Recently, a woman posted in a Facebook group that she was looking for a home for two newly hatched chicks with leg problems. She said she was new to keeping chickens and I thought I would reply with a suggestion as to why and how the problem might be corrected by leaving a link to a page about incubation problems. That way she could correct the problem if she incubated more. I assumed the chicks would be culled.
Another member of the group mentioned it could be a slipped tendon (I didn’t think so; both legs on both chicks are affected and they walk on their knee joints. What are the odds 4 legs are affected right at hatch time and it is slipped tendons?) and gave advice as to how to correct it. She replied that she tried and there was no way she could continue because it was hurting the chicks. She just wants to have someone take them. I was a bit irritated with her but kept my mouth shut. She was refusing to be responsible for the health of the chicks and wanted someone else to be.
The guy who suggested a slipped tendon then reminded her of her responsibilities and that it started when she put the eggs in the incubator. She got pissed, saying she is being judged.
The following day she left a post saying one died and she REALLY wants someone to take the other. She then told everyone to stop judging her and keep their comments and opinions to themselves. I couldn’t, so this is what I left for a comment:
You didn’t get judged. The comment was that you should be prepared to take care of issues when they happen and he suggested a fix. When you said you could not do it, he then reminded you that you are responsible for them. This will not be the only bad thing that happens to your birds. His comment (although a bit rough around the edges) was things happen and sometimes it is the kindest thing to do to put them out of their misery if things cannot be fixed.
Culling chickens is just part of owning them. Recognizing problems and quickly killing an infected or mortally wounded bird is always best. Making them suffer is not an option. I just had to kill a hen who choked on corn. She was close to death anyway but I was not going to let her suffer. It happens. I cry when I have to put mine down but I know it is the best and kindest thing to do at the time.
I predict you will not find someone to take it for 3 reasons:
1. Too much time may have passed to correct the problem. If things cannot be fixed rather quickly, the bird may heal incorrectly, making it impossible (or VERY expensive) to fix.
2. Regardless of who takes it, if it is introduced into a flock, it WILL get picked on, even if it didn’t have the issue. This issue just makes it that much more likely to be killed by someone elses flock because it cannot run away.
3. Some diseases (VERY bad diseases) can cause leg issues. No-one wants to bring disease into their flock.
Don’t take comments and opinions so hard. People like to help but they also do not like to see animals suffer. Telling people to keep their comments to themselves is not the right approach. At some point, you will be back asking questions, especially seeing how you are new to raising chickens. Just wait until one of your birds gets bumblefoot; you will be back in a panic because you will have to do surgery, let the bird die of massive infection, or kill it because the infection was too bad to correct. It can be very stressful, and painful, caring for animals. You will beg for comments and opinions then.
Now that I have left a comment and my opinion, off I go. I really do hope someone does take the chick and it turns out fine.
What do you think, do you take responsibility for the health of your chickens?
Should she be more responsible?
How do you take care of sick or mortally wounded birds?
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