Struggling with decision for lame chicken


Sep 11, 2019
Hi all, I really need some advice. I have a lame chicken who started with a limp about a year ago and now can hardly walk on her own. She's seen a veterinarian and a cause of the lameness wasn't able to be determined. None of the typical or treatable things we expected. She doesn't seem to be in pain and the vet suggested to just let it ride and see what happens as long as the other hens were not bothering her. They aren't. It's to point where she can't get up on a roost and sleeps on the floor of the coop. We physically remove her from the coop during free range hours and she sun bathes and eats scratch but sits on the same spot the whole time while the others forage.She still eats and drinks but she can't dust bathe and we have to clean her bottom and trim her beak for her. At what point do I euthanize? Her quality of life is diminished for sure but not non existent. I'm so heart broken and I don't know what to do. What are your thoughts? Thank you.
Only you can say when she's had enough, and you have had enough. Where are you located? Do you get cold in winter?

I probably would put her down when she no longer can care for herself properly. Feces caked on her bottom can lead to sores and fly strike. If you get cold, than she could get frostbite come winter.

Welcome to BYC. Wish it was under better conditions. :hmm
That's part of what prompted this discussion with my husband and ultimately led me here. We are heading into a cold Indiana winter and I feel her happy time is outside and I worry she will be in the coop all winter just sitting there. I just wish I could tell how happy or unhappy she really is. It's so hard.
A bird on the floor will get chilled, and could possibly get frostbitten feet. I got a couple of old roosters that probably shouldn't go through another one of our brutal winters. I'm in the same boat. I will wait until the last possible moment, than they will be culled so they don't have to suffer through it.

It can depend on how you view your birds. Some wish to keep them alive no matter the cost. I like them to have a quality life, and a quick passing. We all need to make these decisions at some point when we keep chickens.

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