Afraid we may have to amputate wing


Aug 29, 2019
Hi all,
Love this site and use it frequently when I need to look something up. Now I have a problem that I am open to advice for. Long post so I apologize...
We live on 10 acres with a barn that is now housing our chickens temporarily until we are finished with a new coop (previous one burned down in the winter...another story). We turned one of the stalls into a full blown coop surrounded with chicken wire. We added chicks this spring and they are now about 6 months and just starting to lay. Just a few weeks ago, we started letting them out to free range, locking them up at night. A little over a week ago my daughter noticed one hen, Brie, had a bloody wing and the wing was hanging down and she texted me at work. When i got home that night, I saw that it looked like a wound on the top of the wing was all and I wasn't sure if the wing was broken or if she was holding it that way cause it hurt. We aren't sure how she got hurt as she was one of the ones that didn't ever leave the barn even though we let them out to free range. We cleaned it, put neosporin on it and blue cote and separated her from the flock in separate area (dog run inside a stall made into a "chicken hospital"). The next day my daughter said she looked better and was more feisty...good. However, the NEXT day, she texted me at work saying she didn't think the chicken would make it and the wing now smelled and had maggots. WTH? in one day?? My daughter was so upset, she gets sooo attached to all our animal. First thing i did was call a vet that sees birds. They said it would cost a starting cost of $250 to see the chicken and that didn't include any treatment. My husband was no way. So I came here. Read lots of posts on what to do with wounds (thank you, thank you, thank you). I stopped at north40 on my way home to stock up. I am so kicking myself for not bringing her in the house the minute we saw the injury. So when I examine her i was shocked on how much it had changed in 2 days. The maggots were all over the wing with multiple wounds now, not just the one. We have a deep sink with a sprayer so that helped. We spent about 2 hours removing maggots with tweezers..had to be over 200 easy. She smelled horrible. We used hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial soap, betadine/water. Finished with a big coat of neosporin, gave her a shot of penicillin and wrapped her up. We are keeping her in the a dog crate in the laundry room. The next day there were probably just as many maggots but these were tiny ones that hatched overnight. Again removed them all, treated wounds as before, and this time we also sprayed her with screw worm spray(permethrin). The next day, we could only find 3 maggots and the smell was getting much better. We did the same stuff and sprayed her again. That was the end of the maggots. We did the penicillin a total of 4 days and now we are just cleaning the wound, putting neosporin and rewrapping. Overall she is doing well but this is my concern. Yes the infection and maggots are gone and the hen seems to be doing well. But I also know if this trauma disrupted the blood flow to any part of the wing, it will die and gangrene will set it and it will kill the bird. Just for giggles I called the vet back and asked what it would cost if we set up an appt for an amputation. No xray needed, no emergency fee etc. Starting price was $1200-2000. Geez. I wish I had taken photos earlier but didn't really think of it until now so these are photos from tonight just before her treatment. The photos don't show it as well as i would like but you can see some of the bone. Most the dark is still the screw worm spray as it was blue/black. Any chance this WON'T need to be amputated? and instead of using neosporin, what should I be using? I think I saw some posts about medihoney? think that would be good to switch to? The weird thing about all of this is I am a physician (family practice) but I feel so out of my element. I am thinking if it does come to amputation, I am the one that will have to do it but that terrifies me, I'm not a vet and even though I'm a doc, I'm not a surgeon. The worst I usually deal with is an occasional suturing or an abscess drainage. Bad wounds I send to wound care. So I guess the advice i need is what to continue to dress wound with and when does someone know it is time to amputate? And when it is time, what is used for anesthesia? I don't want the bird to die from shock from the pain, now that she is healing and acting more normal. chicken1.jpg chicken2.jpg chicken3.jpg chicken4.jpg


BYC Staff
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Jun 24, 2012
The Golden State
Last edited:


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
I have never amputated a chicken’s wing, but I would never give a chicken or let a vet give anesthesia, since chickens do not tolerate it. Most people don’t use any lidocaine or benzocaine on chickens since those can be toxic in large amounts, but vets do use those doing surgeries to numb or control bleeding. So you could get one of the OTC lidocaine sprays or creams at the drug store to use sparingly if you do decide to amputate, or just do it quickly after amputating. Ice might be good to use locally.

I think you have done a good job already, controlling the maggots and infection. You have more knowledge that most to continue to treat this. Many chickens do well with only one wing.

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