Jul 29, 2013

5 Ways to Prepare for Chicken Illness, Injury & End of Life Decisions

Most of us spend a great deal of time preparing for the arrival of our first chickens, but few of us give much thought to how we would handle serious injuries, illnesses and end-of-life decisions until they are upon us. My recent experience with a dying chicken made me realize that I could have been better prepared to handle certain aspects of her fatal illness, which make an already difficult time, more stressful. My hope is that by sharing my experience that you will be prepared to face the toughest part of chicken-keeping when the time comes.
Most of us spend a great deal of time preparing for the arrival of our first chickens, but few of us give much thought to how we would handle serious injuries, illnesses and end-of-life decisions until they are upon us. My recent experience with a sick and dying chicken made me realize that I could have been better prepared to handle certain aspects of her fatal illness, which make an already difficult time more stressful. My hope is that by sharing my experience that you will be prepared to face the toughest part of chicken-keeping when the time comes.
My recent experience with a dying chicken made me realize that I could have been better prepared to handle certain aspects of her fatal illness, which make an already difficult time, more stressful.
Esther was one of my oldest chickens and she came to me as a day old chick with scissor beak. She managed very well in spite of her disability. She became much less active than normal and within a few days, I noticed abnormal poop on the droppings board underneath her spot on the roost. I brought her into the house for closer observation and noticed that she was not eating or drinking, so I began dropper-feeding her water with vitamins & electrolytes. Her condition did not improve and I decided she needed to be seen by a veterinarian.
Her preliminary findings were that Esther had a tumor that was causing fluid to build up in her abdomen, a condition she said was common for older birds like Esther (at the ripe ol' age of four, she is considered "older").
When I began my search for an avian veterinarian, it was Friday leading into Memorial Day weekend and I found myself scrambling to find a trained, experienced, avian veterinarian to see her. While I ultimately found an avian vet in town, it was difficult to get Esther seen as we were not established patients. Once I got past the receptionist, the avian vet was happy to see Esther. Her preliminary findings were that Esther had a tumor that was causing fluid to build up in her abdomen, a condition she said was common for older birds like Esther (at the ripe ol' age of four, she is considered "older"). The vet and I agreed that putting Esther to sleep immediately was the kindest choice possible for her as she was most certainly in a great deal of pain. I made arrangements for Esther's remains to be transported to the state poultry pathology lab where a postmortem examination (necropsy) was performed, which confirmed the vet's diagnosis.
Esther at 8 months old
Esther at 8 months old
5 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR CHICKEN ILLNESS, INJURY & END OF LIFE DECISIONS
1. Have a well-stocked first aid kit & infirmary set up
Many injured and sick birds can be cared for by the average backyard chicken-keeper at least until professional veterinary care can be obtained. Having some first aid essentials such as vitamins & electrolytes, a dropper or syringe, Vetrap and Vetericyn Wound Care spray, on-hand is critical to being able to deliver emergency medical aid and may mean the difference between life and death.
Have a well-stocked first aid kit & infirmary set up
Having a dedicated crate or special location to keep a sick or injured bird is important so that they can be closely observed during their crisis.
Dog carriers serve as excellent, temporary infirmaries for sick or injured birds.
Dog carriers serve as excellent, temporary infirmaries for sick or injured birds 

2. Identify local resources before you need them.
a)  Find an avian veterinarian nearby before there is an emergency and keep their phone number in your chicken first aid kit.  There is a list of board certified avian vets HERE. Not all avian vets will treat chickens and not all are trained in or have experience with chicken care. Even if an avian vet in your area does not treat chickens, they can often be a good resource for a referral to a poultry vet. This vet will likely not be the same one who already treats your other animals. A visit to the office to introduce yourself to the staff can be the difference between being seen during a crisis and being told the vet has no time to examine your bird. Have a backup plan. Find out who covers for that vet when they are unavailable and keep their number handy too.
b) Find your state veterinary diagnostic laboratory HERE.
c) Find your state veterinarian HERE.
d) Call the USDA's Veterinary Services at 1-866-536-7593 (free consultation with a vet by phone)
e) Find your state Agricultural Extension Service's poultry agent HERE
Have a euthanasia plan.
3. Have a euthanasia plan
There will inevitably come a time in every flock when a sick or injured bird will need to be euthanized. Some people are capable of euthanizing their own bird by a variety of humane methods. Learn which methods are available and whether you are capable of following through with one when the need arises.

Some people are more comfortable having a professional euthanize their chickens than doing it themselves. Most vets, even if they do not ordinarily treat chickens, will euthanize a sick or injured bird. Inquire of your dog/cat/goat/horse 's vet whether this is a service they would be willing to render, but do so in advance of needing these services if possible.
Most vets, even if they do not ordinarily treat chickens, will euthanize a sick or injured bird.
4. Locate your state veterinary diagnostic laboratory* & get a necropsy done
Each state has a veterinary lab that will run tests and perform postmortem examinations on animals to determine the cause of death. Know where your lab is, how to contact them and which services they offer. If a bird dies unexpectedly, it is extremely important to get a necropsy done to determine the cause of death. Some illnesses and diseases are contagious and the rest of the flock may be at risk. A determination of the cause of death can provide some peace of mind and the information necessary to administer any treatment to survivors.

If you will be transporting a deceased bird to the lab yourself, it is critical to get her there as soon as possible after the time of death and that the body is stored properly until then. It should be placed inside two plastic bags, sealed and kept under refrigeration (not frozen) until it can be delivered to the lab. Some labs will send a courier to pick up the remains and any necessary paperwork.
 Locate your state veterinary diagnostic laboratory & get a necropsy done.
In Esther's case, my avian vet was unaware that our state diagnostic lab would transport Esther to their facility, euthanize her and perform the necropsy- all free of charge. I was aware that they offered these services, so I was able to share that information with my vet and make the necropsy arrangements for Esther myself. Since Esther was in pain, I didn't want her to wait until the next morning to be put to sleep- I asked the vet to draw blood for the lab, (at their request) euthanize her and store her remains until the courier picked her up the next morning.
My avian vet was unaware that our state diagnostic lab would transport Esther to their facility, euthanize her and perform the necropsy- all free of charge.
5. Request a copy of the Necropsy Report
While the lab will send a report to a veterinarian automatically, I think it's important to request a copy to learn what was found and keep it on file as part of your flock's health history. I have some medical training and experience, so I understood most of the following report, but if you do not, discuss the necropsy report with your vet and let them know if you do not understand the terminology they are using.
Request a copy of the Necropsy Report
The necropsy report revealed that Esther had ovarian cancer- the tumor was enormous and the cancer had spread throughout her other organs. Poor girl. I was thankful to have had access to the services of a vet who put her to sleep peacefully. RIP Esther.
RIP Esther.
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115 comments :

  1. Thank you for your practical advice and tips. I can empathise as I am sure all your readers can. So sorry for your loss, and glad that she could pass away calmly.

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  2. TheChickenChick7/29/13, 5:47 PM

    Thank you, Nessa. ♥

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  3. Such a pretty hen. So sorry. We had a hard winter here in NH and we lost 5 young ones. So heartbreaking.

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  4. Flock Mistress7/29/13, 10:02 PM

    Bravo. Such important topics. We don't want to think about them but it's really important to have a plan in place.

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  5. teresaredmondott7/30/13, 4:10 AM

    I have had numerous hens pass away due to ovarian cancer over the past seven years. Here, in Northern Colorado, CSU Vet Teaching Hospital is a valuable resource having an avian vet who treats chickens very knowledgeably. I have had so many necropsy reports to confirm "my Darlings" had ovarian cancer. I was stunned to realize that MY little darlings, who had been living in the lap of luxury, in virtually santitary conditions, could die an early death! I've been devastated of their passing, since they are family members/pets on our farm. My heartfelt condolences to you with your beautiful Esther. I had a hen named Willow that looked just like her and died from the same causes. I truly empathize with you and I am glad to have found your blog. Now, because of yours, I don't have to create one like so many folks in my area have encouraged me to do! Thanks for posting about this.

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  6. nature gurl7/30/13, 5:42 AM

    Sorry for your loss. She will be watching over you from her roost above!

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  7. Sarah Brainard7/30/13, 10:11 AM

    Thank you for this. A sad, but important of owning any animal. I have book marked it all!

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  8. Thanks so much for addressing this issue. This is a big "soapbox" issue for me. As we live on a small 20 acre ranch with a wide variety of animals including ducks, chickens, dogs, horses, cats, etc, I feel it's an honor to have these animals as our working companions. Too often people don't consider end of life issues with these creatures and like you I believe it should be a part of planning before ownership. They give us so much we should be kind enough to address their pain and suffering in a humane way. So sorry for your loss. Thank you for making a difficult decision in doing what's right for your girl!

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  9. Aww. That's so sad. Only four years?? Was she still laying? I'm so sorry that happend. What a difficult thing to do.:(

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  10. Tara Sayers Dillard7/30/13, 3:15 PM

    Having chics changed the ballgame of my garden. They are teaching me stewardship. Had no idea it was a missing element in my life. Garden & Be Well, XO TARa

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  11. Great info here. Thank you for sharing the necropsy report. It was interesting to read. Very good tips for those times that no one wants to think about, but must.

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  12. Janelle Hitz7/31/13, 12:24 AM

    Really informative post for chicken owners, thanks so much :)

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  13. Joseph Fehlen7/31/13, 9:41 AM

    Thanks for this Kathy. Great information for preparing for the inevitable.

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  14. TheChickenChick8/2/13, 3:47 PM

    Thanks, Joseph.

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  15. I love how informative your blog is I learn something new everytime!

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  16. I love your blog and posts so much I am always showing my husband pictures. He is constantly interrupted with his readings lol

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  17. Deby Trueblood8/5/13, 8:16 PM

    Thanks for all of the great information! As a new chicken mama, this is NOT something I want to think about, but you're right - have to be prepared. Thank you!

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  18. Vickie Redmond8/7/13, 3:31 PM

    I just really enjoy looking at what you have to share with us. Each and every time I learn something new to help me keep my growing chicken family happy and healthy.

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  19. I am trying to enter the contest for the Brinsea incubator. we lost our treasured rooster to a predator last week. I feel we can learn a lot from your site. Thanks for all the good info. Wolfie :)

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  20. I could certainly use the chicken health for dummies book as I am new to owning chickens. Your site helped me with bumble foot.

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  21. TheChickenChick8/7/13, 9:23 PM

    I'm very sorry for your loss. :(

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  22. TheChickenChick8/7/13, 9:32 PM

    Thank you, Vickie!

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  23. Kelsey Stottlemyre8/8/13, 10:52 AM

    I've read on your blog before that you recommend a chicken saddle to have in a chicken emergency kit. I was wondering where you order yours from? I've seen a couple websites that offer them, but I wanted someone's recommendation on a place to order.Thanks!

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  24. Kimberly Swenson10/15/13, 8:36 AM

    Thank you for the link to find an avian vet Kathy. I am in the research planning phase of my future flock. This link allowed me to find the nearest avian vet to me!!

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  25. TheChickenChick10/15/13, 8:52 AM

    That's great to know, Kimberly. Thanks for sharing!

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  26. Michele' preston12/18/13, 3:16 PM

    rm

    I had to put one of my 15 month old hens down today, I learned years ago that chloroform was a wonderful gentle way to put the chickens down. I put it on a cloth that will be thrown away & slowly bring it to the face near the beak so it doesn't shock or hurt/burn them, by the time it gets to the beak they are asleep & I leave it there over the nose area so they are breathing it in until the heart stops then I leave it there just so they are really dead. I have have some that in the death movements actually woke up so found it was better to leave the clothe there until I am sure they are gone. None of my chickens are ever eaten so I do the chloroform since they will not be food. she had a blocked gizzard that I have been trying to help unblock but she just lost too much weight by the time it became unblocked & was dying. I also do the altopsies on my chickens using the Marcks medical book to help me if I am unsure what happened. Its something I never get used to & I cry every time I lose one of my special kids but I am glad I am able to be with them at the end so they know they are not alone. we do not have a avian vet near by but even if we did we can't afford to take them in so I do the best I can with what I have & just hope the chickens know that.

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  27. TheChickenChick12/18/13, 4:27 PM

    I'm sorry for the loss of your hen, Michele. :(

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  28. TheChickenChick12/18/13, 10:31 PM

    I am not, but I would encourage you to speak with your vet if you have any questions about it. You're fortunate to have an avian specialist to rely upon.

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  29. It is interesting that New Hampshire does not have a lab listed there.

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  30. Becky Branham Dimon1/24/14, 12:31 AM

    Thank you for this information. I heard a horror story about an insensitive vet a few years ago, and I have always been able to euthanize my own, gently, when necessary. With my most recent brood in the past 5 years, I have had two bantam hens die suddenly - no symptoms until minutes before they died. I wondered if they had eaten a bug that had been poisoned (maybe by our pest control service) and somehow made it into their pen. Since I did not know that I could send them for post mortem exams, I can only guess. My three remaining bantam hens are healthy and happy - and in the basement again this week!!

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  31. Thanks......

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  32. TheChickenChick1/31/14, 8:50 AM

    MA has two labs, in Boston, 617-626-1796 and in North Grafton 888-433-9987
    Rhode Island's lab is: in Kingston at 401-874-2477

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  33. Awesome. I'll print this out and save in case we need it.

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  34. Thank you for sharing this, I am just getting set up to start this adventure and am so excited reading and reading and buying and setting up I hate to think about bad stuff but it is necessary to have a plan. Sorry for your loss

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  35. TheChickenChick2/13/14, 9:18 AM

    Thank you Lora. ♥

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  36. Anthony Moseley5/4/14, 9:05 AM

    Well written article! Thanks a million, I'll add this info to my farm health plan! I have a great vet, but still would like to "know what to do" for the "other stuff"!

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  37. Pedinursemimi5/4/14, 9:08 AM

    Very helpful and informative. I am a Pediatric nurse, and have plenty of training dealing with children's injuries, but poultry illness, distress, and death are all new to me, and your experience sure helped me. I am putting together a first aid kit TODAY. I have two rescued Isa Brown girls, and one of them dislocated her hip, and now is permanently disabled.... Yesterday we redesigned the coop, making it "Poultry ADA" friendly.... so Ruby can live a happy productive life...for as long as she can.... Thank you so much for all of your helpful information.....

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  38. Thank you for this information. I'm disappointed I cannot locate a New Mexico state NAHLN. I'll be making calls to find an avian vet asap this week!

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  39. I just had two 3 month old Maran sisters die. I immediately put remains in the fridge and called a bird vet my friend uses. While an hour away they treat only birds. Looks like something pretty bad killed them although no one else is sick a week later. I only know of all these things because people link your website when questions are asked. So thank you!

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  40. Ferne McAllister5/4/14, 10:19 AM

    Michele, so sad to have to do this. I hate to think I'll someday be put in the same position, but realistically, know that it will happen someday. Is chloroform available without an rx?

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  41. Ferne McAllister5/4/14, 10:20 AM

    I've learned more from your site than all of the chicken reference books put together. Thank you!

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  42. Danny Sites5/4/14, 11:06 AM

    Very good information. Thanks

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  43. Ethan Donnelly5/4/14, 11:31 AM

    Thanks for sharing this. Im a 15 year old chicken raiser in Maine. This winter was tough for our first flock of 6. We had a Black Australorp, who was the first to lay an egg. We found her dead in the coop. It was tough, we had no clue what had happened. I went out to check to see if I could see any cause of death. The only thing I noticed was that her comb was bleeding a little, maybe it got infected. My main worry was that she was sick and it might have spread to the others.


    It has been about 4 months and we haven't had a sign of the other chickens being sick. I am still curious if the bloody comb had caused the death. Or maybe it had something to do with the time being winter.


    I have a question. After reading this comment, do you think she died because of the bloody (maybe infected) comb? Or something else?


    Thanks.

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  44. Teresa Scamardo5/4/14, 11:35 AM

    CATHY, I know you had to make a hard decision this week. I so respect you for for sharing the experience.. As a longterm dog trainer learned many years ago that any pet never has as long a life as we do. And life can end at anytime. Your a lady of integrity.

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  45. It seems highly unlikely that she would have died suddenly from an infection that began at the comb. There would have been signs that you would have noticed. Without a necropsy, it is impossible to know the cause of death though.

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  46. I'm sorry for your loss, Jenn. :(

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  47. Thank you. I quarantine, I practice above average bio security, great feed, vitamins, clean coop, clean water. But you just never know. Has the symptoms of Blackhead disease with internal lesions but that disease is rare. There's at least 10 diseases I found it could be. Vet says don't speculate, wait for final results but it's hard as I have seven 2 week Olds and 5 eggs under a broody due to hatch on Thursday. Just want to protect my flock.

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  48. Cynthia Knight Beane5/4/14, 9:41 PM

    I bought 6 pullets on Feb 28th 2012. They were all doing well. I lost one, have no idea, 6 went out, 5 came home.Think it was an eagle. Then, I had one get sick. I culled her in the house in a tub,and did all the I could find on the Internet. Olive oil, up and down. Warm baths. etc. I could feel a very large mass near her vent. She seemed better so I put her with the others. They immediately attacked her. I put her to sleep , ( goodbye my fav hen) and then I did a necropsy on her. What I found, the large mass looked liked a hard boiled egg yolk. So I expect she was laying eggs internally. Lost my 3rd bird to a dog. Have 3 left. Hard to believe they made it through this very rough winter. And a moult to boot. Laying again and are happy girls.

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  49. Jill Bennett Bearden5/4/14, 10:44 PM

    Bookmarking this page. You always give good advice.

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  50. What a good chicken mom you are!

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  51. Does it ever get easier? The loss of a baby is always devastating to me. Thanks for sharing!

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  52. Gina Cara Van Dusen5/5/14, 10:29 AM

    Thank you for that. I will be looking for an avian or poultry vet right away.

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  53. Thank you for the info. I had a chicken die unexpectedly last year and was unsure what to do. She had been eggbound a few times in the past and I hadn't gotten an egg from her in a few days, so I went with the assumption that she was eggbound again and I had not noticed in time to help her. I wish I had known for sure though.


    I just looked through the list of veterinary diagnostic laboratories and Idaho is not on there. After not being able to find where I live now, I looked up my home state of Massachusetts and it's not on there as well. Any idea where else I can find this info?

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  54. Jamie Baker5/6/14, 6:56 AM

    Bettina, I was a vet tech for 5 years, and was on hand for many euthanasias. It never got easier, and they weren't even my own pets. But, there is a poem about the Rainbow Bridge you should read (if you haven't already). It is soothing to the soul. ((((HUGS)))) for your loss.

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  55. Idaho: 208-332-8500, www.agri.state.id.us

    Boston, MA: 617-626-1796 www.mass.gov.agr/animalhealth/poultry/index.htm

    North Grafton, MA 888-433-9987 www.indexx.com

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  56. Pennilynn Zobrist McNew5/12/14, 11:06 PM

    As a veterinary technician for 20 years, unexpected illness and death in pets is never easy; still difficult for me, especially with special ones of which I am more attached. I have found having critical care, emergency plans, as well as the supplies & phone # 's on hand makes it easier to prepare.
    Thank you for sharing & helping us learn.
    I share your website / blog out to several of my friends / family with poultry.

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  57. Debra Polasko5/13/14, 4:42 AM

    Thank you, i have found a local vet, but do not see any lab listed for NH. So, this looks like I need to make some preparations and investigate this so i can be prepared.

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  58. Elizabeth Nicole Stelling5/13/14, 8:15 AM

    Excellent information! Thank you.

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  59. Thank you for the information & I'm sorry for your loss. (I don't think the Chicken first aid kit link is working. It says page not found)

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  60. I am so sorry for your loss! It is never easy to lose an animal, we love them so. As always, you share with us everything and it makes a big difference for us. Thank You!

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  61. Curtis Gilker5/13/14, 9:09 PM

    Kathy - a few years back, you wrote about how to euthanize a chicken


    "My brother held the chicken under his left arm very firmly & securely and took the chicken's head in his right hand with the thumb of his right hand just under the head, around the neck and pulled very firmly and very quickly STRAIGHT OUT and then bent the neck down (for good measure, but likely not necessary). The objective is to dislocate the spinal vertebrae so the death is instant. There was only very minor movement of the birds afterward and was strictly from nerves discharging. They were gone at the point of the dislocation.
    To be clearer about the technique: Envision holding your own left wrist with your right palm facing the floor and your right hand on TOP of your left wrist. Now envision trying to PULL hard on your own hand so that you dislocate the joint, but don't pull hard enough to remove your hand. THAT is the technique he used for culling our feathered friends.


    Do you still recommend this approach, if it is necessary to euthanize a bird?

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  62. Your lab in New Hampshire is in Durham at the University of NH. www.unh.edu/nhvdl

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  63. Debra Polasko5/15/14, 4:33 AM

    Thanks .... you never cease to amaze!

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  64. Always a hard part of bringing life into the world and watching them thrive. Your information on how to contact the labs is vital and I thank you and it is a good idea to find an avian specialist before you need them. We breed a rare cat breed and take them to a specialist who only sees and treats felines . Nothing but the best for our babies and I know Esther had the best chicken life possible with you. Thank you for sharing.Hugs

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  65. Where did I write that? The ol' memory isn't what it used to be! lol

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  66. Thank you for the heads up on the broken link. I fixed it! Here it is if you are still interested in the information, Delia: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/01/chicken-first-aid-kit-sick-bay-be.html

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  67. Curtis Gilker5/16/14, 9:27 AM

    It was on one of the chicken boards from maybe 2008? I feel I am responsible for my flock, birth to death, and if it comes to it, I want to be the one to finish her. This approach seems humane, quick and painless if done correctly. It is extraordinarily difficult to envision doing this to one of my birds.

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  68. I recommend downloading this book from Amazon, it has a very good section on euthanasia that I believe you will find helpful. http://amzn.to/1id3V7A

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  69. Christina Greutink5/27/14, 9:43 PM

    Thank you for this information; much needed. So sorry sbout Esther...

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  70. This book lists CO gassing as one of the humane methods but that method is being outlawed all across the country in shelters because it is NOT considered humane. So I'm confused why it's recommended on the one hand but on the other it is considered cruel. None of the other sources I've found for humane killing recommends CO gas. What are your thoughts on this method?

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  71. Bonnie Gano Morris6/4/14, 7:46 PM

    My hen is not quite a year old and yesterday I saw that she was just standing in one spot. I separated her and a couple of hours later she had laid an egg that was like a water balloon. I kept her separate all night and day. She is still not eating or drinking. Her comb is dark and droopy. Her poo is yellowish and watery. She shakes from time to time and closes her eyes. When her eyes are closed her lids are like little white bubbles. She has been just sitting on my lap for almost 2 hours now. Any suggestions?

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  72. Alexandra Armstrong6/10/14, 10:07 AM

    My Silkie who has just 'recovered' from her broody spell is acting strangely. Yesterday was windy and wet and the girls spent the day in the run and coop. This morning when I let them out, the Silkie was walking slowly in a squat. The other hens started picking on her and she crouched down and extended her neck out along the ground - VERY unlike her.
    I've brought her inside and she is eating and drinking. Her crop is full by malleable, there are some dropping stuck to her tail feathers and she hasn't pooped yet. I gave her a teaspoon of greek yougurt which she ate. She still hasn't stood up and is very quiet. Please help.

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  73. Alexandra Armstrong6/10/14, 10:09 AM

    Kathy if there is a better place to post this, please let me know, thanks. Your advice is always spot on and I really appreciate it.

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  74. I'm afraid I can't tell you what's wrong with her, Alexandra. Those are fairly general symptoms that could indicate a wide range of problems from malnutrition to egg yolk peritonitis, cancer or an injury. Can you get her to a vet?

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  75. Jaimee Rivers6/16/14, 3:48 PM

    I have a hen that has hatched 3 chicks and has been caring for them amongst the other older chickens in the coop. I noticed 2 days ago that she couldn't walk. She would attempt to stand and she would fall over to her front and then to her side. I have separated her from the other chicks and have her isolated. She is still eating and drinking and none of her wings or legs appear broken. I haven't been able to locate any information on the internet. Please help me! Thanks so much.

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  76. Judi Rayfield Busch6/16/14, 3:53 PM

    Hi. I enjoy reading all info you have about chickens. Very, very helpful. I just called my vet and they di take care of chickens. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. :-)

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  77. Dawn Fenner6/16/14, 4:33 PM

    You are an extreme wealth of info.

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  78. sherrilynn136/16/14, 5:32 PM

    So sorry for your loss. RIP Esther. She had the best life possible, because she had you!

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  79. Linda Donner Eisenhauer6/16/14, 7:28 PM

    My Amercana crop has been distended x 3 days, last evening I did as you instructed in your blog, and at a 60 degree angle held her and massaged her crop and throat, She began to vomint up strings of grass non stop. I gave her a rest and did the same again, put her in isolation with fresh water and feed. This a.m. she did a nice big dropping and she is clucking again. We hadn't heard her for at least 4 days or so. The first we noticed was her doing this really odd neck dance like " the talk to the hand" motion thing, but she couldn't chirp, she'd open her mouth and gag, but no sound. I'm giving her the Epsom salt in water as you suggested also. Her crop hasn't decreased in size, but she's clucking and cooing, will it ever go down? I'll keep her in the infirm for the rest of the week to be sure.

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  80. Brenda Madere Cannon6/16/14, 8:33 PM

    My sudden death experiences weren't so I visited in the morning and found them ill or near death. The latest girl been having problems with capillaria and wormed three times with little or no improvement. We visited our vet
    and upon learning she STILL hadn't kicked the parasite; something else was amiss. Without the vet's cue, I decided it was her time to go. Rose was my favorite girl; her personality and spirit was priceless. To this day when I review photos and come across her perky face and fluffy butt, I can't help but shed a few tears. Rose had ovarian cancer and was put to rest. I look forward to seeing her again on the other side!

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  81. I'm happy for you, Judi, that is not a common luxury.

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  82. Julie Waters Hawke6/17/14, 9:48 AM

    So sorry for your loss of Esther :(, and I agree, she had a very happy life because of you. Thanks again for this important info.

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  83. LifeOnTheMountainside6/17/14, 2:07 PM

    I looked on the list of Avian vets you posted the link for- it lists MY vet. I find this interesting, because while I trust her fully with my dogs, when I asked her a question about the bacterial infection my chickens had this last winter, she had no idea what to do for it or anything; the folk at the feed store knew more. I've asked her other chicken questions, and paid for that time - turns out I knew more than she did. It makes me curious as to the criteria used to be on that list.

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  84. Last night our 7 month old puppy got ahold of one of my girls. It was my fault I thought that they were all in their coop. He plucked her feathers and ripped her skin on the top side of her humerus. Bone is showing. I'm wondering what are her chances? She is in her own confined area, left water in with her last night but no food. Gave her a small amount to eat this morning which she did peck at. Is there anything else I can do for her?

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  85. Doris Perkins6/24/14, 12:06 PM

    When my cat was found dead, I called around to any and all vets to see who would do a necropsy on her. In my area by the shore in NJ they ONLY do a visual! No blood work or anything like that. They told me I would have to take the cat up to the University of Penn State! Necropsy starts at 250.00 for a visual. Penn State you are looking at 1000.00+ The pricing for ONE chicken to come into the ONE office here that will take them is a 60.00 office fee! Our vets should be ashamed of themselves for price gouging, when other states can do the same things for a fraction of the pricing.

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  86. Ginny Tata-Phillips7/21/14, 1:01 PM

    May I re-blog? I really want to keep all this info close to hand! Thanks!

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  87. I'm not sure what you mean by "re-blog," Ginny. You're welcome to share a link to my article, if that's what you're asking. If you had something different in mind, please contact me to discuss. Thanks! Kathy@The-Chicken-Chick.com

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  88. Ginny Tata-Phillips7/21/14, 4:40 PM

    Sorry - I meant share on my blog - but that is exactly what it does - directs to you! Not a lot of exposure but almost 1,000 fans!!!

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  89. I appreciate the share, Ginny. Thank you for asking!

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  90. Abbi Beuby Auger8/6/14, 4:11 PM

    She was just beautiful, and not a little girl! Sorry for your loss. I appreciate you sharing the information.

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  91. Vickisundin8/24/14, 6:32 PM

    So sorry to hear about Ester. I love all of my girls and it hurts so bad when you lose one. Peace be with you. Sending a prayer to win this ovascope.Ann's sending Prayers top you too win this battle with your neighbor. What a mess
    :-)

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  92. Treat the wound with an antibiotic (without painkiller, as it is toxic to chickens) and keep her in a quiet, isolated place where she can heal. I've had several chickens fully recover from some pretty severe injuries, including being mauled by dogs or foxes. As long as you can prevent infection and keep them eating and drinking, they usually pull through.

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  93. Ann-maree Rain9/15/14, 1:28 PM

    I am so, so sorry about Ester she looks like my "Biscuit I just lost mine was only three:=(

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  94. Kat@fullmetalrock.com10/3/14, 12:39 PM

    I am hoping you can help me. I just started my flock this year. We have 4 "Red Pullets" from TSC (we had 6, but one committed suicide and the other had what I believe was cutaneous Mareks. Anyway,after a LOT of research, I added to the flock from a local seller with two Black Australorps, a Buff Orpington, and two weeks after their arrival, we received a Dominique, an Aracauna and a Sicilian Buttercup who is the reason I am contacting you. I became concerned a month ago when, Simone, didn't seem to be growing like her two. The Aracauna, Robin, was very protective of her, as was the Dominique we call Domino. But, as Robin doubled in size, we noticed Simone would cower under her with Domino close by. Soon we noticed her neck seemed to be crooked and her feathers were being either pulled out by some of the other pullets, especially when trying to feed, or she was losing them. We decided to isolate her in the coop, so that she could watch what was going on around her, but not get picked on. She had her own food and water supply. I started noticing that she would cower in a corner, or sit on a roosting bar, but that was about it.She let's me feed her water (we started giving vitamins & electrolytes) from a 10 ml syringe, and usually takes about an Oz and a half at a time. We bring her out on occasion, but she keeps her head down and neck is still crooked. I don't know what else to do? I love her, but I don't think she will ever recover. I can't find anything on her symptoms. Poop looks normal. Please help!

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  95. I wish I could tell you what's wrong with her, Kat, but I can't. Is there any chance you can get her to a vet?

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  96. after a dog attack, i can't decide how to tell if the poor chickens
    should be euthanized, or if they would prefer to try healing. is there a good list of markers i can check for? they are all eating, drinking, and all made it onto the roosting bar to sleep. they are not afraid of me after their trauma, but i don't know what first aid i can offer. one has a simple bite to the shoulder, the other two are missing feathers as well as skin...

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  97. You need to start her on an antibiotic and keep her warm, preferably indoors or it will end up with pneumonia.

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  98. Tonia Thorpe11/4/14, 3:29 PM

    While living in Illinois a few years ago, one of my girls came out of the coop but just stood there, didnt move after leaving the coop, i had close to a 100 chickens, after this happened a few times, i sit in the coop and watched, come to find out it was a weezil, so i sit outside with a 22 rifle, he had the nerve to come out to eat with my chickens, once i killed him they were fine. Also had to shoot 3 opossums

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  99. I have a chicken in the house at the moment I'm keeping an eye on, her poop looks just like the above picture. Is a tumour the only condition to cause it to look like that??

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  100. We just experienced this a few weeks ago. We lost our only RIR hen. She was a shy gal. I found her on the ground one day barely breathing. I could hear what sounded like fluid in her lungs. I sat with her while my husband prepared everything to euthanize her. She was rail thin (we had no idea because she had been acting normal and didn't look thin until I found her). When it was time, I carefully picked her up and carried her out of her coop and laid her down on the grass in the sun. She flapped her wings, laid her head down and closed her eyes.... and that was it. She passed right there. We didn't think about necropsy (which is something I used to do in college). We buried her at the back of the property. None of our other chickens have shown any symptoms like this since. I'm so sorry for Esther. You did the right thing for her. Thanks for this posting. Very informative.

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  101. Thank you for sharing this information. Could you let us know how much the whole process cost you financially?

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  102. We just had a chicken die and had a necropsy done that showed she had Mareks disease and she had a tumor in her ovary that slowed her development down significantly. That's when I first started to realize something was wrong, when she stopped maturing.

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  103. Sad, Heather. Sorry to hear it. :(

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  104. Brenda Reese12/17/14, 7:50 PM

    Loved this. Thank you.

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