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A 76-year-old Australian woman has died following the attack of one of her roosters while she was collecting eggs. According to a paper in Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology, the resulting death was caused by hemorrhage created when the rooster pecked her lower left leg.
According to the researchers, an autopsy showed that two small bleeding lacerations, as well as dried blood on her left leg, one of which was “located immediately over a perforated large varix.” Researchers think that the death was caused by exsanguination from bleeding varicose veins following the attack.
The researchers decided to report on this attack as part of a larger project that seeks to understand and prevent abnormal deaths in the future.
The woman’s past medical history reveals that she had numerous conditions treated which suggested that she would be more susceptible to hemorrhaging, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and varicose veins.
“Roosters are well known for their aggressive behaviour, sometimes associated with territoriality, which may result in attacks on humans. Children are at particular risk with injuries occurring particularly to the head from beaks or spurs,” say researchers Judith Fronczek and Roger W. Byard. “Such injuries from rooster attacks often center on the eyes and have been associated with skull fractures and subsequent eye infections. Infections may also rarely be associated with retained spurs within wounds that will necessitate eventual surgical removal and abscess drainage.”
According to the report, the woman cried out to her husband before collapsing in the driveway but had died by the time police arrived. Police noted blood inside the chicken coop, as well as a pool in the area where she had fell.
“Although a wide variety of animal activities may cause deaths in humans, ranging from dismemberment to envenomation, this is the first case of fatal exsanguination that was caused by a rooster attack that we are aware of,” say Fronczek and Byard. “A similar case involving a superficial scratch from a domestic cat causing fatal bleeding from lower leg varicose veins has been previously encountered although not reported.”
According to the two researchers, death by rooster pecking is incredibly rare, with only three cases that they could find. The first was a 16-month-old who died after a rooster peck caused a large brain abscess. The second was a two-year-old boy who died of head injuries. And the third is the case of a 35-year-old who was killed by a rooster during an illegal cock fight.