Chicken update

Dec 31, 2010

Well, I took the day off today so that after all this house moving and family holiday craziness I could have a day of doing nothing. That was not in the cards...this morning when I went to check on the girls, I noticed a patch of blood in the hay inside the coop. I checked each hen and found that Honkers had a very pasty and impacted vent. Poor thing, it looked terrible. I spent quite a while bathing her to try to clear the vent - warm water, soap followed by peroxide to try and break down the poop a bit more. Then olive oil to try and lubricate the vent. Unfortunately, she was bleeding a lot and it looked like her oviduct was actually prolapsing. Such are the realities of keeping livestock. Because of the prolapse and bleeding, we decided it was best to put her down. RIP Honkers...

Honkers_einstein



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Gretchen
Dec 31, 2010
11:35 pm

Oh, I’m so sorry.  Poor Honkers.

What Pigs Don't Know
Jan 01, 2011
4:02 pm

I’m sorry to hear about that, too.  When you say “put her down” did you take her to a vet or did you do it yourself?  I worry that when/if the time comes with our hens I’m going to have trouble doing it myself.  May I ask how you did it & how you disposed of her body?  Thanks. -Carrie

Leslie Finical Halleck
Jan 03, 2011
7:26 pm

Carrie, Up to now, I’ve had my girls put down at the vet. But you have to make sure that the vet gives them gas first, then the shot. For chickens, the shot is given to them in the heart, and it is painful if they are not first put to sleep. It’s pricey though. So from here on out, I hate to say, I will be euthanizing my own birds. I will be decapitating via very sharp hatchet. I know it sounds brutal, but if done right it’s actually the fastest and pain-free way for them to be put down. Take a log and hammer in two nails - far enough apart to slip their neck in but close enough together to hold the head in place. Pull body and detach head. Fast and hard. These are the realities of keeping livestock. It’s sad, but there are times when you have to cull a bird due to disease or injury. You can’t leave them in with your flock, and a trip to the vet is very expensive. The bodies can be buried or composted. Just some things to think about.

What Pigs Don't Know
Jan 05, 2011
11:43 am

Leslie,
Thank you for your candor & explanations.  In your opinion, then, I guess the hatchet way is better than the Joel Salatin (& others) way of upside down in a cone & slitting their throat?  Death by hatchet certainly seems more immediate, with the slitting taking a few extra seconds.  I wonder, though, why so many people would use the cone.  Thanks in advance for any insights you may have.  Here’s to hoping we hardly ever have to do “the deed”.

Gretchen
Jan 17, 2011
8:36 pm

Carrie,

The reason that Joel uses the cones is because the goal is to kill the bird quickly and humanely but allow the heart to keep pumping so as to expel as much blood as possible by allowing it to flow out through the neck, because that’s better for birds you actually want to eat.  In this way they can put multiple birds upside down in the cones, assembly-line style, and slit their throats to kill them giving some time for the blood to run out before the next step in the process.

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