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owl attack, first aid help

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I didn't expect to be posting back here so soon, but here I am.

Monday evening, the chickens decided they'd like to roost on top of the swing set rather than go to bed, and I vowed to do something about this problem the following night and let them stay. Of course 5am rolls around, and I woke up to chicken screaming.


Long story short, all the birds made it, but one is hurt. She has about a quarter sized spot of exposed muscle on either side of her head. it's not bloody or dirty at all. clearly, this owl was trying to take her head off. Yikes.


I left her completely alone that first day because I didn't see anything too disturbing and I didn't want to stress her. Tonight I took her inside and put Neosporin on the areas and she is sleeping indoors. I think it might be something that could be stitched, but it I don't know if it's better to leave it be. It's also not something I have ever done before. She is eating and drinking and mostly acting normal. The tips of her comb are a little dark, which bothers me and is why I brought her inside tonight. I also gave her some leftover oral antinflammitory from our other chicken's problem (which I should go find and update!)


Thoughts? The comb has me worried...

post #2 of 18

As I left for work at 1:30 am this morning sure enough I saw a huge owl sitting on a post of my chicken run. As I approached to investigate he flew off several of my chickens were out of the coupe. leading me to believe he crawled up in there and scared them out. anyways sure enough I had a dead chicken in the middle of the run. Why I bring it up is that she was missing her head. Maybe that's what the owls go after? So where was my rooster through all of this you might ask? He was hiding under several chickens hu.gif What do I have a rooster for if he's going to hide behind the hens?


Anyways since the wounds have been open as long as they have I would leave them at this point. Just try to keep them clean. I had a leghorn who survived a dog attack and had a dime size hole in her thigh area. We just washed it out and put neosporine on it and she pulled through. after the dog attack the comb was a blueish purple color and ice cold. I think it's just from shock!

My flock: 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Partridge Plymouth Rock, 3 Austra White, 2 Plymouth Barred Rock, 1 Ameraucana Rooster


My flock: 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Partridge Plymouth Rock, 3 Austra White, 2 Plymouth Barred Rock, 1 Ameraucana Rooster

post #3 of 18

When I first left  my chicks out to run I saw two huge birds come and rest in a big tree near. They watched the chicks but flew off as soon as they saw me.  I found that predators of  chickens have hooked beaks and these did not look like any hawk picture I saw. ( I determined later with an audubon soc. person that they were Blue-gray Herons and not predators at all.)  However, I took precautions and tied aluminum pie pans on bailing twine and hung them from trees. Also I hung colored plastic bags -anything that would move in a breeze. Motion deters hawks. I heard that owl statues will also depel any other predator so I put a couple of those in the yard. And I noticed that the chicks favorite places were under shrubs, evergreens etc. so that protected them  also.I found they were smarter by nature than me.

To get a bird to go to the coop at night, they should be captured and made to stay in the coop for a couple of days. They learn by habit and will return to the same place after being there for awhile. It worked when I moved them from the garage to the coop and now they always return to the coop. 

post #4 of 18

Clean it twice a day, keep the neosporin to it, it will heal without stitches.  I had a Bad Night last July, 1 had an entire leg degloved,another with her entire rear quarter loose, mangled, floppy - - - you'd never know it now.

post #5 of 18




This is my first time raising chickens and i know we have and owl in out neighborhood and i came out this evening and 3 of my chicks were missing one was hiding under the coop the other two were no where to be found they were much smaller so i guess he carried them off... The one left has a huge wound on its back between wings i guess where it tried to pick him up... also i have this multi care wound liquid spray that i use on my pig and dogs i want to know if it is safe to use on chickens? The ingredients are crude fish oil, raw linseed oil, tea tree oil, and Balsam of Fir. I have her inside she is eating and drinking a little but is just real steal and moving slow when she does move... HELP PLEASE!

post #6 of 18

First of all, nice job keeping her separate.  Chickens are attracted to the color red, and will pick at each other's wounds non-stop.  Neosporin should work fine to prevent any infection, but there is an antiseptic made specifically for livestock such as chickens called "Blue Kote" that can be found at your local feed store.  Blue Kote also dyes the affected area blue, so putting this on your bird once she is healed enough to go back with the rest of your chickens will keep them from picking on her. Sometimes when a traumatic event like this happens, it takes a while for the chicken to realize what has happened to them.  If she does go into a shock phase, put some sugar in her water, feed her some hard boiled egg for extra protein, and try to keep her as calm as possible.  Stitching her up probably isn't a good idea, unless there are obvious flaps of skin. The darkness to her comb probably isn't anything to worry about.  Sometimes it suggests an illness or infection, but because you treated her injury right away I don't think it is anything like that.  It might be frostbite, but I don't know how cold it has been where you are.  I have heard from some people that sometimes their chickens combs just turn blue, for no clear reason, and the chicken ends up being fine.  Another thing, my friend who's chicken was attacked by a hawk told me that the hawk came by every day for the next week waiting to grab another chicken- just be careful.  Hope your chicken gets better!

post #7 of 18

Thanks what should i clean the wound with??? peroxide (dont really want to use because it kills the healing flesh as well) dial soap, or jus the blue kote stuff? i'll go get some blue kote today. What would you recommend giving her for fungal or bacterial infection just in case?

post #8 of 18

If there is any dirt or anything in the wound, soup and water would be fine, then use blue kote over that. That should kill off any infection.

Edited by amnich - 3/21/13 at 9:23am
post #9 of 18

My vet said to rinse the wounds with plain cold water and then coat it in TriCare. I've got a dog-mauled chicken recovering right now.


TriCare seems to be my vets go-to (he's now told me to use it on 3 different horses as well as a gash on my dog he noticed while out treating a horse and now the chicken).... he's a large animal vet but his kids own a million pets and so he's done his share of treating chickens, dogs, cats, birds and so on...

post #10 of 18

what is tricare? I can't find it online.

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