A common injury that chickens suffer is an injury to their combs. This injury most commonly occurs when a hen or rooster are attacked by an aggressive rooster. If no roosters are present in the flock, the chickens could be injured by poking their head out through the chicken wire around their run. Once they pull their head back through, the comb can become stuck and be damaged by the fencing. If you are a new chicken owner there is no need to panic. Treating the injured chicken is not very difficult.
1. The first thing to do is to remove the injured chicken from the rest of the flock. An injured chicken in a flock is often attacked by the other chickens, resulting in a worse injury or even death. The healthy chickens will attack sick or weaker birds to prevent the flock from being affected by the illness or weakness of the unhealthy chicken.
2. Place the chicken in a secure temporary holding pen. The bird will have to remain in the pen until the comb has fully healed. The healing time takes approximately one month. Make sure to set the pen up with adequate food and water. The food and water supply should be checked daily.
3. Once the injured chicken is secure in a temporary pen, you can begin treating the injury. A product, such as the pictured Quick Blood Stopper, can be used on the comb to stop the bleeding and to prevent infection. Quick Blood Stopper can be purchased at any store that carries pet supplies. A bottle of Quick Blood Stopper costs $5 - $7. If the comb injury is severe, the comb can be removed without any ill-effects to the bird. According to… www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-trim-a-chickens-injured-comb-or- wattle.html you can cut off the injured part of your chicken’s comb yourself. The procedure will cause the bird some pain, but it will subside quickly. If you are hesitant to perform the removal yourself, a veterinarian can do the procedure.
4. Make sure the injured chicken is isolated from the flock until it has fully recovered. If any sign of injury remains, the other chickens may attack the bird when reintroduced to the flock. After the injury heals, reintroduce the chicken back to the rest of the flock.
5. Reintroduction is most smoothly done when the birds are roosting for the night. Some minor fighting is common as the chickens re-establish the pecking order. If the fighting does not cease within a few hours, it is possible the injured bird will not be accepted back into the flock. The options if this happens are to keep the bird in a separate pen permanently, find another owner for the bird or slaughter the bird for food.
Two Rhode Island Reds that are a part of my chicken flock suffered injuries to their combs. In both instances, after following the steps above, the chickens fully recovered with their combs still intact. Both chickens were able to be reintroduced back into the flock without incident.
By, Vickie Frantz
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