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To kill or not to kill? Advise for first timer needed.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by DobieMom, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. DobieMom

    DobieMom In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2009
    Hello All,

    Winston our young roo is not getting better. We believe he fell from the roost jockeying for position and did something to his sternum or breast bone or whatever long thin bone is in the chest. Probably fell on top of a table their nest boxes are on and hurt something. We think this because the bone is sticking out of his chest more than all the other chickens we have and it feels weird. Also, he no longer walks normally (has been this way since the accident a few weeks ago). He walks around like a penguin. Almost like his thigh muscles do not work. Toes are straight, no curling. All in all he looks and acts normal, only walks jacked up. Yes, thought it was Marek's at first so, had the entire flock vaccinated for Marek's just in case. He is spunky, runs around all over the place like a penguin, eats, drinks, and poops normally. Tries to fight w/ the other young rooster. Just will not stand up all the way. He is confined away from the others but, when we go out to feed and hang out, we let him out w/ the others.

    So, this has been going on for about 3-4 weeks now and he is not getting better on the walking thing. We now are at the point where we wonder if we are doing more damage by trying to baby him a ong and hope he gets better. I think he needs to go night-night but, we have NO CLUE how to do it. Thinking the blanket over the bird w/ the neck snap would probably be best for us. (and by "us" I mean my husband cuz I can't do it)

    I do not think sternums fix themselves. Any advise, tips, thoughts, anything???? Thank you all very much!!!!!!!! It is appreciated.

  2. Nif

    Nif Songster

    Dec 16, 2008
    Poor roo! This is just my opinion, and I am sure it isn't the same as everyone's...but if he seems happy and healthy otherwise I don't see a reason to cull. Is he getting picked on by the rest of the flock? By the sound of it, he isn't. I always judge these tough calls on the quality of life of the animal. I really think you can tell if they are cool with life or if they are miserable. There are very stoic animals that don't show their pain...but I still think you can tell if they have quality of life or not.

    I agree with Shelly!
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  3. sred98

    sred98 Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    If you feel that is what you need to do, then that is your choice. I've had to make it for some of mine, so I understand how hard it is. [​IMG] Having said that, I have a female guinea that was in a very bad dog attack. There was no way for me to catch her and treat her, so I let nature take its course. She survived, and she sounds just like your roo.

    It took her a long time (months) before she could fly up to roost) and she still walks funny (legs out straight, side to side gait-like a penguin!) and her back is really hunched over. She is the top guinea. She is first to the food, flies up to the roost, talks to me when I am outside.

    I don't know if she'll be able to lay eggs, or not. I'll know that in the spring, since she is only 7 months old. However, she is perfectly happy, and seemingly healthy. If she does become an internal layer when she is old enough, I'll have to cull her, but I don't want to. She is a survivor, and can take care of herself! She doesn't know she's different, and no one has ever picked on her. It's a little funny when she runs, because she runs stiff-legged and her whole body rocks side to side, but I enjoy her, and the other guineas would be lost without her to boss them around!

    I guess my point is, if you like him and he's otherwise healthy, move him back in with his friends and just let him be. There's nothing that would be passed on to any chicks, and is he's happy, then you should be too!

    Good luck!

  4. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    It sounds like a case that at minimum calls for anti-inflammatory and pain relief, to see what that yields. Metacam is used in chickens for anti-inflammatory often. See if a vet can call some in to the pharmacy and give it a try.
  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    [​IMG] Awww, I'm sorry for your dilemma. I think that you (and by you I mean your DH) should research quick & humane culling methods either way, in case you need to put this roo out of his misery or any other birds in your flock at some future date. It's something essential every chicken keeper should have a plan for. Like a fire escape route, you hope you'll never need it but you'd better have a plan made in advance just in case.

    I think the cervical dislocation, the neck snap, is the quickest & most humane for the bird. Doing it under a blanket may make it more bearable for the person doing it.

    You also will have to decide where on the wide spectrum of chicken-keeping philosophy you stand. Some folks have the time, resources, and inclination to attend to the most severely needy chickens, and as long as there is a shred of life they'll toil to keep them going. Others will cull any bird that's not in optimal condition. Most others fall somewhere in-between.

    Forums like this are great for learning possible treatments & cures for chickens you might have thought were lost causes. But there comes a time when you must decide for yourself if the quality of life the bird is living is worth continuing.

    You could continue to keep him housed separately, maybe with a few hens for company, or along with the the rest of the flock. He might get picked on by the others, they often will prey on the weak members. He may also be a target for passing predators, especially hawks, who look for birds that move slower than the others. Keep him as long as you're willing to care for him & as long as he's not miserable. But if he is, or you can't give him the extra care, employ your Plan B and try not to feel too bad about it.
  6. DobieMom

    DobieMom In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2009
    Thank you all. [​IMG]

    The older hens pick on him so, we don't want to leave him w/ the others. Not fair.

    Both of us work full time so, we are not able to be w/ him all day.

    I think we will give him a bath today (his butt gets poopy) and let
    him be w/ the smaller birds all weekend. He is safe from predators as he will not be out of the coop area.

    Gonna leave it up to the husband over the weekend.

    Thank you again for the advise and help! Totally appreciated.

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