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Infected wound, advice please!!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

It is a very long story, but three of our hens were eaten alive by another hen, who eventually killed herself. One hen died before we knew anything was wrong, we caught the other two in time. Tissie had the smallest hole in her belly, about 3 inches in diameter, and she is fully healed and back in the flock. Aukie was not so lucky. Her story is longer.


About 2 months ago when we discovered Aukie that day she was barely able to stand, or even keep her eyes open. When I turned her over the hole in her belly went from near her vent to her chest. Several inches of her breastbone were exposed. With the help of an article on here I washed her out and sewed her up. I wouldn't have thought it was worth it except she was our favorite hen, and belongs to our daughter, who was at a friend's house for the night. I felt like I had to at least try to save her. I didn't think she would make it through the night, but she showed us how strong her will to live was!


Several weeks afterward, and one round of penicillin later, the scab (with all the sutures) fell off and the wound looked very normal underneath. A few weeks later she started laying again, but the scab kept growing, then shedding over and over. She has probably gone through 5 scabs by now. Her companion, Tissie, has meanwhile completely healed, though her injury was much less. Aukie just isn't making progress. Early this week I noticed she was running a fever, so we started another round of penicillin. I also have been soaking her in warm epsom salt water, which she LOVES! I have been using Wonder Dust on the scabby area. She has been separated since the injury in August. Her cage is butted up to the big coop with our 5 other hens, hoping that will make reintroduction easier. Certainly Tissie had no problem, and actually I think she came out significantly higher in the pecking order than she started!


The wound is HARD, making me wonder if the bone is what I am feeling. The scab seems to ooze a little, but it's clear, sometimes tinged with red. It sometimes feels hot near the scab, even when she doesn't have a fever. She acts completely normal, lays an egg most days, drinks the electrolyte vitamin water I've been making for her, and eats a LOT.  I just don't know what else I can do to help her heal faster. I am afraid to try to drain the wound, but I sewed up a live chicken, so I think I can handle it if it's necessary!


Any ideas? I will post a picture in a little bit, but I need my daughter's help. Aukie is so sick of being turned over to be messed with or to get shots-- it's no longer a one-person job! Kat will be home from school in about 1/2 hour and we will get a picture when we have Aukie turned over for her last dose of penicillin.


Thank you for any advice you can give!!

post #2 of 9

I'm so sorry for your loss! I did not know of hens killing each other, then committing suicide--but I'm not too surprised. Chickens are weird.


For wounds I have always used Veterycin wound and infection spray. It does not contain any antibiotics, so if there's a strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria causing your hen trouble, it will kill it. It also does a great job of encouraging new tissue to heal the wound. It's available at a lot of feed stores


Hope Aukie feels better soon! :) ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~


Reply ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~


post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 


post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

It was really weird. The guilty hen (a white leghorn named Winter) was always pretty aggressive, even toward us. She just snapped and started eating her friends. We didn't know what was going on at first, in fact, I thought Winter must be hurt also because her head was bloody... When I saw her eating Aquafire (Aukie) I pulled her out into solitary confinement. She must have thrown herself at the walls all night long. By morning she looked like she had been in a bar fight. One eye was swollen shut, she had almost no feathers on her head or neck, and she had dirt crammed down her throat and up her nostrils so she couldn't breathe. She couldn't stand or hold her head up and had already developed a fever. I wonder if she had some sort of brain infection or something that caused her to go nuts. Two months later and no one else has behaved anything like that, so I don't think it was contagious. I culled her that afternoon, and I feel like everyone is much safer now!

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Oh, and in the pictures, the blackness is not so black in real life. It is more of a brown, with a gray tinge from the Wonder Dust. I cut off and picked out the feathers that are stuck in it in the picture, and the scab started to come off a little again. No pus, but the darn thing just won't heal!!


My neighbor stopped by right then and said he has a some wound salve his vet calls "Axle Grease" that they use on all their farm animals, but they don't have chickens. He is going to bring me some, but I'm going to try to find out the ingredients. I know to stay away from any -caine. He said it really softens up hard wounds. I was glad he came by because as soon as Aukie felt the alcohol on her chest she FLIPPED out, knowing what comes next! It was nice to have another set of hands! Hopefully she is all done with penicillin now.


I have bought every other wound product they have at the co-op and the Tractor Supply, so I guess I will round out my arsenal with the Vetricyn! Thanks for the suggestion. That is definitely one that I read a lot of good stuff about on here.


I was really hoping that she would be healed up and back in with everyone else by our vacation later this month, but that's not happening. Oh well, that's what neighbors are for, right?!

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Anyone?? There are yucky pictures to see here. The top one is from the side, and the breastbone is near my daughter's thumb. The scab and everything around it is HARD.

In the bottom picture the original wound was from the towel down to where the feathers start, and from one thigh to the other! You can see the scarring at the bottom of the scab, and a bit at the top, over the breastbone.

The purple feathers are from the BlueKote I used on her a month ago or so. The scab is not so black as it shows up here (more brownish), but the Wonder Dust has made it darker. Is this ever going to heal??
post #7 of 9

Could you maybe take her to the vet? 

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by sroy View Post

Could you maybe take her to the vet? 

Every vet in our area laughs at you if you call asking about a chicken. I've already put waaaay more effort into this hen than anyone around here considers sane. I live in farm country. Animals are not pets in these parts. sad.png
post #9 of 9

Well that stinks. I live in the country too, but we have a vet that takes care of any kind of animal just about. I've taken chicks there and seen pigs in the waiting room. Wish you lots of luck with poor little hen. 

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