Koi attacked by a Great Blue Heron


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My one year old koi was attacked by a heron two weeks ago. She was laying on top of a water plant when I found her right after I scared the heron away. She was poked in the head and had a bruise on her right side. She's still alive and I have had her quarantined in salt water. She initially floated upside down and then three days later laid on the bottom of the quarantine tub. She's been doing that for 10 days now. Not eating. I try to lift her upright and try to get her to eat or swim but she falls back down on her side. The last two days, when I try to feed her, she gets a burst of energy and tries to swim around the tub. She's too big and the tub is too small for swimming. Then she'll fall back down to the bottom of the bottom. Still without eating.

Last night, I put her back in the pond since she has an injury and not an illness. I thought because she was trying to swim, maybe she'd be encouraged by the other fish. The other fish have shown a lot of interest in her and her "twin" will actually just sit next to her.

I've had people tell me to give her time and that because she's lived over a week with the head injury, there's still hope. I was even told by one pond store that they had a koi swim for a month on its' side, although it ate, it eventually recovered. That took a month.

Yesterday, I noticed my koi now has gotten a bent tail. Is my fish dying a slow death, which I do not want to make her suffer!, or Is that the quarantine box was too small? Or is she just declining?

Lacey is at the bottom of the heavily netted pond and the koi swimming next to her is her twin. I purchased both at the same time and they've been inseparable.

Any suggestions or thoughts would be so helpful. I don't want my fish to suffer but I don't want to give up on her either.

Thank you.
 

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Oh no... I'm afraid she is dying. While I would have done the same as you and tried to save her, I think it's clear she isn't going to make it.
 

mrsclem

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If shes not eating then very little chance for recovery. Get some clove oil from pharmacy or health food store. A few drops in the quarantine tank at first , then keep adding more. She will just go to sleep.
 
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Animals can recover from serious injury. I would give her more time. She is with her family in the home she is used to, and her body is fighting to survive. It may be an unsurvivable injury. But you won't know until she recovers, or passes. If she passes, she was with family which is good, since there is no reason to think she is contagious. I would have done exactly the same as you have done, and give her more time in the pond.
 
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I read about some remarkable recoveries from heron strikes. Did you clean the would with an antiseptic? How does the wound appear now?

I agree she doesn't look good, but I'd be inclined to give her a little more time, keeping the water pristine and plenty of O2. So sorry this happened :(
 
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My one year old koi was attacked by a heron two weeks ago. She was laying on top of a water plant when I found her right after I scared the heron away. She was poked in the head and had a bruise on her right side. She's still alive and I have had her quarantined in salt water. She initially floated upside down and then three days later laid on the bottom of the quarantine tub. She's been doing that for 10 days now. Not eating. I try to lift her upright and try to get her to eat or swim but she falls back down on her side. The last two days, when I try to feed her, she gets a burst of energy and tries to swim around the tub. She's too big and the tub is too small for swimming. Then she'll fall back down to the bottom of the bottom. Still without eating.

Last night, I put her back in the pond since she has an injury and not an illness. I thought because she was trying to swim, maybe she'd be encouraged by the other fish. The other fish have shown a lot of interest in her and her "twin" will actually just sit next to her.

I've had people tell me to give her time and that because she's lived over a week with the head injury, there's still hope. I was even told by one pond store that they had a koi swim for a month on its' side, although it ate, it eventually recovered. That took a month.

Yesterday, I noticed my koi now has gotten a bent tail. Is my fish dying a slow death, which I do not want to make her suffer!, or Is that the quarantine box was too small? Or is she just declining?

Lacey is at the bottom of the heavily netted pond and the koi swimming next to her is her twin. I purchased both at the same time and they've been inseparable.

Any suggestions or thoughts would be so helpful. I don't want my fish to suffer but I don't want to give up on her either.

Thank you.
It begs the question why we don't all buy an air rifle as these birds aren't scarce anymore and they also take lots of salmon parr from our rivers which are deteriorating fast as the salmon and sea trout disappear due to various reasons but they all add up to lifeless rivers.The uk government have a protection order on this bird but we need one on our Koi which are extremely expensive to purchase and are similar to pet dogs for a lot of us as we care about them.
 
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@bburnrover - I would't recommend it. Unless the law changes, you'd be in hot water here in the US anyway.

I think it's kind of unfair to suggest that one animal preying on another animal is somehow out of order. The heron is only doing what it needs to for survival, same as any other animal or even human. When we put fish into a backyard pond, it's not a natural situation for them, so it's incumbent on the pond owner to take steps to protect the fish from predators. Where we live we have a lot of coyotes that are not afraid to come into a yard and snatch a small dog - I would therefore never leave my small dog outside to fend for herself. But I wouldn't blame the coyote for acting on it's nature.
 
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@Lisak1 - I agree. You can't blame the local fish eating predators from going for the 'easy pickin's'. We put brightly colored fish in a relatively small & obvious location - it's no surprise when someone shows up to try & make a meal of one. We do our best, but sometimes things just happen. I have one recovering (fingers crossed) from a rather major injury right now. Not sure what happened (although I have my suspicions) but he was/is pretty banged up & bruised. :(
 
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@bburnrover - I would't recommend it. Unless the law changes, you'd be in hot water here in the US anyway.

I think it's kind of unfair to suggest that one animal preying on another animal is somehow out of order. The heron is only doing what it needs to for survival, same as any other animal or even human. When we put fish into a backyard pond, it's not a natural situation for them, so it's incumbent on the pond owner to take steps to protect the fish from predators. Where we live we have a lot of coyotes that are not afraid to come into a yard and snatch a small dog - I would therefore never leave my small dog outside to fend for herself. But I wouldn't blame the coyote for acting on it's nature.
Hi
Reading the report above the heron actually did not eat the Koi it just stabbed it! How often do heron's damage our fish stocks and not use them for nourishment but just for sadistic entertainment? I spend lots of money both salmon fishing and stocking our large pond with fish only to see the rivers full of herons preying on our future fish stocks. I believe similar things occur in the USA because your anglers used to catch salmon for the table now they have to release them back into the river as the stocks of fish have reduced so much. The protection of both seals and herons maybe seen as a good thing to do by ignorant Green Party members but do they actually see the big picture because other creatures are not as cuddly but they will still end up extinct because of over predation.The Scottish estate owners in the UK have to cull numerous dear every year to maintain their environment at the correct levels to sustain an healthy balance.
 
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You think herons are protected because they're "cuddly"? I am not opposed to humans being a part of the food chain. If herons were edible I'd say we should be allowed to hunt them, but that's not the case. I'm not even opposed to a farmer who needs to kill a predator that's taking out his animals - again, he's put those animals in an indefensible position. It's his job to protect them and if killing a coyote is the only way to keep chickens safe on a farm, then you have to do it. But wild animal vs wild animal - nature takes care of that quite nicely. If salmon are endangered (which I know nothing about - but it seems to me we can still readily buy wild caught salmon in the US, so I question the supposition) I guarantee you it's not the fault of any natural predator.

You're attributing human emotion to an animal behavior. Herons aren't killing for "entertainment". They aren't killing for fun. Do they kill and leave fish? Yes. But I guarantee you it's because they realize it's just too big to get down their throat. And in the wild, any fish that was killed and left by a heron will be quickly consumed by another animal... that just doesn't happen as readily in a suburban backyard.
 
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We agree to differ, your salmon are farmed salmon they are not wild. The Atlantic salmon are the ones the european countries are worrying about.I live in rural Wales so do not know much about suburbia ,I do know that since the mass culling of young cuddly seals was stopped we have a plethora of them in our estuaries predating on the salmon that have swum great distances to lay their eggs into our rivers, the ones that get through are having their offspring eaten or stabbed by the herons.
 
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