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Hawk attack wound. How do I treat it.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Earlier today one of my 11 month old hens was attacked by a hawk. I saw it right after it happened and scared the hawk off within seconds of the attack. I thought she was dead when I got to her as she had a little blood coming out of her mouth. There is a nasty gash in her neck which I cleaned as best I could with peroxide and then I put neosporin. I didn't see any other wounds.

At first she lay there without opening her eyes, just breathing. She slowly opened her eyes and lay there for a little while. Then stood up and now is walking around but is a little wobbly. I tried to keep her contained in a basket but she kept flying out. So, I held her for about an hour while I did some computer work. Finally, I decided to put her back in the coop at around dusk because I figured she would be more comfortable in her environment than in my house in a cage.


Anybody have any experience what to do next? She wasn't eating when I put her up. I will see how that goes tomorrow.

Provided she is still alive, should I clean the wound again tomorrow? She is an Easter egger and has a thick set of feathers around her neck making it hard to get in there.

Should I bring her back in the house?

Will the cold affect her? It is in the 20-30 degree range here.

Do these wounds typically heal or could the hit to her neck cause neurological problems too?

Felt so bad for her. Now I have to try to thwart further attacks. Really stinks.



post #2 of 6

How bad is the gash?  Size?  Is it a puncture wound?  Hopefully someone with more experience will respond soon, I'm new to this (2013) and luckily never had any injuries.  Peroxide "fizzes out junk & can also irritate new tissue but it was a good first washing, saline solution maybe good to use but IF the wound is deep and still bleeding, a Vet maybe best.  


Me being me, I'd bring her in:)  A box or laundry basket with a blanket/towel over it, just so you can monitor any bleeding and prevent the others from picking on her in the morning.  Chickens love picking on things.  Hope others will have better help than I have been & hope she's ok.  I have 2EE and they've got personalities :)

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi ChickNanny,


Thank you for your input. I checked on her this morning and she seems to be doing okay. She had come down from the roost by herself and was eating with the others. I will bring her a treat later. It is snowing today but not too cold/ windy so I think I will leave her in with the others. They seem to be staying in the coop today, 

The wound had quit bleeding yesterday. It looked deep but I have no medical experience to be able to assess the severity of it. Being that the neck is so skinny, maybe it would look bad no matter what. All I know it really didn't bleed a lot and had quit bleeding very shortly after the attack, so there has been no ongoing bleeding. She has such thick neck feathers that it isn't visible so I don't think the other girls will be able to see it, nor peck at it.

Other than that she looks like she is doing okay. Time will tell. 


Still, if anybody knows if I should continue to treat the wound, let me know. I don't want it to get infected.



post #4 of 6

A predator attack is a very traumatic experience and your bird was likely in shock.

I would bring her to a warm place, as an injured, ill, or bird in shock can become hypothermic.

Keep her warm, monitor her eating and drinking, and make sure the wound is healing with no issues.

Neosporin (without pain killer) is fine to use.  If you need to do any further cleaning I would use saline or Vetericyn wound and skin care spray, available at many feed stores and on line.

You may need to trim feathers from around the wound to keep it clean and clear. 

Other chickens will often peck at wounds, so I would not put her back with the others until you are sure she's recovered and the wound has healed up.  If its superficial skin wounds and there is no infection, they will probably heal up just fine.

If you think it's worse than that, a picture would be helpful in offering advice.

Hope she recovers.

post #5 of 6

Sorry, didn't see your last post until after I submitted.  Wanted to give you this link for future reference...

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the link. I just wanted to update. After one week of being attacked, Chubby is doing great. She had a wound to the back of her neck that is healing well. I did end up taking her to the vet because I had read so much conflicting information about how to treat her and when I let them free range a couple of days later, i noticed she wasn't ranging much. She would just stand off in the corner puffed up. So, I called the vet (two days after the attack) to get his opinion. He said not to use neosporin or any oil based product is the muscle or nerves were exposed. He said just to use a sterile saline wash. There seemed to be a little green spot developing so I was worried about infection and that's why I decided ultimately to bring her in but they couldn't see her until Monday as he is the only "avian" vet available. On Monday, he said the wound wasn't into the muscle and prescribed her antibiotics  for the little bit of infection and otherwise he said she looked really good and didn't have any other signs of damage which he was afraid of, such as internal damage to a lung etc. 

Just for reference to others who may be in the same boat, he gave her a 7 day course of Clavamox (125 mg twice a day), basically the equivalent of Augmentin in humans. I crush the tablet and put it in a teaspoon of yogurt to make sure she eats it all. 

Otherwise, still washing the wound out once a day and it looks alot better and she is almost back to her old self.

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