~8 week old savagely pecked by other chickens


9 Years
Jun 6, 2010
Hey all. I hate to make this my first post here, but I need to know if euthanasia is the best option for what has happened.

We had two chickens that we free-range during the day, then put away in their coop at night. The coop is one of these designs: http://www.chickenbarrel.org . We recently purchased three more bantams, and the coop appeared large enough for all the chickens to roost/sit without getting in each other's way.

We like to make sure that the chickens are safe from predators at night, and sometimes this involves shutting the chickens up early. Yesterday we had a bar-b-q to attend at around 6:00pm, and we decided that locking up the chickens early was the best idea, so we gathered them all up into their barrel. The next morning, I went to let them out, and four of the five chickens left the coop, with one of the chicks remaining behind. I discovered that most of it's scalp has been removed, exposing the crainum. It's eyes and neck remain intact, but it's definitely not looking so hot. It is able to move it's head, neck and body, and remains conscious, but I afraid that it has just lost too much skin to grow back.

I have had another chicken attacked by a hawk in the past, and it's injuries, while less severe, involved missing skin/feathers just like this one does. I am just wondering if this will end up killing the bird slowly. There's no need for undue suffering at that point, and I would choose to put it out of it's misery if it means a more humane death.

Thus far, I have attempted to clean it the best I could with a mild peroxide/water mixture, and have used a little neosporin spray afterward to prevent infection, I have sequestered the chicken in a little spot in the basement inside it's own quiet coop. This was what I did for the last chicken. If anybody has any advise, please let me know.


I've seen chickens who have had similar injuries to what your describing (the scalping) pull through but chicks and adults. I had one rooster who a friend brought me because she'd gotten him and just introduced him to her flock (she'd quarantined him and tested him) and her main rooster attacked it, completely scalped the rooster and damaged its comb and neck...I was SURE this bird would die, but I gave my tender hearted friend a pat on the back and took the rooster in to care for it as I had more experience with wounds in chickens...SO...this rooster i cleaned it up good, rubbed neosporin gel on it

p.s. use the cream instead of the spray - it will help with keeping debris out of the wound and keeping it moist)

and plucked the neck feathers to tend to the neck wounds and everything...well the rooster ate and drank, and I gave it vitamins and electrolytes...but...my friend came to visit on day 3 of 'recovery' and the rooster ESCAPES! and i lived at the time right on a patch of woods, so rooster is GONE...no idea where...So friend is heartbroken and I figure well it will be quickly put out of its misery by the fox family that lived in the old condemned barn...

three weeks later I hear a crow that doesn't belong with my flock of birds, sure enough the injured rooster is up in the tree above my coop cockadoodling along with my roosters in the pen...He healed pretty well, we managed to catch him and my friend still has that rooster this year, he's alittle rough looking but the scalp injury scabbed and scarred over and the other injuries sealed up nicely. he's missing feathers around his head he looks bald, and has random patches of facial feathers.

So, i'd give the chick a chance, just keep the wound clean and clear, dont fool with it no mroe than necissary, 2X a day morning and night then just give electrolytes and poly vi sol (baby/childrens - no iron) a few drops in the water for a few days to help boost and perk it up. Also maybe a few drops of an antibiotic as well straight into the bird (needle or via mouth) to help stave off any infections.

good luck!
It's amazing how quickly chickens can heal from what appear to be devastating wounds. I had a young pullet get completely scalped. Her skull was exposed, and there was NO skin on the top of her head whatsoever. I was certain she'd die. I brought her in, put triple antibiotic ointment on her, and kept her in the house until the wound was mostly healed (which was not but about a week and a half). Looking back, I probably should have kept her in longer until there was no visible pink or red skin. I was fortunate that the others didn't fool with her wound very much. The skin and even the feathers grew back, and today she has a thin red line on the back of her head that still has no feathers, but not much of a scar considering what she looked like when first injured. Give this little one a chance.

I'm sorry but no way does that "barrel' look big enough for 5 chickens. Even bantams. It doesn't look like a good idea for any chickens to me.

I've never had such a thing happen to my chicks, but when I've had minor pecking problems the thing to do is stop the appearance of red blood and control any infection. I have had great sucess with a horse ointment called Nolvosan. It's light blue and will cover the appearance of red blood if you have to leave the pecked one in with the rest. As you have separated them its less of an issue.

My recommendations = get a real chicken house and get some Nolvosan ointment in the meantime and see if that works.

i have to agree, that looks waaay to small. we used a 10x10dog kennel and some chicken wire... then built a nesting box off the ground for them. i have 1 banty and 4 big girls...
i cant imagine all of them in that tiny space. even if they are banties! doesnt look very.. ehhh. breathable either.
i have read good things about the nolvosan and chickens.... and i bet the above mentioned triple antiobiotic ointment or neosporin CREAM would work wonders.
Joel- This is my first post here too and I am going through the same thing.
I have three twelve week old babies and I have them fenced off in a corner of the coop to keep the grown hens from pecking them.
Yesterday morning one of the barred rocks, an extremely aggressive heavy weight hen somehow got into the pen with the babies
and when I discovered it, she had already pecked off the back of the head and back of the neck of one of them.
It was a horrible sight.
I didnt know what else to do because it looked to be wayyyy beyond my abilities to deal with, so I took her to the vet.
I knew it would be expensive but ... at that point I would have paid anything to make it better.
So he gave her some pain medication, gave her fluids, because she was getting 'shocky' and when she
came around a little he anesthetized her and cleaned the wound, sutured up the back of her neck (14 staples).
removed the feathers on her upper back to keep the would clean, put her on antibiotics and gave me some cream to
apply to her open wound, which is massive.
Now she wants to eat but when she moves her lower jaw, it moves the cartilage that hinges the beak together, which is exposed right
now and it freaks her out (and I am sure hurts a lot even though she is still on pain meds) and she wont eat or drink.
sooo...i have taken the advice of the forum and am giving her gatorade to keep her hydrated and will start her on yogurt this afternoon
and polyvisol. And then hope for the best.
I have questioned whether I did the right thing by not having her put down yesterday,
so i understand what you are going through.

i am grateful to have this site to refer to and feel a little better after reading about what others have gone through.

I hope it turns out well for you.

I am not sure peroxide is the best thing to use since it destroys tissue I have read, so be careful with it.

Take Care
I don't co mingle my adults with juveniles until they are about the same size. Adult hens can peck a young bird to death in a matter of hours. I also prefer to put in 3-4 new birds at a time to "spread the beatings" amongst them......

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