wks on arrival. So the two buffs are the lead hens, Lucinda being top, Dolly second. Seven young hens in total.

Lucinda has always made this soft cooing sound that was so calming and endearing. I have never heard her raise her voice or even cluck. She put the other girls in their place with just a look, and always with grace. I think she may be my deceased grandmother to be honest-she was like that. When she suddenly came down with moderate wry neck one morning in July, she maintained her position in the flock for quite a few weeks before Dolly took over as the lead. I administered the recommended treatment plan for wry neck- scrambled eggs with vitamin cocktail and nutri-drench, and within two (long) months, Lucinda started roosting with the others again after only being able to sleep on the floor alone for several weeks. As a side, I never took her out of the flock because she was still eating and drinking on her own, and no one was picking on her. I finally exhaled, glad that her spells were over and she was back to normal! Then one awful night in October, I looked at the hen cam and saw that Lucinda had been falling off the roost to the floor with convulsions. I went back through saved video and saw that this had been happening almost every night after I thought she was well. After a few seconds she would climb back up, only to fall off an hour later. I lowered the roost, made the droppings board wider, so when she fell, she would fall only a few inches to the board instead of the floor. So strange that during the day, she was perfectly normal and spry. I also noticed on the cam that Dolly had gotten into the habit of leaning over when Lucinda would start flapping as if to prevent her from falling. And that none of the girls were really sleeping well because of the commotion through the whole night. I started the vitamin treatment again, but began giving it a couple hrs before bed in hopes it would help with these "night spells". Nope. She got worse and worse, until last night at bedtime she couldn't get up the ramp to go into the coop. I still didn't want to separate her (probably denial) so I put a blanket on the floor of the coop and swaddled her loosely so she'd stay warm.

When I let the girls out this morning, Lucinda didn't come running out with the others this time. She couldn't walk and her neck was twisted onto her back. And here we are. In a crate in the bathroom, waiting to be released from all of her suffering. I "told" her in late August that I wouldn't give up as long as she wanted to fight. I didn't, and she got better, for awhile at least. This feels different. I have gotten to know her eyes from all of the time spent with her, and when she looks at me now, she's telling me that she's done. I'm not saying that to make myself feel better, because I still feel like shit, and I'm still sitting here fighting the urge to syringe some nutri-drench into her and keep her in the house away from the others and try this whole thing again. But those eyes don't lie, do they?

So, wry neck- awful awful thing to go through for a little chicken. Is it Marek's? Am I an idiot for never separating her and jeopardizing the six others? Probably. In honesty, I didn't see any of the more common symptoms related to MD. And I read every damn post on it, ear infection, vitamin e/b deficiency, Newcastle's, head injury, etc, all of the bad diseases that name wry neck as a symptom. I read as far back as to when the internet was invented. However, I have to know how this happened to my sweet little Lucinda, and prepare for the worst with the others if it is indeed MD. I am hopeful that it isn't, as I would think that by now, at least the other buff she hatched with would present some illness.... ???

Thanks for listening (reading) if you've made it this far. Tomorrow is going to be a tough day. I know that some of you hardcore chicken people must think I'm out of my mind to spend this much energy, emotion and money on a chicken. I might be. But through this, I have been forced to pause and remember something about the human connection with animals, and that is that we share the same need for compassion, love and respect in life and in death. Thank you Lucinda. 💛
 

EEforMe

Songster
Sep 5, 2021
1,040
2,434
231
You are anything but out of your mind to do all you can for a chicken! In fact I think that makes you a very kind person! I don’t know much about MD or wry neck but I hope you will find out from other members soon! I am sorry for your loss and I know how it is as I just recently lost my Salt to a hawk. I can’t describe the feeling I felt as I was looking for her and I saw that hawk fly out of the bushes :hugs
 

LitchCoChick

Chirping
Apr 17, 2021
14
71
56
Northwestern CT
You are anything but out of your mind to do all you can for a chicken! In fact I think that makes you a very kind person! I don’t know much about MD or wry neck but I hope you will find out from other members soon! I am sorry for your loss and I know how it is as I just recently lost my Salt to a hawk. I can’t describe the feeling I felt as I was looking for her and I saw that hawk fly out of the bushes :hugs
Thank you for your kind words, and I'm sorry about your Salt.
 

FoodFreedomNow

Crowing
5 Years
Aug 11, 2016
3,913
4,871
472
It's an incredibly difficult decision to release an animal from suffering, but when you truly care - as you do - quality of life is the deciding factor.

You know Lucinda better than anyone else, so if she's telling you she's ready to go, she is. I've seen that look in an elderly cat who endured several years of kidney disease treatment...I'm convinced by his eyes and his actions when we were at the vet's office that final time that he was telling me it was ok, that he wanted to go be with his much-loved brother.

Despite the pain of their loss, our lives are richer for having known them. Wishing Lucinda peace and hoping the necropsy results bring you some relief.:hugs
 

LitchCoChick

Chirping
Apr 17, 2021
14
71
56
Northwestern CT
It's an incredibly difficult decision to release an animal from suffering, but when you truly care - as you do - quality of life is the deciding factor.

You know Lucinda better than anyone else, so if she's telling you she's ready to go, she is. I've seen that look in an elderly cat who endured several years of kidney disease treatment...I'm convinced by his eyes and his actions when we were at the vet's office that final time that he was telling me it was ok, that he wanted to go be with his much-loved brother.

Despite the pain of their loss, our lives are richer for having known them. Wishing Lucinda peace and hoping the necropsy results bring you some relief.:hugs
💛 Thank you.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
9,337
42,075
983
Belding, MI
I know that some of you hardcore chicken people must think I'm out of my mind to spend this much energy, emotion and money on a chicken.
We hardcore chicken people are right here with and for you. We also spend this kind of energy and emotion, if not money, on our chickens too.

Hugs for you and Lucinda. :hugs :hugs
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom