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Update: Pet hen needs to be put down humanely. I need to know how.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chiknlittle, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    Okay, about a month ago I had 7 white rock hens who picked on my dark cornish hen Moe. Moe wasn't the first chicken to be vent pecked, but she was the first one that was still alive when I found her. I built a temporary stall for her in the basement complete with straw, food, water, treats and a nesting box. Her wound looked really bad, but with regular cleaning it has healed. She was on Terramycin for 2 weeks followed by electrolytes for 1 week. She has regained some strength, and I would like some advice on what to do with her now. My concerns are:

    Weight: She has lost so much weight that you can't feel her breast meat anymore. I'm afraid that her weight loss is a result of her wound and may be an infection or something that I don't know how to treat.

    Feathers: Since she has been in the basement she really doesn't have the thicker winter feathering to keep herself warm.

    Food: She doesn't seem to eat much. In the month that she has been in the basement she has yet to empty her 7 lb hanging feeder once. She does eat some of the scratch grains and other treats I put in for her. Yes she does get limestone grit, and after the anitbiotics were finished I gave her oyster shell too.

    Time: I'm hosting a potluck on Monday night, and my husband wants her out of the house by then. [​IMG]

    If she may be sick with something else then I know I shouldn't introduce her to my remaining 2 red star hens. The white rocks who did this also tried to attack me and I sold them shortly after so they're no longer a threat. I'm considering culling, because I don't think she's getting much better, it's not right to keep her like this and I don't know anyone else who would take her in. At this point she's more like a pet than a egg / meat source, and so I'm also wondering how to humanely euthanise her (i.e. no guns, axes, broom handles or slit throat tricks).

    Any suggestions on what to do (besides not getting attached in the future)? [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  2. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    If she has been in your basement for a month and her wounds have healed I doubt she has any infection or is sick. I'm guessing she's not eating much because she's lonely. They are flock animals and she is alone in a basement. She's eating and drinking enough to stay alive and that's about all. She needs to be with the rest of the flock.

    It sounds like you have some cannibalism going on and that's usually a result of them being too crowded, too bored, and/or not enough protein in their diet. Try fixing those issues and see if you can put her back with flock. You could also put her back in coop but in a small cage or kennel till they get used to seeing her again but at least she could see them and will probably start to eat and drink more. Feed her some scrambled egg - actually you could feed it to all of them. Add some BOSS to their diet (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds) whole, in the shell, scattered on the ground so they have to hunt and scratch for them.

    How many birds do you have and in what size area? How many died due to the vent pecking?
     
  3. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    I agree with Monique, chickens are social animals SHE IS LONELY. [​IMG] Put her in that separate cage/pen where everyone can see/hear each other for a week or two and then release her at night.
     
  4. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    [​IMG]

    Right now I have 4 chickens left. Originally I had 13 chickens. There were the 7 white rocks, 3 red stars, Butters the jumbo cornish X rock female, Moe the dark cornish hen, and Shaq the Golden Polish Rooster.

    And we have 2 hen houses, both of which are made out of furniture pallets. The "large" hen house is about 6X8 feet and the smaller one is more like 4X4 feet though the picture makes it look bigger than it really is.

    Butters was left over from a meat bird order of all male Jumbo cornish x rocks. She was a good chicken and would gather all of the chicks under her wings at night. Not only did they peck her vent, but they slung parts of her everywhere.

    One of the red stars was next. They pecked at the base of her spine the day I went to pick up my parents from the airport. She was dead by the time I got back to check on them.

    Then Shaq got pecked. They removed all of his tail feathers and gave him "male pattern baldness." He started free ranging after that.

    Then Moe got vent pecked and I put her in the basement.

    Besides the vent pecking the white rocks were also eating their own eggs. I did everything I could think of to make them happier. They had free access to layer pellets and clean water. They had chicken grit, oyster shell, kitchen scraps, scratch grains, and I even bought 1,000 cricuits and set them up in an terrarium as extra treats. Maybe the hen house was small for that many, but they were only in at night. I'd go let them out every morning after my husband left for work (7am), and I'd close them up after dinner when it was dark. After I moved Moe inside, I left the 7 white rocks in the large hen house, the 2 red stars went into the little coop, and Shaq stayed free ranging. I added a heat lamp for the white rocks and a light on a timer to simulate 14 hours of daylight, but nothing helped. Eventually I just sold them off and put Shaq in the large coop. Now I've got new chicks on order and set to arrive Feb 23. The space that Moe is occupying in the basement is also the brooder area, so she has to go out. But she can't go to the large coop since I need time to remodel it for the new chicks. That means putting her in with the red stars and that's not big enough to put her and a crate in.

    I'll try the sunflower seeds and putting a heat lamp in the little coop to see if that helps. I hated the idea of putting her down since she really is a nice little chicken. She talks to me and follows me around, and I can tuck her under my arm like a little football. I hope this works. Any other ideas?
     
  5. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    I'm assuming there's a run around the two coops - can't really tell from pic. So could you put her in the small coop and fence it off for a week or two? Is there a reason she can't be put in with the two red stars?

    I'm not sure why you have everyone separated. I have over 100 chickens and they all freerange all day and share the same coop at night. They also all hang out in or around the coop and yard area together all day. They are put out of brooder at one week old. So I have everything from week olds to two years old, laying hens and 20 roosters, and babies and peacocks all living together without a fuss or fight. But and it's a big but, they get to free range. Everyone returns to coop and is locked up for the night.

    It looks like you have a beautiful wooded area around the coop and run area. Is it possible to start letting them out to free range during the day when you're home? Or, could you make a bigger run area so that they have lots more space?
     
  6. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    Congrats on the diversity! I hope to be like that someday since perpetually buying more chickens (for meat and eggs) is getting expensive. To answer your question...Since there were more of the white rocks, I had them in the big coop, and because I didn't want anybody else to be eaten, I put the 2 red stars in the little coop, moe in the basement to heal, and Shaq out on his own because he was getting picked on by everyone. I sold the white rocks so the big coop is empty and while I have a chance I'm going to install better roosts, some wall cabinets for storage, vinyl flooring and some paneling. I also want to paint the inside so that it's easier to clean than bare wood walls and plywood floor. We just started with chickens last year and put these coops together quickly. We learned in the past year what works and what doesn't, and I'm using this chance to fix things in the big coop so that it works better for the next set of chickens. I'm going to try to put Moe in with the red stars who really like the little coop since we added 2 nests to the right side. Their only enclosure is a 4 foot tall strand of plastic netting that stretches around many of the trees. I wonder if I should take down all of the netting entirely. For the big coop all vegetation has been eaten so I guess after the treats are gone they can get really bored. Maybe boredom is the cause of my problems. Or maybe I could make a little door between yards. I'm not so much worried about wildlife in the area. It's all wooded acerage here, but all we get are squirrels, skunks and deer. I'm more concerned about our neighbor's dog who is allowed to run loose. The neighbor claims the dog is not his, but he's provided food, water, shelter and vet care for over two years since the previous land owners moved and left the dog there. I've called animal control, but they don't care because we're out in the county. But that's another matter. My concern is how to reintroduce Moe to the red stars with as little stress as possible. I don't think she's sick, but she sure is skinny, and she is smaller than the red stars.
     
  7. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Put her in with them at night while they are roosting. Just add her to the roost. Keep an eye on them the next morning but she should be fine. It sounds like she would have room to get away from them if they picked on her.
     
  8. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    Well, this is ending badly. I put her in the coop on Saturday night with the other 2 red stars. Everything went well until last night when I noticed a few feathers missing. This morning I went to let them out, and they had pecked at the base of her spine until you could see bone. I'm don't think she's going to make it this time. Does anybody know how to euthanize a pet chicken humanely? I'm talking quick and painless, so that leaves out axes, cuttings, guns, etc.
     
  9. Indiana hens

    Indiana hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pendleton, Indiana
    After the anti-biotics were done did you give any pro-biotics? Poultry nutri-drench?
    Ok, I did not read your last post, chickens are very versatile. Try some injectible combi-penicillin combined with keeping the wound clean. Unless you are just tired of having the hen around; in that case the way you kill it doesn't matter.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  10. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    I'm not sure what Nutri-drench is, but after 2 weeks of antibiotics she went on Durvet's vitamins and electrolytes. I kept her on that for an extra week. She was completely healed up and was starting to grow more feathers around her vent and stomach area. Truthfully, the two things that bothered me most about putting her outside was that the 2 red stars might pull out her new feathers, and she was really under weight. She can't weight more than a few pounds, and if you pick her up the first thing you'd notice is that she doesn't have much meat left on her. Now she's got the place at the base of her spine that they've pecked really badly. If it was just one of those things I'd think about trying to sew her up and get her healthy again. But I really think this time that I just need to ease her suffering.
     

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