When to admit defeat?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Cleotastic, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. Cleotastic

    Cleotastic Just Hatched

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    Jul 23, 2016
    Suffolk, UK
    Hi. Long post, I'm so sorry.

    I've had my Pied Suffolk POL (Pecksniff,) for over a month, now. Ten days ago I added six birds to the three she was part of, and she changed.

    She simply withdrew and spent more time in the run shelter. I thought she was adjusting to the new birds so kept an eye on her.

    It's been a steady decline. When I picked her up to dust for mites I was shocked at how light she was. She remains still and doesn't scratch or peck at all, anymore, and is unsteady on her feet. She doesn't flap when I pick her up, and when I lay her on one palm, she just lies there, motionless. She will only eat food I hand-feed her, and even then only slowly.

    She seems to doze as much as she can, as far away from the others as possible.

    She doesn't use the coop any more, but remains in the run, not perching, just in a heap on the floor. I pop her in the coop, as it's normally chilly by them.

    There has been a shell-less egg found near her twice in the last week. Not sure if this is relevant. Other that these, she's never laid an egg. But only four of the nine hens lay, so far. All the others are in excellent health.

    All birds are the same age, but all different hybrids. None of the nine were nasty to start, but poor Pecksniff is so weak and slow now that they're picking on her, some pulling her feathers out whenever they're close.

    I've been spoiling her, but have no way of isolating her. (Additional space with divider has been ordered.)

    Run: 12' x 9'
    Roofed
    Shaded

    Coop: 15 bird wood coop.
    258" of roost space.

    Top quality layers pellets
    Mixed corn + fruit & veg or BOSS or mealworms in the pm.

    ACV for one week per month
    Dusted for mites weekly
    No lice or parasites ever seen
    Poo is completely normal, no blood or odd colours
    Wormed three weeks ago.

    I don't keep hens to get eggs, or for low-cost living. I like to know that they live well and are happy, and we love spending time getting to know them.

    These threads about listless hens rarely end with the hen making a recovery. What I'd really like to know is, is it cruel for me to keep Pecksniff's miserable existence going on?

    Thanks so much.
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I'm sorry you are having trouble.

    Is her abdomen swollen or fluid filled?
    Do you think she has an internal laying/reproductive disorder?

    Putting her down is a decision that you would need to make. If you are questioning yourself whether or not it is cruel to keep her going, then you may already have your answer.
     
  3. Cleotastic

    Cleotastic Just Hatched

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    Jul 23, 2016
    Suffolk, UK
    How incredibly kind of you to take the time to read my post and reply.

    She doesn't have a swollen abdomen at all. As for a laying disorder, thinking back over the month we've had her, she's always been quieter and more distant than the others. So I wonder if it's a problem that's suddenly got worse as she's come into lay?

    I think you're right. I read on here about people doing so much for their sick hens and not giving up on them. I didn't want to shortchange her due to my ignorance.

    Thank you. You've made a difficult decision easier to make.

    Cleo
    xxxx
     
  4. chickengr

    chickengr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a lakenvelder hen like that. I let her die naturally but she never looked like suffering a lot. she laid soft shelled eggs from time to time. if she had been suffering a lot I believe I'd put her down. so, watch your girl and make your decision.

    p.s.
    I have an araucana hen who was in pain when started to lay. she got better but she is a poor layer.
     
  5. Cleotastic

    Cleotastic Just Hatched

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    Jul 23, 2016
    Suffolk, UK
    Thank you for your lovely kind post.

    I checked her this morning and she was in a corner, as usual.

    I went riding, and enquired about the kindest way to dispatch a chicken, intending to do so on my return.

    When I got home, I didn't need to. She was gone, and most of her feathers and skin from one side had been pecked away.

    I'm afraid I lost it, completely. I'm still crying now, over a hen I only knew for a month. I feel like I failed her by not ending things sooner. But she was still eating mealworms, albeit very slowly, last night before bed. Maybe letting her fade away naturally WAS the right thing to do? I just wish I'd been here to remove her beautiful little body before the others got to it.

    There was no blood, so I'm desperately hoping the mutilation was after she'd died.

    Sorry to be sentimental. I really need to toughen up, don't I?

    Cleo.
    xxx
     
  6. chickengr

    chickengr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sorry for your loss.

    I think she waited for you to leave and died in peace. if there was no blood she died naturally. a month is a long time to bond.

    you are not the only sentimental one here and I don't think you will change. nothing wrong about that.
     
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi Cleo, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I am terribly sorry for your loss. [​IMG] Whether to put down our animals is one of the most difficult decisions. I don't believe you failed her!

    I do want to make a couple of suggestions.... Maybe make sure you focus on hydration in the future. You can add electrolytes or even make your own very easily. Also, you should ALWAYS quarantine new chickens in a separate location in case they have something that hasn't presented yet. I am not sure if that applies to hatchery chicks as well.

    The other is NO, YOU DON'T NEED TO TOUGHEN UP! Having a tender heart is part of who you are. Feeling something is better than feeling nothing and empty. Plus the act of crying is our bodies way of healing, by releasing endorphins. Besides, there are enough hardened, cold hearted people in this word!

    Hang in there. Try to remember the good times you had. And don't forget to enjoy the rest of your flock, it's cheaper than therapy. [​IMG]

    Best wishes.
    ~Alyssa
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Sorry for you loss[​IMG]
     
  9. Cleotastic

    Cleotastic Just Hatched

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    Jul 23, 2016
    Suffolk, UK
    Thank you for such kind words. It makes a difference to know I'm not weird for feeling this way about a chicken. My chickenless friends and family are a little bemused by it. Thank goodness for BYC.

    I certainly shall look into electrolytes. Pecksniff stood near the drinkers most of the time, and even when not eating, did drink. I change the water several times per day, but who's to say electrolytes didn't play a part? I'm open to anything, after today!

    Cleo.
    xxx
     
  10. Chicktastick

    Chicktastick Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 13, 2015
    So sorry for your loss. Chiming in to say, no you are not strange or weird. You are a lovely compassionate person. I lost a 3 week old chick and cried over that little ball of fluff. I have lost older hens, but that chick really got to me. In hindsight, it seems the act of caring for a weak or injured bird makes us really invested in the outcome. Similarly, the pets that are the biggest nuisances are the ones we miss the most when they are gone. Wishing you much happiness with your chooks.
     
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