Fox Survival Story

By HEChicken · Oct 12, 2012 · ·
  1. HEChicken
    When I interrupted a fox attacking for the second consecutive day, my Cuckoo Marans came running across the yard towards me. There was no sign of injury although her feathers looked ruffled. In any case, my focus was on getting rid of the problem so I didn't have time to examine her. After the fox had been dispatched, I went looking and found her already starting to withdraw. I picked her up and examined her and that is when I discovered the 4 deep puncture bite wounds on her back. I put Neosporin into the wounds and put her back with the others. My feelings regarding segregation are that when a bird is infectious, segregation is important so they don't spread the infection or if they have an injury that will be pecked by the others, they should be segregated, but in this case she wasn't infectious and her wounds weren't visible unless you spread the feathers so I didn't think the others would mess with her. So, I decided she'd probably be happier with others of her kind than add to the stress of the attack by moving her into a strange environment (inside the house) and away from her flock-mates.

    Next morning she was still with me but was completely withdrawn. She wouldn't even move out of the sun to stand in the shade. I moved her around all day to make sure she didn't overheat, and I set her next to the water and food bowls so she could eat and drink. Each night I lifted her onto the roost and woke up early so I could lift her down again next morning. I figured she was probably in pain from her injuries and getting off and on the roost was probably more than she could take.

    Three days went by like this. I didn't see her eat or drink in spite of my best efforts, and I just knew I was losing her. She wasn't showing any signs of snapping out of it either. So I decided to get her an egg, but wasn't sure how I was going to make sure she had access to it without it being eaten by the others first. I got really lucky that by the time I got back with the egg, she was in the coop and only one other hen was with her. I shut the auto door and that gave her an opportunity to take her time to eat. I cracked the egg into a bowl and saw her look towards the bowl with interest - the first interest she had shown in anything in 3 days. She slowly walked over, dipped her beak and started to eat. She didn't eat much but that she ate at all gave me the first ray of hope that she would make it. After that she slowly picked up eating and drinking and a few weeks later started to lay again. I incubated a few of her eggs and now have several of her chicks, that I hope will grow up to be olive eggers, since their daddy is an EE.

    Since this all happened I have noticed a change in her. She was an aloof hen before, but has become very friendly, approaching me when I go out to the coop and often walking between my legs, letting her feathers brush against them on the way through. I don't pretend to know what a chicken "thinks" but it really does feel that she understands how much I tried to help her.

    I hope this survival story provides encouragement for anyone nursing an injured bird, that they can and do recover.

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  1. anirishfarmer
    thanks for that ,fair play to you
  2. HEChicken
    This is not uncommon. What I did is to take some feed bags, and tack them to the top of the nest boxes. That allowed me to pull them down at night to block their access to the nest boxes, but roll them up during the day (I should take pictures - a picture tells a thousand words and its hard to describe). I also had laying hens so that was my solution. If your chicks are only 7 weeks old, it will be a long time before they need the nest boxes so you can block them off more permanently until they are trained to the roost.
    One thing that will help is if the roost is higher than the nest boxes. They want to roost as high as they can get so they will prefer the roost as long as it is higher. In the case of my coop, my roosts were higher but the younger chicks were intimidated by the older birds on the roosts and that is why they were crowding into the nest boxes to sleep. For a couple of nights I picked them up and put them on the roost, after covering the nest boxes so they couldn't get back in them after I left, and that was all it took.
  3. jhammett
    Hello I am in VAlley Center and my chicks are 7 weeks old. They seem to have decided that the straw filled nesting boxes make beter roost than the roost .... HELP

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