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!!