Should I put this chicken down? Please help!


Aug 14, 2016
Hey Y'all-

I have a 3 year old Leghorn who definitely has ascites (water belly) and has had it for at least a few months. (It look me a while to figure out what it was that was making her on and off lethargic with a limp comb.) We drained a lot of fluid out of her this week, and she seems to be feeling pretty peppy now. She has always been a very energetic girl and a very good layer, but she hasn't laid an egg in several weeks now.

I know ascites is caused by something awful like heart or liver failure. Given that she is pretty thin and has always been kind of high strung, it seems likely that it's her heart. I'm starting to feel like putting her down would be the right thing to do, because A) whatever she's got is not going to get better and B) she is probably suffering and in pain even when I can't tell.

I love this chicken. She is one of my very first 3 chickens that I raised from chicks and I am very attached.

I'm really just looking for confirmation that putting her down is the compassionate thing to do here. I don't want her to live the rest of her days in pain and stress when her life has been a very good and peaceful chicken life.

I'd appreciate your 2 cents! Thanks~


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
I would guess that she has internal laying, which can lead to ascites. If she perks up every time you drain fluid from her belly, she might go on living a decent life for awhile. If she lies around hurting and has trouble getting around, or if she goes into winter with harsh cold conditions, then I would think about putting her down. I have several older hens who have one or another thing wrong with them, and I will let them keep enjoying life if they like to be around the rest of the flock and don't seem to be suffering.


In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 13, 2011
You poor thing. I've had similar decisions to make in recent weeks... I always say u will know when the time is right, when she has no more quality of life.. don't beat yourself up too much she has had a good life.

It's horrible for you everyday wondering, worrying, researching, hoping.... in the end I think you will know when the right time comes. Xx

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