9 week old marans' head is pecked deep

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ole-crone, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. I know what I'm going to do right now so I'm mainly posting this as I think things through. If anyone has a different opinion, or remembers a similar thread, please feel free to share.

    First, some background. I hadn't been feeling well this week and the weather has been awful so my Dh took over taking care of chickens - all I had to do was shut them up at night.

    Today I got the see the results. Dh is a sweet guy but common sense isn't one of his strong points, especially concerning something in which he has little interest - my chickens.

    I have limited mobility as the result of an accident years ago and have to depend on others to help me do my chores. Once things are set up, I can normally do my side of the care but building isn't one of them. He'll surprise me with a new coop but build it facing the wrong way or in an inconvenient area of the yard. I feel so bad when I have to say "Thanks, but..." BUT I do have to point to point out the problems so he'll know what NOT to repeat.

    Anyway, we recently moved our 19 week old chickens to be with last year's crew on Christmas and left the 9 week old ones in the greenhouse. I don't know if this girl cut her head on exposed chicken wire (remember he builds me things but not as carefully as I'd have done it), injured when he was shoveling out the old shavings yesterday (he mentioned that they 'freaked out'), or if she was just pecked by the others from being over-crowded in the old brooker, but she has a huge hole in her head - about the size of a dime!

    As I said, she is a 9 week old Cuckoo Marans. Today the weather was nice enough that I could get out to the greenhouse and visit. Without my glasses she looked like she was growing some funky top feathers. My first reaction was that Ideal Hatchery had sent me a Marans crossed with a Polish. Looking closer I could tell some feather were missing but I had to call Dh to come catch her so I could have a closer view. I was shocked to see that the top of her head is missing!

    Other than the obvious, she seems to be fine. The wound is completely dried and skin appears to be sealed. There is no redness or warmth. I suspect that the extreme cold (It got down to between zero and ten F. at night) prevented any bacteria from growing.

    We brought her into the house and placed her in a clear container so she could see around her. Lonely, she made quite a ruckus when I put her on the back porch but seems to be quite content now in this room with dogs, cats and humans around to watch. She is eating, drinking and preening herself. She is also making a cute, quiet, happy-chirp noise as she watches the activities around her. In other words, she doesn't seem to be bothered by that hole in her head.

    My plan right now is to add some antibiotics to her water and let her rest.

    I'll keep an eye on her and watch the wound closely. As long as it looks clean and dry and there is no redness, I feel it is best just left alone.

    In case you're wondering, there does not appear to be enough skin to stitch it back together. If she survives, she'll probably just have to go through life with a dipsy doodle on the top of her head.

    On another possible sad note, I suspect that I lost my female Muscovy while I've been sick. I don't see her anywhere in the chicken yard and there is a strange depression in the snow suggesting a struggle between ??? and something with feathers.

    The patterns in the snow suggests that if it was her, she was there during the snowstorm - creating the indentation. But either she moved under the tree for added protection or something got her. On the bright side, there are no feathers or blood so she might have just waddled over to the tree and flew up into it. I'll go out again this evening and see if she has shown up. She's a sweetie.
  2. pollysmum

    pollysmum In the Brooder

    Dec 24, 2007
    Sounds like you have everything under control, and the wound has sealed over so its already healing

    I'm sorry about your duck, she may be sitting someplace and just hasn't returned home

    Do you have an enclosed run or open, foxes are about at the moment and they are hungry, so if she was taken by a fox it will be back for more
  3. coloradochick

    coloradochick Songster

    Dec 19, 2007
    Brighton, CO
    Crone, I hope you find her. But on the happy side, your other girl sounds like she will be okay. Good luck.
  4. Chatychick

    Chatychick Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    I would keep her separate till it is healed as they can really bemean and start pecking it and eventually kill her. Sounds like she is doing good ...hope you find your duck soon..
  5. We found the duck! She is in a different chicken run. Must have decided to fly out of the one where the 'bully ducks' live.

    I'm more concerned about raccoons here. I know that we've had fox around in the past - I remember smelling one years ago. It had taken up housing in an abandoned chicken coop next door. Neighbors down the street have complained about them, but the only thing that has given us problems are coons.

    Thanks for your replies. The chicken is still doing fine. I'll let you know if anything changes.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: