Something ate my chickens leg. Should I cull it?

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
Staff member
Premium member
Jul 16, 2015
37,271
56,564
1,312
central Wisconsin
I've heard of chickens getting by with one leg
Getting by isn't necessarily a quality life. It won't be able to roost, it will sit in it's own poop, and other birds will harass it more than likely. It will always need help, and extra care. A chicken doesn't think of its future. It only knows today.
 

ConnieA

Songster
Mar 9, 2015
293
687
201
I personally would cull. I cannot imagine the pain. It will be severely handicapped for the rest of it's life as well.
I get that we think we know what a chicken will have to live with after losing a leg, physiologically and physically speaking, but here is a little something for you to think about before you cull a chicken who has lost a leg, wing, etc., to a predator:

1. This is not (probably) a genetic reason to cull, unless you think inexperience is a good reason to cull (FYI, I do not).
2. A chicken who still has the will to live after a severe injury is a stronger than average chicken (FYI, I do believe this).
3. A chicken who can survive a severe injury is a stronger than average chicken (FYI, I do believe this).
4. The will to survive and propagate is one of the best survival instincts. I definitely do believe this.

If a chicken shows the will to live by eating and drinking, I personally do not cull. In my flock I have individuals who have survived predator attacks who have gone in to win or to produce winning stock with champion status at shows. That is not just my opinion, but a trained poultry judge's opinion.

That said, a little supportive therapy, (that is, a quiet box with food and water to recover in), will tell you if you have a survivor. IMHO, NO ONE IS REQUIRED TO CULL/KILL A CHICKEN. We can choose to do that because we have the power. No one including God (check the 10 commandments, the Koran, etc.) requires us to cull on any basis. That is inherently a personal and a private decision.
My advice is to do the best you can for anyone or any animal under your care. That is all you can do, and no one has any legitimate basis for challenging your judgement. Just do your best.
 

BigBlueHen53

Fragile, Beautiful, Strong
Premium member
Mar 5, 2019
3,301
10,150
597
SE Missouri, USA
Getting by isn't necessarily a quality life. It won't be able to roost, it will sit in it's own poop, and other birds will harass it more than likely. It will always need help, and extra care. A chicken doesn't think of its future. It only knows today.
It's true, no one is required to end an animal's suffering. But neither is anyone required to prolong it when they have to means to terminate it. I'm with @oldhenlikesdogs on this one. A chicken can lose a wing and still do okay, the loss of flight is not as big a deal to chicken as to, say, a cardinal or a hummingbird. But the loss of a leg is a more severe handicap. OP asked for our opinions, and this is mine. I think this creature has suffered enough. We all know that nature keeps chickens from showing pain or weakness, because to do so makes them more of a target. Is that a "will to live," or just their nature, a survival skill? We should show mercy for those in our care.
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
26,553
34,302
1,182
Southern N.C. Mountains
One of my chickens was hopping when I went out. His leg is gone. Theres a gaping hole i can see his inside body cavity and he smells like death and decay but he’s acting like he’s fine other then hopping and the missing parts. I tried to get a picture but it doesn’t look so bad in the picture. View attachment 1950274
What if trying to rinse the wound puts water inside the body cavity?
I think a feral got it because the landlord (nearest neighbor down the road) is in the hospital, so she’s not here to put the feed/water out she normally keeps in her barn for the ferals. I noticed an excessive amount of them coming to try to eat the chicken feed lately.
I'm sorry that your chicken is injured.

Being able to see inside the body cavity and having a bad odor, infection has already set in. Seeking vet care, if it's an option for you would be best.

It's very hard to see what's going on in the photo, but IF you decide not to cull you will need to give this chicken some extensive specialized care immediately and get some antibiotics started - no waiting until a few days from now, first thing, you need to get working on her - infection may be too great or if there's internal damage you may still lose her after giving good care, so you need to be prepared for that. She may also have difficulty moving around/getting to food/water, etc. if she did by chance survive so long term supportive care on your part would be needed, you may also need to provide separate housing for her if she recovers. Is that your plans or are you going to cull.

Chances of recovery, how much time/money the OP has to invest in care PLUS quality of life all need to be considered.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
Staff member
Premium member
Jul 16, 2015
37,271
56,564
1,312
central Wisconsin
I'm sorry that your chicken is injured.

Being able to see inside the body cavity and having a bad odor, infection has already set in. Seeking vet care, if it's an option for you would be best.

It's very hard to see what's going on in the photo, but IF you decide not to cull you will need to give this chicken some extensive specialized care immediately and get some antibiotics started - no waiting until a few days from now, first thing, you need to get working on her - infection may be too great or if there's internal damage you may still lose her after giving good care, so you need to be prepared for that. She may also have difficulty moving around/getting to food/water, etc. if she did by chance survive so long term supportive care on your part would be needed, you may also need to provide separate housing for her if she recovers. Is that your plans or are you going to cull.

Chances of recovery, how much time/money the OP has to invest in care PLUS quality of life all need to be considered.
Well said. It is a personal decision.
 
Top Bottom