Should I keep her alive or not?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Redfeathers, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Songster

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    It's time to make a tough decision. I have a 7 month old Buff Orpington pullet that has never been quite right. She was small to begin with and was always low girl in the pecking order. About four months ago, she started to shake constantly like she is on a low vibrate. She also started turning her head to one side and I realized she is blind in one eye and seems to have poor vision in the other. I usually hand feed her because she cant see well enough to eat on her own, she will peck at a piece of food on the ground and miss over and over. So I put her food in a cup and she eats that way by stabbing at the food until she gets lucky and is able to get some in her beak. I tried the treatments recommended here and the shaking is better. She is just mostly blind and very unsteady. I have to put her on the roost at night now and she still falls off. She has good days and bad, she still finds joy in a dust bath and free ranging, but she is always alone or will follow the sound of my voice and just hang out beside me or sit in my lap and take a nap. The other girls are really starting to pick on her and I can tell she is miserable.

    What would you do? My husband and son both offered to cull her for me if I want them to.
    I don't know what is wrong with her, I do have chicks that in a few weeks will be in the same run area but blocked by fencing from her...still I don't know if it's something that can be other girls are perfectly healthy and have been with her since the day I got her.

    Any advice is helpful. Let her live or end it, I can't seem to make up my mind. Her name is Rose and I'm attached so it's hard for me to decide. [​IMG]

  2. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Does she seem painful? Does she have an okay quality of life? If you feel she is comfortable and happy (and assuming you feel anything she may have is neurologic and not transmittable) and you dont mind the extra care for her---I would probably be apt to keep her around. Just my opinion of course, but youare talking to someone who built a coop for a handicap NN hen that hops around on one leg!.

    Good luck with your desision, it is a tough one.
  3. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Have you seen Southern28chick's threads on Blind Tiny? She has her own coop and run so the others don't peck on her and she knows her way around and does fine. I'm not sure about the shaking but, if she doesn't seem to be in pain I would think it's neurogical and she has adjusted to it. As far as the new chicks being around her, I would think if the others that she is with haven't come down with it that it's not contagious.

    Good luck with your decision, it is a hard one to make.
  4. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    Bless your heart sorry ...I know you'll do the right thing [​IMG]
  5. raindrop

    raindrop Songster

    Feb 10, 2008
    Western Oregon
    This will be a tough decision. It sounds like she takes quite a bit of nursing care and needs to be kept by herself to keep her safe. I believe this is a decision that YOU will have to make. I don't think either decision would be wrong, but if you let someone else tell you something that you don't really feel you will question yourself and feel bad.
    Some things to consider:
    If you feel like her good times outweigh the bad times, and you are able to continue (and enjoy) providing this high level of care so she is safe and not hungry, then you should keep her.
    If the bad times outnumber the good, or if it isn't possible for her to become a house chicken or at least live in her own little safe area and be happy about that (not lonely) then I would cull her.
    I think that the quality of life of my chickens is determined by (in no particular order):
    -ability to have social interactions with other chickens
    -free ranging as much as possible, scratching in the dirt, dust baths
    -chasing insects, eating treats
    -sunbathing, a limited commodity in OR right now:)
    -roosting with the flock at night
    -layer pellets and fresh, clean water on demand

    Good luck with your decision. I really don't think you would be wrong either way, as long as you try to objectively assess her quality of life and base your decision on that. Sometimes just because we can keep an animal alive doesn't mean we should, but by the same token, just because an animal is not "normal" doesn't mean that it is suffering, either. It can be a really tough decision. I had a kitten once that had a degenerative neurologic disease and I wrestled with the decision for a couple weeks, one day I just looked at her and knew that it was time to put her down. She still had some good times, but the bad times were getting worse and the good ones were less frequent.

    Okay, rambling answer done. Good luck. Give your chicken a treat for me!
  6. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Songster

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    Thank you everyone for your insight. It really is helpful to hear what others think in this kind of situation. You are right Raindrop it does come down to quality of life. I think she is lonely standing in her corner all day waiting for me to come out and feed her. I do know she is happy when she can free range, she just sticks to the fence line until I pick her up and give her treats of her own and put her back in the run. I don't think she is in pain, she walks fine, she just can't see or roost and she spins in circles sometimes around and around, but I think that's due to her limited vision.
    I dunno. She sure is a love though which makes it harder to cull her. She loves to be held and she honks like a goose, she has never sounded like a chicken. lol

    Anyway, thank you again for the help.
  7. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    *she actually sounds quite a bit like mine, rf-- except for the shaking-- I'm the one who gets a little shaky sometimes (thyroid). Maybe a tiny pinch of magnesium or a food treat with it might help Rose with that. Works for me.

  8. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Redfeathers, you say she stands in the corner of the coop waiting for you, is that with the rest of the chickens? Could it be they are picking on her when she is out of the corner. I don't know if you could have an area just for her but, that may help.
  9. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Red--my little handicap hen has her own space.


    She has been housed with a roo for company since he was a chick, but not that he is more "active" she is awaiting her little new frizzle friend.
  10. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Songster

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    What a great little spot. I think I might try to do something like that for her. Thank you for the great idea.

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