To consider not taking my lame pet to the vets?

(225 Posts)
THERhubarb Fri 06-Sep-13 13:56:31

Before you all tear me apart let me explain....

This is a 2 week old chick. We have 3 of them and this is the youngest. I paid around £3 each for them and they are being cared for by one of my hens.

Yesterday I noticed this little fella was limping but was still getting around. I checked its foot, couldn't find anything stuck in it so let it go back assuming it would get better by itself.

Today it cannot put any weight on the foot. I have taken it indoors and examined it and it's not any of the usual foot diseases I've so far googled. I can't feel any broken bones so could just be a sprain, but obviously I don't know for sure.

The chick is a Pekin bantam so its tiny still and difficult to treat I would imagine. I've not put it back with it's mum or the others but have brought it in as it was not coming out of the hutch for food or water, at least this way I can make sure its eating.

I've just phoned the vets and they charge £10 consultation fee plus whatever else for treatment/medication.

Now when all is said and done, it is just a chick and doesn't appear to be in constant pain, it just can't walk around as it refuses to put the bad leg down. I am tempted to just pop it back under mother hen tonight, then take it out again tomorrow and do what I'm doing today, which is to keep it in an egg box with food and water and hope that the leg gets better with plenty of rest so it can eventually join the other two and mother hen.

Would this be totally unreasonable?

MonstersDontCry Fri 06-Sep-13 14:17:03

So just because this chick isn't a pet it should be allowed to suffer?

Wtaf? You cruel bastard.

SacreBlue Fri 06-Sep-13 14:17:15

I didn't say you were confused just that choosing an option was better than not.

Hercy Fri 06-Sep-13 14:17:35

You seem to have a bit of an attitude.

Fwiw, I know the difference between farm/working animals and pets and how they would be treated differently. And my advice would have been to keep doing what you're doing and if there's no improvement, then put it put of its misery.

It's just the use of pet in the thread title, then "some people don't understand the difference between animals and pets" rant that annoyed me.

vaticancameo Fri 06-Sep-13 14:17:48

The fact that it's not a pet is irrelevant. You are responsible for it and that includes getting it the appropriate treatment. If that treatment isn't cost effective, put it down. But don't leave it in pain because the vet is too expensive, that's vile.

THERhubarb Fri 06-Sep-13 14:18:32

Stephen, it has a brain the size of a withered pea. It is not a cow. Hens work largely on instinct and hormones.

expat - exactly. I have already spent quite a lot of money on materials for a pen for the new chicks, on chick feed, on buying them when my £10 clutch of eggs turned out to be infertile etc.

And yes, I doubt the vet will just leave it at a tenner either. Does anyone have any experience of a chick being successfully treated by a vet?

THERhubarb Fri 06-Sep-13 14:21:00

Hercy, do I have an attitude? I really must get that sorted. Yes perhaps I should not have used pets in the title but I have had threads ignored before now because the title was deemed to be boring. I wanted advice from people who have had experience perhaps with vets and/or chickens so I could make the right decision. Apparently though, that still means that I am some cruel sadist who leaves animals suffering. I should wake the little fella up just to remind him that he's meant to be in pain.

Bird legs are complicated, it could be a break, it could be a strain. Splintering a leg that small is very difficult. Have you felt all the way up to the hip joint?

Hercy Fri 06-Sep-13 14:21:41

Nope, definitely no attitude there.

LEMisdisappointed Fri 06-Sep-13 14:21:54

See, i tend to agree with you rhubarb, watch and wait - so long as you are willing to pull its neck over the weekend if it is apparently suffering as weekend consults will be £££s. However, you KNEW you would get flamed, so im a bit confused as to why you started the thread when you knew how it would end.

I would watch and wait although i would be a bit jumpy because its the weekend. Like you say, its not a pet, it is however a sentient animal and should not be allowed to suffer so do keep an eye and be willing to either pts or take to the vet over the weekend if it worsens. If it is an infection in the foot then it will suffer.

FyreFly Fri 06-Sep-13 14:21:58

Honestly, I think if you took it to the vets they would probably just suggest you dispatch it. I agree with you that a trip to the vets is most likely an exercise in futility (we have kept chickens for a number of years, although we have not had anything younger than point-of-lays).

If it is not in pain, then I would suggest making a go of it and see how it gets on. If you think it IS in pain constantly though, then I would suggest putting it down.

StephenFrySaidSo Fri 06-Sep-13 14:22:03

whether it's brain is the size of the barn or the size of a grain of sand- that brain is, right now, sending pain signals to it's leg. either treat it or put it down. it is UR to let an animal in your care suffer (I grew up on a farm fwiw- I know the difference between 'for cuddles' and 'for cash'

THERhubarb Fri 06-Sep-13 14:22:08

I reckon out of the three this one is the only hen as well which is just bloody typical.

I don't suppose I should even begin to tell anyone what generally happens to cockerels?

tabulahrasa Fri 06-Sep-13 14:24:24

If it's not able to put weight on a leg then it's in pain, it's not doing it for fun.

Withholding medical treatment is an offence under the animal welfare act btw.

THERhubarb Fri 06-Sep-13 14:25:01

As I said, I would need to wake the chick up and remind it that it's in pain.

You see, if you read my responses you might see my dilemma. The chick is NOT in constant pain. It will not put any weight on that leg but other than that the chick is eating and behaving normally, no squeaks of pain (which are quite distinguishable from cheeping).

So I wanted to know if I was better off doing what I am doing, which is to isolate it during the day to see if things improved, or to spend a tenner on a vet just so I knew what the problem actually was, assuming they can tell me?

£10 is a lot to spend if you leave without getting an answer isn't it?

If it does not improve then obviously I would not leave it lame, I would put it down.

StephenFrySaidSo Fri 06-Sep-13 14:26:06

OP you do realise you asked if you were being UR don't you? why are you getting snippy at people telling you that yes you are being UR?

THERhubarb Fri 06-Sep-13 14:26:13

Report me tabu smile

Should I break its neck now then do you think? As you seem so convinced that it is in pain?

Agree with Expat... it needs putting out of its misery. Guess your dh could do that.

BuskersCat Fri 06-Sep-13 14:26:30

I would take it to a vet, see what they say. If it will cost too much, or you wont make money off it the you'll have to have it PTS

I agree a hen is not a dog or a cat, but it could possibly be an animal in pain, that needs addressing from a pigeon to an elephant they all need treating with respect.

Honestly I would euthanise it as humanely as possible if you aren't going to have it treated. I live on a farm and I'm used to seeing animals as stock but there isn't a farmer I know who wouldn't either have the vet see the animal or euthanise it. There isn't really the option of just carrying on to see if it sorts itself.

Maybe you could pay the tenner for consultation and then make a decision based on what the vet says? If it needs more than you're willing to pay then it's only fair to end it quickly.

OR... If you happen to be in Aberdeenshire bring him to Flank's weird and wonderful Ark to be nursed <outs self as mad woman> grin

willyoulistentome Fri 06-Sep-13 14:26:40

I was charged £12 to have a chicken put down. They would have charged £90 (!!!!!!!!!) to do it if I had let them come out to us and take the body away afterwards. I have pets and I have chickens who are not pets. I think you sound like you are doing the right thing by the chick OP. If it doesn't get better then i would have it put down, or do it yourself if you can do it kindly and quickly.

If it's a hen, then it will pay for its treatment in eggs, if it survives (ex-chicken keeper here). If it's a cockerel, well, there's nothing quite like home-reared coq au vin - and a free range 'coq', apart from being nearly impossible to find in the shops, would probably cost more than £10 anyway. Personally, I'd take it to the vet.

THERhubarb Fri 06-Sep-13 14:27:36

Not snippy Stephen, I am patiently answering as many posters as I can. I am willing to listen to reasoned arguments but not accusatory or hysterical ones accusing me of animal cruelty smile

What does the leg look like when its standing on it? does it look right?

It could be a splayed leg

Fairylea Fri 06-Sep-13 14:29:21

Your attitude is appalling actually.

A responsible farmer would not leave an animal in pain, pet or stock. If you can see it's suffering or can't put weight on a limb then you either end its life as quickly and painlessly as possible or you visit a vet. It is that simple. You don't weigh up the costs and profit loss of taking it to the vets.

Even farmers have strict welfare standards to adhere to, regardless of whether an animal is destined to the slaughter house or not.

vaticancameo Fri 06-Sep-13 14:29:42

Look, we know what happens to cockerels. We even - shock, horror - know that chickens get turned into nuggets and pies. No-one is being sentimental. We are simply saying it is immoral to leave an animal in pain. If the vet is too expensive, pull its neck. But withholding treatment on cost grounds and leaving it in pain is disgusting.

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