Category Archives: Medical

Experiments on chickens conducted at Chickens as pets not food – Chicken Rescue and Rehabilitation South Africa

Its true! We have been conducting an experiment of our own here at Chicken Rescue and Rehabilitation South Africa on our dear ex batt Claire.

It all started with a rescue in February, when we picked up some very bruised and battered ex batts. Grace, had severe neurological damage after been hit against the side of a metal cage, and went onto a regime of homeopathic nerve support, as well as a well needed vitamin B injection. Vitamin B is also excellent in the support of neuro damage. Graces neurological , mis-firings slowly healed, but I noticed something else. Grace, had new feathers, and within a few short weeks, despite her compromised body, she was developing and growing the most exquisite new feathers – faster than I had ever seen a compromised ex batt cover. I could only attribute it to the vit B injection, but decided that we needed to start some trials of our own.

This is where Claire enters the picture. Claire has been with us for over a year, and has never managed to develop enough feathers to cover her shoulders and back, despite a multi vitamin and good food. Claire has always had poor feather development. As winter was around the corner, and I didn’t want Claire to suffer the cold another year, I started Claire on a B complex. I elected not to inject this time, as I was warned it is a very sore injection.

I bought a good quality B complex from my local pharmacy in capsule form. The first two weeks I gave Claire 1/4 of a capsule daily. I sprinkled the powder into a piece of bread, closed the bread around the powder and made it into a tight ball, which I popped down her throat. After two weeks, I sprinkled 2 x vit B capsules (for 11 chickens) over their food aprox 5 x a week. This was started on the 27th March 2015, and this article was written on the 31st May 2015 – 2 months later.

The results have been very pleasing. All the flock seem to have really grown some great feathers, and Claire in particular has finally grown some shoulder and back feathers, where I thought we would never see feathers again. A possible added benefit, is that both Claire and Ruby where having repeated ‘egg bound’ issues up until I started the vit B. I cannot attribute the evaporation of the egg issues to the vit B for sure, but it does seem rather a coincidence.

I will continue to watch and monitor our flock on the Vit B complex, and will continue to try this on newly rescued hens and document the results. I know one trial is not going to be enough for some of you scientists out there, but its enough for me to feel confident to share this far.

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27th march 2015
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31 May 2015
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to euthanase or not?

I starting a section called medical on this blog – as I am so often asked medical and euthanasia questions. The opionions expressed in this medical section are my own opinions, and only based on my experience in rehabbing sick chickens and animals – what we have tried and been succesful with, or unsuccessful. I am NOT a vet, and if you have access to a vet, that is the route you should go for responsible animal care. Our blog could assist you in making decisions, or in supportive care, but we are not a substitute for good veterinary care or advice.

Euthanasia is an ethical and personal decision in itself, never mind the ethics then around how to euthanase.

I am pro euthanasia if the animal is suffering more than what I would persoanlly want to go through (by the way – the option of euthanasia is what I would want for myself, which is the only reason I can enetertain this as a possibility). If there is no quality of life, and no near future hope of a decent quality of life.

Euthanasia refers to circumstances where:

  • pain, distress or suffering are likely to exceed designated levels and cannot be alleviated promptly (see Section 1.21 of the Code)
  • the health or well-being of the animal is grounds for concern.

(http://sydney.edu.au/research_support/ethics/animal/techniques/euthanasia.shtml)

 I am not in favour of euthanasing healthy animals, but understand the welfare issues surrounding this.

Compassionate euthanasia involves the loss of consciousness and function simultaneously.  Any drug that paralyses muscle use, but conciousness remains  while suffocation occurs, for me, is not humane. For example with drowning, function is lost before consciousness – this is not humane. Front slitting of throat – so common in abbatoirs – the animal loses function, but not consciousness. Yuck!  The drug ‘euthanase’ , for example, assists the loss of both conciousness and function simultaneously.  There are other methods that achieve the same result.

These are the guidelines I use before euthanasing:

1. I never euthanase without a proper 2nd opinion (preferably veterinary – and a veterinarian I have a relationship with and trust). I cannot reverse my decision, therefore it needs to be a well considered decision.

2. I keep in mind that birds hide pain exceptionally well – you will see severe pain through rapid breathing, sometimes open mouth breathing, loss of appetite, physical falling or difficulty walking, abdominal breathing (breathing movement almost happens in bum region )

3.  In the abscence of birds or animals being able to tell us what’s wrong, we must assume that what would be painful for us would be painful for them.

4. I try what I can to prolong life in a humane way before making that decision, unless keeping them going for even a day more would just be torture.

5.  I spend time watching a healthy hen (animal)  for 1 minute and record everything she does in that one minute (head turns, pecks floor, runs three steps etc) – now spend 1 minute on your unhealthy hen (animal), and see if vast difference in behaviour). How big is that gap?

6. Is your hen eating, drinking, foraging, preening?  If they are too ill to eat or drink, then I assist. If this goes on for too long, I re assess. Starving or de hydrating is a terrible way to die.

7. I spend a lot of time before making a decision to euthanase, sitting quietly with my animals. This allows me to be present to their pain and discomfort, and to make a better decision.

8.  I will always try and euthanse at the place where the animal lives, if this is possible. It reduces stress.

9. If possible I will always try and medicate my animals pre euthanasia to limit anxiety.

10. I always stay with my animals up until their last breath. As painful as losing something you love can be, I would want the people and animals I love around me in my last momemts. I believe this is the courageous and compassionate  thing to do. “What is best for the animal is not what is always best for the owner,” Rauch

other link on valid reasons for euthanasia:

 http://www.pet-informed-veterinary-advice-online.com/pet-euthanasia.html#euthanasia-reasons