RIP Bella! (A rant)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by GreenGoddess, May 30, 2010.

  1. GreenGoddess

    GreenGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    St Pauls, NC
    You know.. Culling a 7 week old chick is NOT the best way to end the day...

    I had ten 7 week old chicks that lived in a small brooder/pen that was attached to the main pen with my other 9 chickens.. So, for the last week or so, I have been letting them all free range together and except for some normal pecking and chasing, it was never violent.. So, yesterday I decided to just put everyone in the main pen together.. Again, a little pecking and chasing to establish order but nothing violent.. They all went up to roost last night and of course, just like i did with my barred rocks for the first night in the big coop, I had to put them all up on the roost one by one.. I was so proud since they are 1/3 the size of my hens and roos! Well, today, i kept a close eye on everyone and for the most part, all was well.. I had a problem with my main roo though.. I went into the coop to feed everyone and check on last time for eggs and found blood drops all over the droppings board.. Fearing the worst, I looked at all the chicks and everyone seemed fine.. Then I noticed that the main roo, who I despurred about 2 weeks ago was bleeding on one of the stubs.. I don't know if he got caught on something or hit it but it was bleeding and the others were having a field day! So, I pulled him out, gently sprayed some cold water from the hose on it to slow the bleeding and then wrapped it with a towel.. The place where the spur was, was almost gone.. There was nothing but a VERY sharp bone sticking out.. So, once i stopped the bleeding, fearing he would puncture one of my hens, I took the pedi-paws to it to file it down.. Worked GREAT!!! Put him back in, they chased him for a minute or so and then lost interest.. Problem solved! OK... So, fast forward about 4 hours... The big babies had already gone up to roost and my 7 week olds were still out in the run.. I figured, I would wait until dusk and out them up to roost also.. I cleaned the fridge out to get the dishes washed and threw the leftovers to the babies.. Nothing major, noodles, scrambled eggs, corned beef hash, a few teaspoons of blackberry cobbler and two hot dogs.. It really wasn't a lot when you figured splitting it between the 10 of them.. Well, my husband got a phone call and walked outside (we get bad reception in the house!)... A few minutes later, he calls me out there and points to the coop.. One of my chicks was not acting well.. I ran out there and picked up her to realize, she's not able to get air.. She kept gasping and all i could hear was tiny "squeeks" (almost inaudible) when she tried to peep.. Of course, at this point I'm shaking like a leaf because she was basically suffocating.. We got a flashlight and I looked down her throat but didn't see anything.. I honestly didn't know what to do.. If it were a human, I would have did the heimlich or something but what do you do when a chicken is choking?!?!?! I then realized, it's crop was hard as a rock!!!!! Ok.. I don't give my chickens grit.. Why, you ask? Well, because i live in the sandhills.. They live on grit.. That said, I did try to give it a few drops of olive oil and massaged it a few times but she just couldn't get air.. So, my husband and i started walking out the door, told out 11 year old son to stay in the house and I broke her neck.. Or so i thought! Ok! I HEARD and FELT the pop!!!! But, she was still gasping and moving!! Not "nerves have to die" moving but "Hey! I'm still alive here!!!" moving!!! OMG!!!!! I did it again and again head another pop! This time she went limp.. So, I put her on the ground and she flopped once and then stopped moving again.. So, I started digging the hole to bury her next to our dog we lost in december and my husband says, "I thought you broke her neck??" I looked over towards her and she was still gasping, looking around and trying to hold her head up!!!! I say again, OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now, take into consideration that this has gone on for between 5 and 10 minutes already.. her face was blue instead of red this whole time so i KNOW she was not getting air.. HOW in the world she was still alive anyways is beyond me and now with a broken neck (obviously not in the right place I guess!) So, I put my hand on her back and figured i would try one more time ( don't have anything sharp so I couldn't just decapitate her and be done with it, although a hatchet is now on the shopping list!) and pulled her head up and twisted at the same time... At this point I was REALLY happy my son wasn't outside watching! Let's just say I didn't bury her in one piece! [​IMG] I couldn't believe it and both my husband and I were completely shocked.. I quickly threw her in the hole and covered her up because at this point my son came walking out the backdoor... My son has gotten very attached to these chicks and he was heartbroken at the fact that he couldn't be out there to say goodbye.. But, I was relieved! Breaking a chicken's neck is NOT a method I will be using in the future! As I said, I now have a hatchet on the shopping list.. I was going to wait a little bit because honestly, we don't have much extra money at the moment and so i was going to wait until I got my meaties but, it's definitely become a priority.. I told my husband that I think she may have eaten some of the hay i have down in the coop.. I've never had a problem like this before and I've had chickens for a little over a year now.. I know that chickens are going to get sick and sometimes culling is the best answer and in this case I think it was a necessary evil and I am fine with that because I don't think she would have made it through crop surgery if I had the stuff to do it.. And honestly, I didn't have a problem culling her.. But, i was NOT expecting what happened!!! ok.. I'm done ranting now!!! RIP Bella!!!!

    She was a golden comet (more than likely a HE but a she until I knew for sure LOL)

    Goddess [​IMG]
  2. RebekahNicole

    RebekahNicole Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 8, 2010
    Sunny SoCal
    I'm so sorry! I can't imagine having to do that.
  3. Ms.FuzzyButts

    Ms.FuzzyButts Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2009
    North Alabama
    [​IMG] I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. Poor Bella.
  4. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    [​IMG] That had to be the hardest thing to do. I'm happy that your son was not there. [​IMG] Bella is a pretty girl. It was the only thing to do, to help her from suffering any longer.
  5. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    UGH!!! I can't even imagine! [​IMG]
  6. KKatknap

    KKatknap Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2009
    Albany, OR
    [​IMG] I would have been in hysterics crying. Holy cats.

    [​IMG] I am so sorry. Pretty little thing. [​IMG]
  7. austinhart123

    austinhart123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2008
    Los Angeles CA
    weve all had bad culling experiences, or atleast i have, and yes that looks like a boy to me
  8. NWChicks

    NWChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2010
    Granite Falls, WA
    So sorry you had to go through that but kudos to you for not only protecting your son but also making sure your bird didn't suffer (as best you could with this situation anyway!) [​IMG] Hopefully everyone else will be fine and you'll have no more issues.
  9. Nicola

    Nicola Chook Cuddlin' Aussie

    Feb 23, 2009
    awww soo sorry to hear that [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. GreenGoddess

    GreenGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    St Pauls, NC
    I wanted to thank you all for your support.. it is greatly appreciated.. Today is a new day and i am watching the babes like a hawk..

    Quote:Kat, I didn't last night but i did feel sick to my stomach.. But I KNOW I had some pretty bad dreams last night.. i remember having them but thankfully I don't remember the details at all.. But, I know i was crying in my sleep.. Honestly, the entire time I was dealing with it, when I realized what was going on, I just kept thinking, "Die already!! Stop breathing!!!" That sounds aweful and it tore me up thinking it but I knew I was causing her more pain and stress and that was much worse than the thoughts...

    Quote:Again, I am watching the babies like a hawk.. I didn't wake up til 8:30 so I know the babies had eaten what they didn't finish last night plus the rest of what was left of the food... I felt all of their crops and most of them felt squishy so i knew they crops were working properly... Last night they were ALL hard and completely full but Bella's was completely solid... I found two babies that their crops didn't feel much different from last night.. It may just be that they ate more than the rest and have more in there but I went ahead and seperated them and gave them some bread soaked in olive oil.. I will see if in a few hours, their crops start getting a little softer.. I will be able to keep a better eye on them tomorrow morning because my son has school so i will be up at 6am but i am taking precautions now...

    Ok.. So, now what do i do? Their run is nothing but sand and dirt... As I said, we live in the sandhills... So they get plenty of natural grit... Their coop has hay down on the floor and in the nestboxes... I was using pine shavings but that was so expensive and honeslty, the hay stays much cleaner... A bale of hay was $6 and it's lasted me 3 months, even with giving some to the rabbits... I didn't do a necropsy so I honestly don't know if she has eaten the hay and it got balled up in there, if she ate too much and then choked on one last morsel, or whatever else it could have been.... Does anyone have any suggestions on preventing this from happening again? I've heard horror stories about chickens getting impacted crop but NONE of them that i remember have ever stopped breathing without any other symptoms... Their crops would be full and they wouldn't eat/poop, lethargic, SOMETHING!!!! But, she was fun just an hour before all of this happened... Please help me from going through this again!!

    Goddess [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by