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When is it time to put down a chicken? EDIT: Hen died

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Jeffross1968, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Ugh...I think I'm going to be faced with this issue very soon, perhaps in a day or two. We're relatively new to owning chickens, purchasing our first in May of this year. We've had to cull before...we had two brown leghorns, both were purchased from a comfrey farmer, where the chickens were 100% free ranged, and ate, from what we were told, comfry day in and day out. I'm not sure if this did them damage, but we think it was either that, or something genetic, as they got sick at the same time, both with the same symptoms, and they were in a flock of other birds that never got sick. They went a "long" time before we finally put them out of their misery. They were not eating. Their faces were so puffed up they couldn't see directly in front of them, so foraging was out of the question, and they were losing weight rather quickly at that point. It was an easy decision to make.

    Now, however, we have what may be 2 more decisions to make. I've asked questions about their health here on the forums, but you can only get so much online. We are now faced with the possibility of putting down both a new laying hen, and our only mature roo, and frankly, we're pretty sick over it. So I guess we're wondering...how far do you let things go before you cull? How long do you give a chicken to work it's way through being sick, compared to ensuring a chicken does not have to endure more discomfort that it should?

    The chickens in question:

    1) Our rooster. A red sex link mix. Under a year old. Developed either a cyst or tumor on it's back (pictures posted on another thread if you are interested). Was first noticed maybe a month or 6 weeks ago? Maybe a little longer. Got increasingly large. About a week ago, developed a sort of limp...one where he would stretch out his right foot before putting it down. Limp got worse, to where he was basically hopping around. As of the last 2 days, he is no longer mating our hens, and spends most of the day sitting in the run. He continues to eat and drink, but that is the limit of his activity. Tail is nearly always down when standing. We will be inspecting the foot tomorrow for bumble foot, but there are no outward signs of it (inflammation) on the top of foot or leg. Our guess is that the tumor has grown to a point where it is effecting his ability to walk, possibly causing pain in the leg.

    2) Golden Comet hen. Under a year old. Less than a week ago, laying and seemingly healthy. All of a sudden she has become massively lethargic, largely overnight. Last night, so weak she had trouble jumping onto the ramp to get into the coop (eventually made it), and it took a few tries to get on the roost. Took her inside one day, put her in a small cage and tried to get her to eat. She did, but very, very little. Now spends her day, after walking out of the run, retreating to a bush and sitting under it. Basically all day. If she gets up to eat or drink, I haven't seen it. Shows zero outward signs of problems, as in CRD. Poop is bright green, what little I've noticed. No visible worms.

    Very frustrated. They are not only part of a "flock" but, darn it, we've come to consider them pets. Not like our dog, but of course we care about their condition. So...while ready to do the deed when necessary, I guess I'm just looking for advice on when it's appropriate.

    EDIT: As for the hen, there was another symptom...her neck feathers are strangely puffed out. We inspected her neck, but there is no actual puffiness in the skin or neck, it's just as if her neck feathers are puffed up and out of place. Very bizarre.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  2. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    So I guess the question is moot now that the hen died. Is there anything I can do myself to figure out why she died? How would one go about checking for worms or eggbound?

    Man, this really happened fast...
     
  3. andrea98

    andrea98 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    in my barnyard....ohio
    Sorry for your loss .. I would either send her out to be examined or find some chicken anatomy pics & start exploring on your own....
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  4. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    I am curious about your roo. Did you ever look at the lump on him? I read the posting about it earlier, but it really had no resolution. Did you ever establish what it was?

    Sorry about your hen. You could do a home necropsy if you are inclined, but they frequently raise more questions than they answer.
     
  5. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Quote:We inspected the lump. It was grayish, and had some give...meaning it wasn't really hard. I really wasn't able to find any information that would help me resolve the issue of figuring out what it was.

    As for the necropsy, I really think that I'm not suited to start cutting into it. Unless it was something super obvious, I'd never know what I was looking for. There is vet that could do a necropsy, but it's a bit over an hour away, and this close to Christmas means lack of funds. If it was 2 weeks from now...
     
  6. Floc Quebecois

    Floc Quebecois Chillin' With My Peeps

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  7. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Quote:I'll bet it's an abscess. Lumps on chickens usually are.
     
  8. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Quote:I'll bet it's an abscess. Lumps on chickens usually are.

    Would an abscess lead to his walking problems? And what do you do to treat it, if anything?
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  9. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    If it is large enough to be pressing on nerves or if the infection has started to infiltrate his body then it is entirely possible. Abscesses are easy to treat if you don't mind cutting into your bird and digging out some nasty cottage cheese-like pus and often a core. It's often disgusting, sometimes stinky, but usually not a big deal...just yucky. Birds tolerate pain very well, so a small slice into the center of that lump should tell you if it is an abscess or not.

    I had a bird get an ingrown feather in the same location. I caught it early because the bird was bald from her feather picking cronies. Mine looked like she had a blue wart growing out of her back. If she had any feathers I would not have seen it and I am sure it would have turned into an abscess. As it was, I cut into the wart and pulled an entire fully formed feather from under her skin and some cheesy goo. She is my 2nd flightiest bird and is a screamer on the best days, so I figured she would flip about being cut into, but she never made a peep, barely bled a drop of blood, and tolerated the operation very well. She screeched her head off when I was done, but...I think she was more outraged than anything else.
     
  10. Ksane

    Ksane Overrun With Chickens

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    You can take the boy to a vet. I know you say he doesn't mean as much to you as your dog (mine do) but it's still our responsibility as caretakers to see to their health. Everyone always says they can't find a vet who'll see chickens.....not quite sure I believe that. People here say it also and I know for a fact it's not true.
     

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