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?

FoxMulder Wed 11-Sep-13 14:46:03

I should have done that with the gerbil, I think I just dragged out it's suffering unnecessarily. It died on the vet's table - probably from the stress of it all.

THERhubarb Wed 11-Sep-13 15:26:38

Aw poor mite! Don't worry, you did what you thought was best at the time. I've made similar mistakes myself. I've also seen birds with broken necks that have fluttered for ages - and I mean AGES afterwards. It's only seeing that which has me convinced that you need to kill the brain in order to ensure a quick death.

It is very hard to make the right decison and you can torture yourself for ages afterwards thinking "what if". But you gave it a good life and did the best you could for it smile

valiumredhead Wed 11-Sep-13 15:32:01

Dh would use a brick too, for the same reasons you said.

recall Wed 11-Sep-13 15:39:30

I live on a farm, and I'm not a veggie, but how the fuck can you stand by and let an animal suffer ??? Have you no empathy ?

valiumredhead Wed 11-Sep-13 15:47:05

Dh would've done it by now I must admit. Note I said Dh not mewink

THERhubarb Wed 11-Sep-13 16:13:04

recall yup, that is just what I'm doing. YouTubing it too.

I suggest you read the thread before posting next time smile

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 13-Sep-13 19:25:13

It's Friday, how's the chick?

THERhubarb Mon 16-Sep-13 10:15:41

It's Monday and she's still here. She is now able to walk a little and stand upright but the leg from the knee joint downwards is useless, so she can only really use it as a prop, propelling herself forwards with her wings.

She is still not growing as well as she should but whilst she is still eating and making some progress she gets a reprieve. The weather is turning now and without adequate feather protection she'll die anyway so she's an indoor chick for the time being.

I've had many people now tell me that they would have euthanised her and some still think I should, but I think that whilst an animal refuses to give up, neither should we.

I'll weigh her later today to see if she's put on any weight.

YoureBeingADick Mon 16-Sep-13 10:24:35

fucking hell.

THERhubarb Mon 16-Sep-13 10:58:52

Indeed

fluffyraggies Mon 16-Sep-13 11:29:38

rhubarb - while you have the time, patience and tools to help the chick and still think, on balance, that it's still the best thing to do then good on you.

As a kid and an adult i have had many many pets, small and large, been to the vets a million times with my own animals and wild ones, and i would bet money that a vet worth his salt would just say put the chick down. NOT because it's not worth the effort of trying - but because as a business transaction it would be so expensive and - crucially - that with an animal this tiny no guarantee of success after all of it.

That doesn't mean you can't have an informed go at helping the animal yourself - with one eye always on watching for the time to give up and PITS.

Do keep us informed smile

FreudiansSlipper Mon 16-Sep-13 11:31:16

great news little chick is still fighting smile

MrsDeVere Mon 16-Sep-13 11:41:56

That is lovely news.
But as she gets more chickeny and less chick like the weight will be an issue won't it?

Can chickens support themselves on only one good leg? <clueless>

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 16-Sep-13 14:58:41

Thanks for the update, good to hear she's still going. smile

valiumredhead Mon 16-Sep-13 15:05:09

I think sometimes it's not a case of 'giving up' it's a case of doing what is kindest.

THERhubarb Tue 17-Sep-13 11:28:10

MrsDeVere I have no idea which is why I'm waiting to see. Her leg is getting stronger and she is able to move about. Every day I put her in with her mum and brothers for a little while, if it's warm enough, just so that she can be with other chickens and I think that has helped. For the most part she's in here though as she's just not big enough to survive being outdoors yet.

I am keeping a close eye on her progress and if it looks as though this leg is going to inhibit her and stop her from leading a full chickeny life then I'll put her down. After all, my hens are free to roam and that was important to us when we got them, that they had a good life with plenty of space, lots of bugs to eat and dirt to bathe in. If something goes wrong then or you have to kill a cockerel you don't mind so much as you know they've had a great life.

I won't keep her alive just out of misplaced sentimentality I promise.

MrsDeVere Tue 17-Sep-13 13:41:50

I know you won't. I don't think you are doing any harm at all right now.

Makes me want a chicken though <yearn>

THERhubarb Tue 17-Sep-13 13:55:42

I wouldn't bother! I have one barren hen, 2 cockerel chicks and a hen chick with a gammy leg. They really are quite a lot of effort - and I'm getting zero eggs in return at the moment!

LeoandBoosmum Tue 17-Sep-13 14:04:14

'...just a chick'? Nice! When you take any animal on you have to be prepared for vets' bills... It could be in pain and by leaving it the poor thing might get worse, not better. Pain is pain whether you're a chick, a dog, a bear, a human etc

Farmstay Tue 17-Sep-13 14:46:55

Rhubarb.. Re your response to my last post.. I was just trying to help!! I didn't make any assumptions regarding your level of knowledge on chicken care which is why I suggested what I did. Hope your chick continues to get better to save it being bashed over the head with a brick.. :/ not sure how this solves the brain dead issue over any other way of culling either but whatever!

THERhubarb Tue 01-Oct-13 12:42:20

Farmstay - apologies but your response came after others which implied that I needed dh to do it for me and of course the presumption that neither of us knew how to dispatch of a hen just riled me. Everyone has a different way of despatching animals but that's mine.

Leo - yeah whatever.

The good news update is that we went away on holiday for a week leaving MIL in charge (an experienced farmer and hen keeper). The chick has made a full recovery and is now out with its siblings and mother. It is able to fully use its leg so I am assuming that the bone must have healed itself. It is still half the size of the other two chicks but it is putting on weight so all looks good smile

No vets bills, no humane culling. I think I made the right decision and I have to thank the many posters who helped me make that decision with their common sense advice.

fluffyraggies Tue 01-Oct-13 12:52:17

grin

MrsDeVere Tue 01-Oct-13 13:26:56

Hurrah!

WowserBowser Tue 01-Oct-13 13:28:31

Hurray for the chick!

Christelle2207 Tue 01-Oct-13 13:48:43

Brilliant !

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