PRATIE PLACE

Friday, July 31, 2015

Moo the chicken is no more.

It's hard to see, but this is a picture of a chicken with a pendulous crop. The crop is at the base of the neck and is where chicken digestion begins. After a big meal all chicken's crops are softly bulging.

But this chicken's crop started to swell more and more. We watched over a week, hoping it would go away, but it got so bad it drooped almost to the ground. The internet advised massage, but the mass was dense, "like play dough," and massage was doing nothing, so Monday Ez took her to the Avian and Exotic Animal Veterinary clinic...

... where they told him parrots and cockatiels used to be the most common patients, but now that Raleigh has decriminalized them, chickens are the most common birds in their practice.

In order to put our chicken into the computer a name was needed, so the tech named this chicken Moo, which was adorable.

The vet wrapped her into a "crop bra," a stretchy Ace Bandage sort of thing that was supposed to hold the crop up high so gravity would work in her favor. We've been giving her medicine twice a day (the same medicine humans get when their bowels are obstructed) and keeping her in the upstairs bathroom.

She's not even five months old yet but she laid her first (and, it turns out, only) two eggs in the bathtub. She was alert, glossy, eating well, not upset about wearing her crop bra, ok with the medicine...

... she even got kind of tame and affectionate...

... which made it harder today when I took her back for her followup and, seeing that there had been some reduction in the size of the impacted crop, but not much, and that the only other alternative was a $800-900 operation which would require her living in the house for several more weeks... and that, even then, it was quite likely that this condition would recur...

... and, considering that any day now a fox is going to find a way into my compound and polish off all the chickens (it's happened before)...

... we decided to have Moo euthanized. The vet said delicately, "This was a hard decision to make without knowing what position the chicken held in your family." In other words, if Moo had been my soul mate, perhaps I would have wanted her cured at any cost.

I'm devoted to chickens, but not to any one chicken. I can't afford to be with the mortality rate being what it is around here. I spent a fortune beefing up the deer fence to keep foxes out (it is VERY HARD to keep foxes out when there are chickens around), but nothing will keep raccoons out. And there are weasels, possums, snakes and hawks also interested in what's on offer.

So I told the vet to euthanize Moo. It was surprisingly hard, now that she had a name and was friendly and had been my housemate all week and laid eggs in the bathtub. And was glossy and zesty and not in pain and interested in life. But the next step was going to be the putrefaction of whatever was in there that wouldn't come out, and the outcome would have been the same.

At the very same time, Jethro has been ill, but that will wait for another day. Goodbye, Moo!

1 Comments:

At 1:29 PM, Blogger elisdaughter said...

Sorry to hear the story of Moo did not have a happier ending. My condolences.

 

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