Orpington died suddenly

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Achelois, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm in shock. My two orpington girls, the giants of my flock, have been having issues with bumblefoot. They were on a course of antibiotics which got the lame one walking again, but I wasn't convinced it was properly gone. Our local vets will prescribe abx but don't offer surgery. Fast forward a couple of weeks and I'm waiting on some vet wrap, but today she couldn't walk and was sitting down all the time, and I had Veterycin and tape and decided I'd better operate.

    I gently wrapped the biggest girl who has had it the worst in a towel, draped it over her face and laid her across my knees with her feet where I could reach them. She'd had a long soak and I gently began to cut around the softened scab which was really distinct from the healthy tissue. Then she gave two jerks - and died [​IMG]

    Other than the bumblefoot and being a bit overweight - the ONLY time that hen ever ran it was for food - she looked healthy, shiny feathers, big red comb, only a couple of years old. The orps have never overly liked being handled and last time I looked at their feet they got a bit purply in the comb and gasped. It worried me then, but I figured, what choice did I have?

    Now I wonder where I've gone wrong. I've killed this hen. Is it a big no to have large breeds upside down? Could she have had a bad heart from being overweight, or is this just fright from being held this way and a scary consequence I could experience with any of these hens? I'm terrified now about what will happen to the other one, who is really mourning her sister - the other girl always led her to bed and tonight she didn't know where to go.
     
  2. purplesquirrel

    purplesquirrel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm so sorry to hear your news. You did the best you could. I've never known an overweight chicken, but maybe being upside down and shock of being handled could've given her a heart attack..
    How old was she? They can suffer from stress quite badly and hopefully there is no underlying issue other than the bumble foot. I'm not sure what to suggest as I have never dealt with that problem..yet! Please don't blame yourself though, you did the best you could and no healthy chicken would've died so easily if she wasn't already struggling with problems, at least it was quick. Her sister will become to close to you if you let her, because of her missing her sister. Make an extra fuss of her and give her vegetable treats, touch her whilst she eats and talk. Maybe try and sit her on your lap in the garden, she will be glad for the affection if you give it a week :)
     
  3. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your kind words [​IMG] She was only about two and she really did seem healthy other than this. I think it's her who has still been laying. We didn't realise until we handled her for her bad feet that she'd got as big as she is - she's 3.5kg, her sister 3kg. The other hens all seem about right for their breeds.

    We bought them from a breeder nearby - her sister was a swap when one turned out to be a roo. It sort of feels like the end of an era because we bought these girls right after we bought our first home as our baby was captivated with the chooks at the A&P show who were bigger than he was. But after this, no more...I don't think I can keep orps again. Their skittishness has made it harder to deal with problems like this - the remaining girl won't like cuddles or being touched! I'm worried it could send her the same way. We had them from pullets but they've been nothing like the friendly gingernuts we got before them - they'll even eat out of your hand and let you give them a scratch while they're brooding.

    I guess my main worry is that the other girl has bumblefoot too, although not as badly and she can still walk. She disliked her feet being looked at last time to the point of going purple and gasping, so I'm guessing if I do her feet, she's a goner. The vet may give me a longer course of antibiotics; that's the only solution I can see. And yep, I am glad it was quick. If the infection had got her it would have been very slow and painful - it was already painful from the way she was taking breaks to sit down all the time.
     
  4. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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  5. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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  6. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    I'm very sorry for your loss... yes, it is sometimes very hard on birds, especially adult large fowl, to be held inverted for more than a moment or two. The heavier breeds can have it even worse.

    The going purple and gasping was from how she was held, and not because you were examining the feet. It helps to have two people to do a foot exam; one person to hold the chicken (upright) high enough that the second person can get a good look at the feet.
    Alternatively, if you are by yourself, you can gently tuck a hen under your arm and use your other hand to look at her feet, while she is still right-side up but gently restrained.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for that. It wasn't much more than a moment or two too [​IMG] I feel so bad - I thought since they were okay last time it would be alright this time too. So even lying on the side wouldn't be okay? I thought that to actually treat the feet they'd need to be lying down to be subdued - or is tightly holding the wings enough? Last time I had my husband help me and it was only a minor hock wound and he came very close to passing out. Only other person I have around is a jumpy 10-year-old who wouldn't be able to hold a chick still. I think I'm going to need to ask my neighbour for help if I look at the other chook...
     
  8. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    On the side should be okay, unless they are bound so tightly that they can not breathe. Hens sun-bathe and dust-bathe on their sides daily at my house, even the "fatties". It's possible your hen was just weak? :( I am afraid I can not say for sure. When I do bumblefoot treatments I also wrap my birds in a towel and rest them gently on their sides. The key is to get the towel snug enough that they can't flap or flop around and hurt themselves, but not tight enough to bind and cause physical trouble with breathing. I have my husband hold them and watch their faces for labored breathing or purple combs. Maybe your husband can just focus on the head so that he doesn't get queasy?
     
  9. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to operate on mine for bumblefoot. I lay them on their side on my lap and drape a rag over their head to keep them calm. I don't wrap them up just keep one hand or part of my arm on their upper side to keep the wing down. I don't use force...just touching it usually works. My Spanish though I have to watch cause they are so wild they will occasionally want to fight. I just stop and hold them a bit till they settle.If that's they worse thing you ever you you'll be better than most of us. Stuff happens. You learn from it and move forward.
     
  10. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2013

    True, I thought of the dust bathing right after I posted and felt a bit silly. No, I killed her for sure. She was okay apart from this localised infection from what I can see. You live and learn - I guess I wish I didn't keep getting this experience right after I need it? :/
     

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