An elderly woman from South Australia has died after being pecked at by her “aggressive” rooster while collecting eggs from the chicken coop at her backyard.
The rooster reportedly pecked her lower left leg, causing her to haemorrhage and collapse. Autopsy revealed that the rooster punctured a varicose vein with its beak, causing it to bleed profusely.
The identity of the woman has been withheld to avoid further trauma to her family, according to sources.
The incident has prompted a public warning of the hidden dangers of seemingly harmless animals, especially for elderly people.
“We just have to respect animals, there is the potential that they can cause injury, particularly if you’re older and more vulnerable,” University of Adelaide Professor of Pathology Roger Byard, said.
Professor Byard, who studied the woman’s death, told ABC News;
“What we’re trying to do is use these tragic cases to try and prevent similar deaths in the future.”
“[This case] made us realize how vulnerable the elderly are, [varicose veins] are very easy to damage.
“Older people are also not as good at defending themselves against animal attacks, their balance might not be as good.”
Professor Byard’s study which has been published in the journal of Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology, focused on the dangers for elderly people who had varicose veins.
Varicose veins are twisted and enlarged veins which bulge above the skin’s surface. The problem is that people with varicose veins could bleed very quickly, the professor said.
“I’ve had a number of cases where people have just been wandering around in their home and just run into furniture which has caused a small injury,” he added.
“They haven’t known what to do and have died from it.”
While the Prof admitted rooster attacks are rare, he said the woman’s death by rooster attack, has raised concerns about the dangers of small domestic animals.
“They are very rare, there have been a couple of cases overseas where children have been pecked by roosters because they have thin skulls and the rooster has actually caused brain damage,” he said.
“There was another fellow in California who was at a rooster fighting pit and a rooster had a knife attached to its leg and stabbed or slashed him.”
The Prof said elderly people with varicose veins need to understand they may be vulnerable.
“There are a couple of messages, one is never trust a rooster … the second one is if you’ve got varicose veins, get something done about it,” he said.