Something awful happened this morning (warning: graphic description)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by iamcuriositycat, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    I feel so awful. I always always always always lock my birds up in a predator-proof pen at night. If we're going to go out, then I put them up early so that they are put away before dark.

    Last night, my group of young ducks (about six to eight weeks) were being a real pain about going to bed, and I went inside in a temper with the plan to go back out after a bit when I wasn't so irritated any more. But I forgot.

    Amazingly, there were no predator visits. Something almost worse happened instead.

    One of the ducklings, apparently spooked by something, ran over rough ground and got a leg stuck between two small stumps. And whatever spooked it REALLY spooked it. It was moving so fast, it literally snapped its leg in half--bone sticking out, leg held together only by some skin and ligaments. It was awful. When I went outside this morning, it was still stuck, blood on the ground (not completely dry, so it must have happened toward morning), grisly bone sticking out, just horrible.

    I freed the duck and carried it around to where my husband was in the driveway. I know this isn't the decision some people would have made, but after heart-wrenching discussion, we decided to put the duck down. My husband was kind enough to do the deed, and I went inside and cried. The worst thing about it, other than the fact that it was my fault, was that the duckling was otherwise acting completely normal--it just wanted to join its friends and catch bugs and go for a swim. And we put an end to that.

    I don't know whether it was the right decision, but we did it quickly and cleanly, and I believe that duck is now in a happier place. But I still feel sad and bad about it, and of course I'm second guessing myself about the decision. I still *think* it was the right decision but I don't know--maybe the duck could have recovered and lived a happy life... the break was pretty awful though, and recovery would have been a long-drawn-out thing, if it could have happened at all. There was no muscle or anything useful connecting the leg to the foot--I doubt the foot could ever have been used again.

    I don't really want post-mortem advice--if you think I made the wrong decision, hearing about it would just depress me. [​IMG] But I am curious (for future reference, to torment myself, whatever...) whether it's possible for a duck to recover from an injury that severe, and what exactly would be involved. Also, how is it possible for a bird to cause that kind of injury to itself? It seems incredible that it could snap its own leg completely in half just getting caught by a stump, and yet--that appears to be exactly what happened--if a predator or something had been involved, then at least part of the duckling would have been missing, and it wasn't.

    I'm also open to comforting words!

    Thank you.
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I think you did the right thing. I don't know if it would have ever healed correctly. All I can think it would have been a painful healing process for a long while. With animals we can spare them from suffering and as hard as it sounds, it is sometimes in the best interest to do the dirty deed. It may hurt us more, because of all the emotions involved. The duck is in a better place and that is how we need to think about it and move on. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure the remaining ducks will make you get over it soon. Make a nice little grave for the duckling and plant some nice plants onto its grave. It will not be forgotten, and you will remember all the nice moments it had in its little life.
  3. chocolate m'scovy

    chocolate m'scovy Songster

    Jan 14, 2010
    I too would have dispatched it- poor thing. Hey, you ended its suffering. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. [​IMG]
  4. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    You did the right thing..
    Unless you're a vet and have pain meds and know how to set a bone PROPERLY..(which ISNT as easy as some folks on here make it seem..).. so its not in pain the rest of its life..
    You have to know what your doing when you set a bone.... most folks dont. (including me..)
    Yes... you DID do the right thing.
    I'm sorry about it all... [​IMG] [​IMG]
  5. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    I can completely relate to your situation!! [​IMG] We had a dog get into our run....a run that we thought we had pretty darm predator proof. The dog couldn't dig under it...and it didn't. We buried the chain link 6" deep and tie-wired hardware cloth to the chain link. Instead the dog bent the chain link upward. [​IMG] The dog killed 13 of our birds. One was alive and running in a wavy, almost circle like pattern and DH and decided it indicated the bird had serious injuries, but she was alert and mentally fine. We made the decision to put her down. I question our decision, but DH is adamant that we made the right decision. That makes me feel better, given that he loves the hen as much as I do.

    A compound fracture in a bird is hard to heal...they put weight on their legs and no crutches for birds are available. As hard as it would be, I would have probably made the same decision.
  6. vetgirl00us

    vetgirl00us Songster

    Apr 28, 2010
    Rome, GA
    Birds with broken legs always meet a bad end. What I mean is, they do not heal, you cannot cast them, they usually end up injuring the other leg while you have the hurt one splinted. It's tough but you did the right thing.
  7. Turkeyrangler

    Turkeyrangler Songster

    May 9, 2010
    By Lake Superior
    Having gone though something similar I can say you did the right thing. So sorry for you r loss.
  8. MysticalMom

    MysticalMom Songster

    Jul 1, 2009
    How very very sad. Accidents happen Sweetie. Please don't torture yourself over it. And you did the right thing for the duck. *big big big hugs*
  9. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    Jan 11, 2010
    Im so sorry you had to face that. [​IMG] I couldnt have been an easy decision. I have been caring for Regie for 9 - 10 months now and owning a disabled duck can be alot of work. I continually question myself as to if I did the right thing- and is she happy- or should I have her put to sleep. I would love to be able to give up my job and just stay home and care for my ducks. I always worry about them when I am not home. I think we have all had an unfortunate accident with our babies- some resulting in a fatality and others that would need a few vet visits. We all do the best we can - An accident is just that...No need to try and lay blame.
  10. Blooming chicks

    Blooming chicks Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Bucks County
    You absolutely did the right thing! I really think it is cruel to put an animal through the healing process from an injury they wouldn't have survive from naturally. I am so sorry for your loss!

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