Another Racoon Attack - Badly injured hen, need advice!? **Edit: GRAPHIC PIC


Feb 16, 2013
Sarasota, FL
Hi All,

One of these days i'll post something positive on here, but since July our bird keeping luck has disappeared...

This morning we got up at 8am to find Smooth (our last BO) was the newest victim of the raccoons and had not survived. Unlike the attack on the last two birds, Smooth's chest cavity was not hollowed out so much, but the scene, her wounds and the lack of anything around her neck bones were exactly the same as we had seen before. Why they would kill her and not eat her makes me wonder if they were scared off by something or decided it was then too light out to dine on her.

Unfortunately, they also attacked Feisty, one of the three birds (all RIRs) remaining. Either fortunately or unfortunately, she was still alive.

When we found her, she was limping, had blood running down the front of her left leg from what looks like two small linear cuts running left to right across the bare part of her leg, a small cut on her crown that was bleeding down her face, and gaping, ragged chunks of flesh ripped from around her neck area and the top of her chest. It's bad, but in a different way. Maybe worse, because she may be missing some muscle.

I guess I have trouble writing short posts - sorry! - but what I need help with is this:

- I've read several posts mentioning superhero chickens who pulled through ridiculous injuries, such as this one, so I don't want to cull her, unless several people here think I should end her pain.

- I brought her inside in a plastic sysco conatiner, ~16"x24". I tried halfheartedly to clean off some mud in the sink with plain warm water but was afraid it or my rubbing would hurt her and I avoided the neck wounds completely for fear of water going where it shouldn't. Should I take her back to the sink to see exactly how mad the wounds are, try ot clean them and cut off feathers that are in the way, etc...

- Do I leave her for a bit to let her rest, or do I stress her out and tend to her wounds? And how do I go about that?

She is next to me in the box while I sit at the computer, half covered in a towel so she won't get cold from being partially wet...she's quiet and closes her eyes every once in a while but i think shes having trouble breathing because she sometimes opens her mouth like she's hot.

I have a huuuge deadline due monday that i cannot mess up, and we are leaving to visit my family early monday morning for ten days too, so as selfish as this sounds, i do not have time to give 100% of my attention to Feisty. Good thing my bf's mother who will be chicken/cat sitting is an RN and loves the birds as much as we do.

Hopefully someone can help me decide what to do!
Once I had a raccoon bit off all the toes of my Red Star I got her inside, rinsed off her wounds, and wrapped her toes up. Almost everyday I would have to change the wounds. Here's how she looked like:

Do you have pictures of your chicken? It might help us know how serious the wounds are.
OMG! Poor thing, so good she has you to take care of her!

I'm afraid to stress her out, she has her neck against her back so her feathers cover most of the damage, but the area at the top of her chest/base of her neck is kind of visible. I'll see if I can get a picture of that area without bothering her too much...I know pics say 1k words...
I went to the store to get pedialyte (Family Dollar apparently makes a knock-off and doesn't sell the real thing). Tried getting her to drink a little from a plastic pipette and she doesn't want it. When she pulls her head away from her chest I can see the damage better; there's a big hole...

This is most of whats going on on the front of her neck but theres more you cant see here and the back looks similar, i think theres chunks missing and the skin is all ragged
So she's decided to stand up and stay there...i snapped these pics just now. i know they're not great, but it's all i can manage at the moment.

I would clean her off better to get the dirt out--with soap, weak betadine, or peroxide used just once, and then apply neosporin or other antibiotic ointment. She will need the ointment applied daily, and she should be inside in a cage to prevent flies from laying maggot larvae in the wound. The wound should eventually heal from the inside out and shrink up, but infection could be a problem.
I think you'll find some useful information on this thread:

Raccoons are one of the few predators that kill for pleasure. Evidence proves countless accounts of them maiming animals without eating them. They're bandits with masks and a bullet is the only solution for them. Cage traps, leg hold traps work well. They prefer canned cat food and fish. Keeping poultry is a full time job. Pens and housing must be predator proof and range managed. You have to be up early to let them out and home to lock them in before dark. I sure hope your bird recovers.
Thanks, me too.

I'm wondering if I should wait a bit more though before I stress her out more by cleaning the wounds thoroughly? I have weak betadyne for cleansing bottles etc. for homebrewing, so I can use that to flush the area. I'll ask my bf to get non pain relief neosporin on his way home from work today because the toxic stuff is all i have at the moment. i do have soap that kills mrsa so that should help prevent infection.

I think the coop itself is safe, but the free range run (half our yard fenced off) is not. The raccoons must have waited until the door opened and ran inside. We were having the door go up at 6:30am before the chickens would trample it in a hurry to get out because we've had so many issues with the door getting off kilter and not closing at all...thought we were protecting them by keeping the door intact. apparently it was just barely too dark still and the raccoons were still active.

Now that our flock is down to two...possibly three, we want to build it back up again, but before we do we'll have to both build an enclosed run and probably also use electric netting...i'm not sure i'd feel safe without both. and nix the raccoons. i feel terrible caging them, but it seems that that is the only way to keep them alive with so many predators around. the other day i walked out to find a hawk on the bird bath and the chickens huddled in a corner of the run maybe 4 feet away...i had no idea keeping chickens or ducks would be so difficult. or heartbreaking. or rewarding, honestly, but it's so not as simple as it originally seemed.

p.s. thanks for the link, very helpful, and similar to what Feisty is dealing with I think...
I think that it would be alright for you to clean the wounds now, you can use a blow dryer to dry off her feathers too. I read once that you can try tying cans of urine outside of the run because it's like marking your territory and raccoons respect that.
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even in a can, not sprayed or drizzled over the ground? Interesting. My cat likes to pee on the tile floor just outside her litter box, instead of actually in it, too bad shes an indoor cat and i cant just carry her around the perimeter of the run and have her pee at will...ill try to find some stuff at TSC or somewhere.

also, if shes kind of panting, does that mean she's stressed? or having trouble breathing? Sometimes her mouth is closed, other times open, and other times breathing hard enough to move her tongue in and out

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