LEAV­ING AN AN­I­MAL UN­TREATED, SO AN OWNER CAN ‘SEE WHAT HAP­PENS’ IS NOT AP­PRO­PRI­ATE IN MOST CASES

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

Leav­ing a sick or in­jured an­i­mal un­treated so an owner can ‘see what hap­pens’ is not ap­pro­pri­ate in most cases, es­pe­cially if it is based on lack of knowl­edge, the eco­nom­ics of get­ting it treat­ment, or an emo­tional in­abil­ity to make a de­ci­sion to eu­thanise.

When any ab­nor­mal be­hav­iour or signs are de­tected in a bird, ac­tion needs to be taken im­me­di­ately. First, you need to work out symp­toms and try to di­ag­nose the cause (get our sick chook check­list, see page 65), then it needs to be treated as soon as pos­si­ble. If you aren’t sure, con­sult a more ex­pe­ri­enced poul­try per­son or take it to a vet.

I of­ten hear peo­ple say their vet doesn’t know any­thing about poul­try. Vets do spend only a short part of their train­ing specif­i­cally on birds, but in all cases they are the cor­rect per­son to help you elim­i­nate the ba­sics, take sam­ples to

sub­mit to a lab­o­ra­tory, and to pre­scribe pain re­lief, an­tibi­otics or other treat­ment.

If you are con­cerned about cost and the se­ri­ous­ness of the con­di­tion, then eu­thana­sia needs to be a se­ri­ous pos­si­bil­ity. You need to know how to do it your­self in a hu­mane way or to take it to some­one who can. Leav­ing an an­i­mal to suf­fer is not an op­tion. See next month’s is­sue for in­struc­tions on how to hu­manely eu­thanise a chicken.

15+ signs of pain in poul­try

Poul­try, like most birds, are able to hide their pain or dis­com­fort well, as to look sick would be an invitation to a preda­tor. This means, when it be­comes ob­vi­ous to you that a bird is un­well, then the disease or sit­u­a­tion is likely to be well ad­vanced.

A bird sit­ting with its beak open can be a sign it is in se­vere pain. With this symp­tom, you need to rule out heat stress from a high en­vi­ron­men­tal tem­per­a­ture, eg chicks that are un­able to move far enough away from a heat lamp or adults that have no shade on a hot day. Young poul­try and tur­keys com­monly ex­hibit pain this way but in adult hens it’s more rare.

Sit­ting or stand­ing with eyes closed and feath­ers fluffed out is another sign of a bird suf­fer­ing pain.

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