RIP little hen.

LadyA

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I've had my current batch of hens for over two years now, and they were already laying when I got them - commercial type laying hybrids, the "little brown girls", which is all I ever keep. This batch have been super healthy and 4 of them are still laying, which at now 2 1/2 years old, is great for their type

But, you know. They're not bred for long lives, these brown girls. About 3 weeks ago, one was a little quiet in herself. And moving much slower than normal. I put a strong dose of Herban in the water, and kept a close eye on her. After a couple of days, she recovered. So she had 3 weeks of happy life. But this week, I noticed her slowing down again, plus, I noticed her spending time in the nest box, but not laying. 2 days ago, I had to pick her up and put her in the run, and felt the telltale sign. She was very "bottom heavy" and gone broad in the beam. I've lost several hybrids over the years to egg yolk peritonitis - internal laying. So I culled her before she became very ill and suffered too much.

I hate culling. The older I get, the more hate it. [emoji22]

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Margaid

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So sorry to read that Lady A but well done for culling her. It isn't something I was ever faced with and if I do keep hens again, my gardener is a licensed slaughterman so hopefully he will do the deed for me.
 

LadyA

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I've always had to do it myself, Margaid. I've told dau now that I don't think I'll get more hens when this batch go, because the inevitable culling is just getting too depressing.

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Marigold

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I’m so sorry, LadyA. Totally agree about culling them - every time I do it, I wonder if I should carry on and get others, in the knowledge that I shall have to face doing it again a few years down the line.
But I’m glad I do know how to do it, and can know they had a quick end, as stress-free as possible. I think it is a keeper’s responsibility to be able to cull a bird in an emergency, and once you’re confident you can do this, it makes sense to keep in practice rather than hand the task on to someone else. After all, I know they’ve had a really good life, and a longer one than most hens are allowed.
All the same, if I knew a licensed slaughterman I’d be happy to buy him a drink!
 

Margaid

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I quite agree Marigold and admire those that can do it. Because it never arose, I don't know what I would have done; other half would have been no help at all, not even in helping me catch a bird. My fear was not being able to make a good job of it.
 

chrismahon

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Are you prolonging their life or prolonging their death? Always our thoughts, but we always hope that they will be one of the 50% that turns around and gets better and that somewhat clouds the issue, because we have made too many late calls.

Despatching is a two person job Margaid, to avoid further stress on the bird. No need to go into details now, but wrapped comfortably in a towel always calms them down as does night time.
 

LadyA

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I've always had to despatch on my own. But, I've only ever had the little brown hybrids. Not sure I'd tackle despatching a Brahma or a Jersey Giant on my own!

I suspect my hen had been laying internally for a while, although it only caused her problems very recently. I was very taken aback at how much she weighed, for a hybrid. Although this batch do seem a bit heftier than other hybrids I've had. They seem more sturdy and solid somehow. I would have liked to do a "post mortem " to see what was going on inside, but I couldn't face it.

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