Monday, 20 February 2012


I have posted this older video, because it does feature a brief appearance from Sorrel, the buff Orpington who had an impacted crop.
I took her to the vets today as I have been unable to clear the blockage so to speak, and the 12 year old vet who I suspect had never handled a hen before was "allocated" to us ( I was hoping that the sex-on-legs George Clooney lookalike was on duty but unfortunately he was "in surgery")
Doogie Howser seemed very nervous and was a little unsure of exactly what to do .He kept nipping out to discuss the case with the George ( who I was hoping would have popped out to give us a second opinion!) and left the consulting room no less than three times.
After weighing up the fact that this practice only performs this kind of procedure under a general anaesthetic and the fact that Sorrel was so frail, we decided that putting the hen down was the best bet and the kindest thing to do.
I couldn't help noticing that when the Wunderkind started to administer the final injection his hand shook, so much, he missed the blood vessel in the hen's wing
As a nurse that has supervised so many Junior doctors over the years I knew exactly the best thing to do.
"They are really difficult to get aren't they? I couldn't do it....... you're doing fine" I said with an encouraging smile.and I spread the wing out wider so he could see a little better.
He tried again
and a couple of minutes later the hen had died peacefully.
Ebb and Flow...
Ebb and Flow...
and Doogie Howser euthinized his first chicken at a cost of £18.70p


Weight Watcher's weigh in 14 stone 10 lbs
Weight Loss last week 1 lb
Total weight loss since 2nd Jan 1 stone 4 lbs



  1. Also just to clarify
    I don't usually take any hens to the vets. most I treat myself... but in this case I could not clear the crop myself.
    In these cases our old vet would deftly and quickly slit open the crop, lavage the contents out and sew up the hen... nowadays everything has to be done under a full general anaesthetic....
    an innapropriate proceedure for a frail old hen!
    hey ho
    perhaps I may do it all myself if the need arise again

  2. Anonymous7:55 pm

    Sorry John...poor old girl. You did a kind thing for her but yes, maybe next time just take matters into your own capable hands.

  3. Sorry about the outcome John.

    It's one of the most worrying problems for me that - impacted crop.

    I often see a bulge in the hens crop of an evening (before they digest thier snap) and then I start to worry, but it has gone in the morning. Still it's enough of a concern that I lace the pellets and corn everyday with extra oyster shell even though they have it in tubs all over the place should they need it.

    You can lead a hen to grit but...

  4. chris
    In 5 years this was my first case!

  5. The first one is the worst....subsequent animals no better. The first animal I had to euthanise was a mouse...I sobbed my heart out.
    Jane x

  6. jane
    I have culled many of my own hens if needed, an old poultry farmer from the village taught me.... getting the vet to do it is far too expensive

  7. Poor thing. Sometimes there's no option though.

  8. Poor little love. xxxx

  9. Bad luck John. Still, only one in five years, you must be doing something right. In addition, you appear to have leadership qualities. It takes a lot of nerve to be able to control the urge to say, 'Get the hell out of it you dozy bastard' and instead say, 'You're doing a grand job'. At the end, you have either been witness to disaster or you have a newly confident and now capable subordinate.

  10. What a lovely girl she was. How kind you were to Dugie. John's world is a great read every day.

  11. tom
    when I was ward manager in spinal injuries I used to help supervise junior doctors who HAD to acknowledge that you as a specialised nurse knew MORE than they did... the best thing you could do was not to crow about their inexperience ( so many nurses do!) but to encourage them.....
    I always told them. "if you make a friend of the nurse helping you.... you have a valuable BACK up!"

  12. always!"
    I should have added

  13. The kid got some experience - the only way he is going to learn. At least he didn't have some pet owner who went to pieces on him at the thought of euthanasia!

  14. Anonymous8:51 pm

    sweet peace Sorrel

  15. I remember the first time I had to euthanize an animal I sobbed my heart out for days.
    Sorry sweet Sorrel couldn't be helped, I'm sure it was the kindest thing for her, considering her age.

    You are a compassionate and kind gentleman John, be it with your fellow-man, or with your menagerie of creatures. I so admire you.

  16. Sorry to hear about Sorrel, AND that you couldn't have hunky lookalike Dr. George to help. He may have been able to do the quick slit and cleanout thing, and may have perhaps been able to show Doogie. I'm guessing that takes a bit of nerve and focus, whilst Doogie was nerves aplenty. sigh.

    Glad you did right by Sorrel and didn't let her suffer needlessly.

    Like you, i've been in situations where i may have had the junior job but knew more than the one with more prestige. Those with real talent could see that i could be useful and make things much easier for them if they treated me as a colleague rather than a less than. Those with more fragile egos could not be persuaded. Their loss.


  17. Oh, John, I am sorry.

    Ditto to everything Jo expressed to you.

    I so enjoyed the video and hearing your voice. Truly I was just thinking the other day that I would love a dvd or audio tape of 'you on the farm'.

    Thank you.

  18. Baby ducks can be quite stupid, they love to eat poisonous toad stools/mushrooms. When my aunt who was an R.N. came home and found one of the lanky teenage ducks almost dead she knew what it had done. She took the scissors and cut him open, washed him out, then sewed him up with needle and sewing thread. Put him in a warm box in the kitchen, and he lived! She said he was going to die anyway, so she couldn't be blamed for killing him if he died.

  19. Sorry to hear that was the only option, John.
    But glad that Sorrel didn't have to suffer.
    Good of you to help the young vet like that, too.

  20. You did a big favour to two creatures, the chicken and the young vet.
    It makes me wonder what happens to other chickens who have the same condition but are not kept by such caring owners......most animals still have a miserable life and a dreadful end.

  21. Oh, that's a shame. And where are all those 12-year vets coming from! We've got one too.

    Hey, well done on the weight loss.

  22. You did the right thing and Sorrel is not hurting. I have read alot of your blog and as someone else commented, you are so compassionate to all of your animals, that's pretty awesome of you.

  23. All hail Queen Sorrel! You did the best thing for her.

  24. So sorry, John, but you did your best.

  25. You have had an awful lot of sad things going on around you lately, but I guess that is a farmer's life. Ebb and flow, ebb and flow.

  26. Poor, dear hen.
    I was just talking to my sister and tonight the vet had to put down her cow and the calf she couldn't deliver. It's been a tough day.

  27. I'm so sorry about Sorrel. But, with you as her caretaker, she had a wonderful and peaceful life.

  28. My exceptionally ugly (compared to yours) Turkens have particularly pronounced crops. I hope I'm not over-feeding them.

  29. A sadness but, as you remarked, ebb and flow. We have 12 year old vets over here too. I thought there were child labour laws in both our countries. It seems not.

  30. CFO
    Some hens are just greedy

  31. Anonymous9:00 am

    What a good person you are [to help put the young doctor out of his misery]. I remember once taking a young cat to the vet for spaying. The practice doctor on holiday, locum new to me. Dear dog in heaven: The guy was drunk. Not drunk as in slurring words. Alcoholic drunk. Elderly, nice guy, sweet, gentle. I didn't want to be cruel or hurt his feelings but there was no way I'd entrusted my cat to his surgery. So I put her back into the basket and left. He knew that I knew. And I shall never forget that sad look in his eyes when he said good bye to me. They do say that the suicide rate among journalists, doctors and vets is higher than in any other profession (vets being the highest). Sorry, going off on a tangent.

    £18.00 to put a chicken down? Count yourself lucky: A cat will cost you a cool £85.00.

    I know it's not funny but if someone had forecast how much interest I'd take in a compacted chicken I would have laughed. But then it's all in the telling. And you, John, tell so well.

    Commiserations. And may Sorrel lay many more eggs in the big sky of a heavenly coop. I wonder how God likes his eggs? Sunny side up? Or hard boiled?


  32. Poor sorrel.
    I had a twelve yr old "Dr" doing my lung function tests . . . "What medications are you on?" he asked as he filled in the form
    "Methadone" I replied . . .
    "Isn't that illegal?" he asked . . OMG
    "No . . That's MethadRone, huge difference . . . and I wouldn't have listed that as medication ;-)"

  33. Oh that poor young vet. I bet they never forget their first euthanasia. When we had our beloved dog put down, our vet was away. We were give the choice of one I couldn;t stand (was no going to have her last moment with him) or one I had never heard of. We ended up with this young girl who immediately tried to think of ways to prolong the dogs life, but once she realized it was futile she did perform the procedure. I believe it was her first because the 2 assistants were being very reassuring to her. I am sure she will never forget my husband and I wailing afterwards. She could barely contain her own tears poor girl. The clinic sent us flowers the next day.

  34. Oh dear, sad to see her go. But at least she is no longer in acute discomfort John.


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