Anyone have a good treatment for fireant bites on chickens/guineas?


In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 5, 2013
We've been fighting to clear the fire ants from our coop and pasture areas all season, and although the situation is improving, we still have the occasional animal that gets bit. This morning I noticed one of our guineas had one of its eyes swollen completely closed. I can't guarantee it's a fire ant bite, but it sure looks like one, and I know he was rummaging through the field after the rain yesterday when the ants were coming out. Does anyone know anything that would be safe to put on an eyelid for relief of pain and swelling, or do I have to just have the poor little guy wait it out?

I saw there was an extremely long thread on how to kill fire ants without harming chickens, but I couldn't find anything specifically about treating bites (didn't have time to read the entire thread).

Although it's possible that a fire ant caused your guinea's eye to swell shut, I would look out for a respiratory disease. Look for bubbles in the eye, eye or nasal drainage, raspy or gurgly sounds from breathing. There are bacterial infections such as mycoplasma and coryza, and viruses such as infectious bronchitis that could be the cause. Here is some info on diseases: You could probably put plain neosporin or triple antibiotic ointment in the eye, but don't use any with painkillers since chickens don't reat well to certaon ones.
Fortunately, the swollen eye was not caused by any respiratory illness. Unfortunately, when we caught the guinea to examine and isolate him, we discovered he was the victim of a predator attack. We hadn't seen it when we noticed his eye, because he was all cozy and roosted down, but when he got up and was moving, we could see blood soaked feathers on the underside of his belly. We can't say for absolutely certain, but the bite/gash looked possibly like a possum - we know we have plenty of them in the area.

So now my question is, what's the best treatment (or is there one) for a fairly large open wound on a bird? There's no sign of infection yet, but he has a few inches of fat (at least I hope it's just fat) hanging out of the gash, so I'm concerned that it's only a matter of time. The bleeding has stopped, and we have him isolated. He is alert and moving around only slightly slower than he normally does. His one uninjured eye is bright and he's been trying to open his other eye again since last night. He's eating and drinking without any problems, and really seems in pretty good shape overall.

Avian vets aren't an option where we live, so I was hoping someone out there might know if there is anyway to help close the wound and prevent any infection from forming. He's a tough bird, and I'm hoping we can nurse him through.
If you have Hibiclens or a weak betadine solution with water (or hydrogen peroxide--use only once) you can clean the area well and rinse of with a kitchen sprayer. Then apply neosporin or triple antibiotic ointment with no painkiller in it to the wound. You don't want to close up this wound with stitches because it is a dirty bite wound, and needs to heal from the inside out. There can be infection, but just watch for it and reapply the ointment daily. Keep him in a cage inside so that flies don't lay eggs and produce maggots--this is called fly strike and can kill. Many birds with horrible gashes will heal just fine--there are several stories on the emergency thread all of the time. You can add an antibiotic like penicillin, amoxicillin, or keflex if you can get it.
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