Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reality Stinks

My poor Columbian Wyandotte suffered a horrific injury last Thursday. She got tangled in some trellis netting that I had left on the ground, major guilt here. I was not home at the time this happened. When I did arrive home I thought it odd that my turkey had a bloody beak. There were no signs of anything amiss. After several hours Aaron found the hen. I was so upset and thought that the trellis had ripped her scalp off in her struggle to get free. When faced with an emergency I "just do" and later after the fact crumble. Never had I an injury so awful with any of my children, not even a broken arm. This was horrific and all my fault.

She was still alive, barely. Very stunned and her left eye would not open. What to do, what to do???? She was so traumatized that I did not want to run water over her head. Her scalp was completely gone. It dawned on me that it was the turkey who brutally attacked her, while her neck was tangled. I set up an ICU in the house. But had no idea how to help her. She could not drink on her own. I tried a bit of gatorade in a jar cap. She took a few sips. Her right eye opened but she was so "shell shocked" she did not seem aware of her surroundings.

She survived the night and the next day. On Sunday she was eating wet mash on her own, but I noticed her right eyelid was starting to swell. She could hear, was alert and seemed to be on the mend. Monday her eye was worse. Tuesday she was in bad shape. In retrospect I think if I had got her some antibiotics right away she would have not developed the eye problem.

Several people said to put her down, but when she perked up and improved I felt so hopeful. The thought of killing her was not easy. First off I had only butchered one chicken, and that was using a killing cone. Def not the way to put her out of her misery. I also did not want to cause her any more suffering by botching the job. In the end it was a farmer friend who came and helped. He raises chickens and there is a specific humane way of turning their necks which severs the spinal cord quickly. He was very kind and gentle with her and I saw her suffer no more.

This part of the "circle of life" is one of the most disturbing parts of raising animals. In retrospect I think I should have done it immediately upon finding her.


Leon said...

It's such a tough call eh! We had two chickens that we had to say good-bye to over the winter. We tried nursing them for a few days:


...but you just know when enough is enough. Still, the perils of winter seem to be finally over now...

Lana at said...

Hard, Hard part of farming life. Not easy. But, you did your best. I think guilt is always there because we feel like everything is in our control, but often, it is not. Glad you had such a great neighbor.

I'll be back to read more very soon.