Let me tell you about one of my roosters, Hermes.
He was accidentally run over by a hay rake about a week ago. We thought it killed him; he flopped about for about 30 seconds (sorry tmi) and then lay perfectly still with his wings outspread. I was upset, but well... these things can happen if you have free-range chickens. And roosters will usually try to stand their ground against things, and not run from them, which is why I imagine he was hit. He probably tried to attack the hay rake to protect his hens. :(
I was sad since Hermes was my favorite of all my roosters. I took his body and lay it where the other chickens couldn't get to it and pick at it, until my husband could come home and dig me a hole to bury him. We really did think he was dead, but... by some miracle, he wasn't! I went out a few hours later and he had his head up and was looking around... and he could shuffle around, although he couldn't stand up.
I called the vet in our town, the one I take my dog and cats to, and he said he didn't see birds but if I wanted him euthanized and didn't want to do it myself, he'd give him a shot if I wanted. I didn't want him euthanized, I wanted him seen and made to feel better! So I asked if he knew of any vet nearby that did treat birds... and he said the only place he'd know of would be the Ohio State University which is in Columbus (about an hour away). "Is it a show chicken?" he said. "Do you use it for show or breeding?"
"No." I said. "I'm just worried he's in pain."
"He probably is," the vet told me. "Which is why you should consider just euthanizing him. You can't butcher him for the meat at this point because of his injuries, but he's probably better off if you just put him out of his misery. I don't think any decent farm vet would see him if you don't use him for breeding or show, it just isn't worth it. And if you do find a vet that will, I guarantee you they're just going to do it to get your money. How much money do you want to spend on a chicken that cost you, what... a few dollars... and that you don't even use for show or breeding stock?" (I'm paraphrasing here, this is the gist of what he said.)
My husband said, "I'm not taking him all the way to Columbus just for someone to tell you to wring his neck." And he didn't say it, but I am pretty darn sure he wouldn't be willing to part with who knows how much money to possibly fix what's wrong with him. Assuming we'd even find someone who would try.
Well, I decided to make him comfortable at least... so I put him in a coop by himself (it's one we actually use for brooding chicks but there's none in there at the moment) and he does seem to be getting better. He can stand now (sort of) and walk (somewhat) and he eats, drinks, and finds shelter as appropriate (in other words, he doesn't sit out in the hot sun or the rain.) I can't tell if he's in pain because... I mean, it's a chicken. He's not right though. His head is cocked, he wobbles... he doesn't seem to be able to see very well... and well, here's a video I took of him just this morning:
So anyway AMA... what would you do in my situation? I can keep him indefinitely like this, but I don't know if I should. Do you think he'll keep getting better or should I just let the vet euthanize him? I know some of you guys do work with animals and rehabilitation and... do you think there's any chance for him? Should I just let him continue to live his life like this... just existing?
I don't want to be cruel, but he survived an accident that almost killed him, and I just want to give him a chance.