Reproductive issue?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MandS, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. MandS

    MandS Songster

    Apr 14, 2016

    I am sorry that I am posting this as a new post, however I revived my previous post but it is lost about 3 pages back without a response - probably because it had seemed to be resolved. Here goes... if this doesn't make sense, here is the original post for background

    Honey did very well for about 2 weeks and then she started to go downhill.

    Back in the flock, she quickly established her pecking order, ran for food, was her usual inquisitive self and seemed 100% normal - except she has never laid since all this started.

    Four days ago I noticed that she wasn't really interested in food, and although it is hot here, it didn't seem heat related. Three days ago I opened the coop and she didn't come out for a while, which is quite unlike her. So I booked her into the vet (who is an avian vet thankfully) and he has said that she is very tender inside and was acutely in pain when he internally examined her. He said it is likely that she has an infection in her reproductive tract and has suggested a number of things.

    1. A course of 10 days of antibiotics to clear any infection - but he thinks we will be back here again after they wear off.

    2. An endoscopy to look at her organs - some risk involved because it requires an incision and hence an anaesthetic

    3. A contraceptive implant which lasts 6 - 12 months to stop her ovulating

    4. It might be a tumour but he can't tell without an endoscopy. If it is, he will not remove her reproductive system because he says the outcomes are never good and he doesn't like doing it.

    So, I have suggested that we go with 1 to start with, so she can get back to normal, then progress with one of the other options. My thought was, if it is a tumour, it probably won't respond to antibiotics, so that might give us a clue as to whether it is an infection or not.

    Do you have any advice or wisdom here? Honey is a fantastic chicken (over 3 years old now) and she doesn't need to lay any more for us - she was a prolific layer in her time. I do not want to euthanise her if at all possible and am not looking for a "cheap" solution. I take pet ownership seriously, so if there's anything we can do (and can afford) then we should do it.

    I am quite upset though. I know one day we will lose her and I certainly do not want her to suffer, however if we can help her, we should. I once had a bird put down about 10 years ago because he went blind overnight and they suspected a brain tumour. We tried various mineral/vitamin courses to see if it could help and in the end agreed it was kinder to put him down. I still live with that today and it still hurts - I felt like I let him down and I made the decision to end his life. Horrible. Yes, I am sentimental and soft.......

    She has now had 2 days of antibiotics and is about the same, possibly a little better but only just. She also seems to stand on one leg - either one, but the other foot is not fully on the ground. It looks like it might hurt if both feet go down. She also puts herself to bed about 40 - 60 mins before all the others. She is fussy eating but will run for her favourite food (ran down the garden to meet me tonight) and she hasn't lost any weight.

    All help and thoughts are welcome. I'd be grateful for any advice or any thoughts that we are missing something.
    Abriana likes this.
  2. Latestarter

    Latestarter Free Ranging

    Mar 18, 2014
    North East Texas
    I read the original post through. It appears the above is a re-post of the original.

    I applaud your decision to do whatever it takes to help your pet. That sentiment however, has to be balanced against what the pet is being forced to continue to live through. There is no reason whatsoever to feel guilty or that you "let down" the roo you had euthanized. Of course it hurts whenever we lose a pet, either by choice, or through natural occurrence. If it didn't hurt, there would be good reason to question owning animals in the first place.

    I have no idea where you originally got your hen from. Seasoned breeders of quality birds tend to produce birds that live a relatively long time. There are many instances of chickens living 10 years. Generally speaking, that is NOT the norm with hatchery stock. I would hazard a guess that the average life span of hatchery stock at ~4-5 years. Some live longer, some don't. Ask for your vet's honest evaluation of your hen's quality of life and go from there.

    I wish you and the hen nothing but the best and hope it's something simple and easy to correct so she ca be your continued pet for years to come.
    emmyn74 and LittleCheepers like this.
  3. Hen Pen Jem

    Hen Pen Jem Crowing

    Sep 19, 2017
    Southern California
    Greetings MandS,

    I totally understand you not wanting to euthanize your girl. I have had hens suffer from different reproductive disorders. Most were over 3 years of age, except one the died at a year and a half old.

    I am currently treating one of my young hens for possible tumors. She is only a year and a half old, too. But, she will not give up, so I don't give up. She is swollen off and on, with ascites.

    You are right to start the hen on antibiotics. This is something that you may have to do often, to keep her from getting an infection in the future. If the hen has tumors, there is no cure for that. As a result of having the tumors, the hen will have a suppressed immune system. That's where antibiotics will help, along with immune system boosting herbs, supplemental meals, exercise and good supportive care.

    - The antibiotic may not kick in till day 3 or 4. Also, you should check her feet for sores or cuts. Her immune system will make infection from the smallest injuries more possible.

    - A CBC is less invasive than an endoscopy, and the measurement of heterophils, will give an indication of whether or not the hen has tumors.

    - Implants have been a good option for hens with reproductive issues. As a matter of fact, I just got an update from a BYC member regarding her hen, that received an implant. She said the hen was doing wonderfully, and all symptoms had subsided.

    This is a huge subject, as there are many attitudes and opinions about keeping these birds alive. I respect the opinions of others. But, have my own opinion and my faith, to guide me in these decisions. I am constantly reading, researching and trying new ways to heal my hens, if not, just give them a good quality of life. Their quality of life is most important to me. If they are suffering and can no longer continue with life, then, euthanasia is the last option. It's a hard decision, but as keepers, it comes with our duties. It sounds like you made the right decision for you rooster. I have to remember also, that chickens are prey animals. And as such, it is not right to leave them in a condition where they cannot see, eat, drink, breath well.

    Chickens are often used in research to improve the lives of human beings. But, not often are these studies aimed at finding effective treatments for the the chickens themselves. So, the options are limited for now. But, who knows there are many great avian vets from all over the world, working to improve treatments for poultry.

    So, this is my 50 cents worth of thoughts on reproductive issues in chickens. I hope I answered some of your questions.

    God Bless :)
    MandS and LittleCheepers like this.
  4. MandS

    MandS Songster

    Apr 14, 2016
    Thank you both. I won't let her suffer but I will give her the chance to get better. The fine line, if it comes, I hope will not be so fine and will be obvious that she is not living comfortably. At the moment, she is just lethargic and almost like she is 5 years older than she actually is.

    The advice (including that euthanising comes with the job description) is very wise. It does help - even if it isn't the thing I want to hear. Hen Pen Jen, your description of what you have and are going through is really helpful. I don't feel as alone with this now.

    Honey was hatched by my daughter at school. They hatched a dozen chicks and I agreed she could keep 3 of them. I did exactly the same 30 odd years ago, so it seemed like history repeating itself. I knew how much I loved my chickens all those years ago and how, though long long gone, I have never forgotten them, so it seemed that we'd al get something out of this.

    My daughter is very attentive and caring to the chickens but I am the one that spots things. As I thought, I would become very attached to them and out of the entire family, I am the one who spends the most time with them. I appreciate that we all keep chickens for different reasons and some are not "pets" in the sense our are, however they are such wonderful friendly and full of individual character little things.

    Back to the advice. It is day 3 of antibiotics. She gets half a tablet in the morning and another half in the evening. So, she has just had her first half of the third tablet. I will hope that we see an improvement over the weekend.

    Great advice and information. Thanks so much.

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