Woman Bleeds to Death After Rooster Pecked at Her Leg While She Collected Eggs

A woman bled to death after a rooster pecked at her leg while she was collecting eggs on her property in Australia.

In what experts described as a "fatal rooster attack," the unnamed 76-year-old woman was picking up eggs at her home in rural Australia when the bird began pecking at her lower left leg, according to a case study published in the journal Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology.

By nipping at the woman, the bird triggered a significant hemorrhage, causing the woman to collapse and die. The victim had a history of high blood pressure; hyperlipidemia where the blood contains too much fat; diabetes; and varicose veins.

An autopsy focused on her lower left, which was covered in dried blood. Examiners discovered two small, deep cuts on her leg. One was above a large varicose vein.

The woman's death was put down to exsanguination, or her blood being drained from her body from her varicose vein following the attack.

Researchers wrote in the paper: "This case demonstrates that even relatively small domestic animals may be able to inflict lethal injuries in individuals if there are specific vascular vulnerabilities present."

Roger Byard, co-author of the case study and Professor of Pathology at the University of Adelaide told Newsweek the case "draws attention to the vulnerability of elderly folk with varicose veins to minor trauma, even from a rooster peck. Lethal rooster attacks are very rare."

"Treat all animals, even small ones with respect. If you have varicose veins, have them treated. If you have them untreated be very careful of minor injuries," said Byard.

"These deaths are preventable," he continued, advising: "If a vein is punctured apply pressure to the bleeding point, lie down, elevate the leg and get help."

The research was part of his project examining accidental deaths to work out how to prevent similar cases in the future, he said.

Byard told Australia's ABC: "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."

According to the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, weakness or damage to vein walls and valves can cause varicose veins. This includes when blood pressure increases in the veins. They often occur in the legs, but can also affect the rectum; testicles; esophagus; stomach or liver. Pregnancy, obesity and constipation are linked to varicose veins. Older people, those who sit or stand for long periods or are sedentary, and individuals with a family history, are are also at risk.

Lifestyle changes such as reaching a healthy weight, sitting correctly, and being physically active can treat varicose veins, as well as wearing compression stockings, or taking medication. Some people may need to undergo surgery.

This article has been updated with comment from Roger Byard.

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A stock image of a rooster. A woman in Australia bled to death after being pecked by one of the birds. Getty