Bantam Silkie attacked... help appreciated!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by attilathehen, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. attilathehen

    attilathehen Out Of The Brooder

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    We found our little Bantam silkie in a heap in our yard on Sunday. We thought she was dead, but closer inspection revealed she was in shock. A little detective work suggests that one of our cats may have attacked. (Odd, as he is typically scared of chickens... but the silkie is small, and can't see well through her head feathers, so perhaps.) Anyhow, we brought her inside, and put her in a clean crate in a darkened room with a heater on. She appeared to only have two visible injuries: missing feathers from her head (without any bloody spots), and a thumbtack sized puncture on her cheek/ear/neck. The heat and calm seemed to revive her a bit, but she was very mellow. After reading through forums, I cleaned the wounds with hydrogen peroxide, and rubbed neosporin on them. We gave her an electrolyte solution and some scrambled eggs - she wouldn't touch either. For the first day she just hunkered down motionless with her eyes closed. Day 2 (yesterday), she was a bit more perky. I cleaned the wound again, it looked better. No visible signs of an infection. She started holding her head up, but it would twitch/wobble sporadically. She wouldn't stand, and she wouldn't eat or drink. I tried to tempt her with other treats to no avail. I did get a little eye dropper, and gently drop water droplets onto the top of her beak, and she would drink them or shake them off. I noticed that as the day wore on, she took an interest in grooming herself. She does try to itch out her wounded ear from time to time. And she shakes her head around, so I think her neck muscles may be sore, but okay. Today she seems improved. She stood up. Her head spasms (if you can call them that) seem less frequent, and she has taken a much more serious interest in grooming herself. She has even started kicking the bedding up into her feathers, and them cleaning them out. But she still won't drink of eat! I gave her more water droplets and in addition to the food already out I presented her with little cut up orange bits. She wouldn't touch the food, but maybe got 2 ccs of water?. The wound looks good. I'm just worried that she still won't eat or voluntarily drink. Should I take this as a sign that her injury is more serious than it looks? Will she just start eating when all the shock wears off and she is ready? (Is it reasonable for her to still be in shock at this point?) Is there much else I can do for her, within reason? I like this little bird, and I'm willing and able to do some basic nursing. But if her recovery will require extraordinary measures, we aren't prepared for that, and I'd hate to be prolonging her suffering. Any advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    If she won't at least drink, you may need to try to tube feed her some fluids. Aquarium tubing from WalMart combined with a 35-60 cc regular-tip syringe from the feed store can get enough fluids into her to give her some time to recover. Syringe or dropper feeding can sometimes result in choking. She sounds like she might snap out of it, but she will decline if she goes much longer without drinking. Silkies can have vaulted skulls and be more susceptible to head injury. Here is some info with links to tube feeding: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/805728/go-team-tube-feeding
     
  3. attilathehen

    attilathehen Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I'll check out the link. I'm more worried that the dropper just doesn't get her enough water to make a difference. I put droplets on top of her beak, away from her nostrils, so the drop eventually slides to the side of the beak, and slips in, so she smacks her beak around and drinks it. But often it just rolls off and she refuses to open up. So I don't think there is danger of choking (perhaps if I was more aggressive), I do worry about the low quantity leading to more serious dehydration. She is still pooping, but I suspect that is residual from two days ago. I don't notice any change in the water or food I've put out. If she doesn't start taking food or water by tomorrow, it might be necessary to do more. I also hope that the injury isn't more serious than it looks. It looks okay, infection wise. And she seems to be moving her head around. But I have a feeling her refusal to eat or drink might have more to do with it being painful than her being in shock. Poor gal. Silkies are so helpless looking naturally that it is quite pitiful to see her injured.
     
  4. hensintheHOUse

    hensintheHOUse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How about sugar water, or plain yogurt?

    Tube feeding that egg cessive mentioned is very helpful. Kathy and her are my chickens' life saver!
     
  5. attilathehen

    attilathehen Out Of The Brooder

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    Question... do you think that the silkie could have developed wry neck as a result of the attack? She still is acting a bit, well addled. She won't eat or drink, but appears okay otherwise. The no eating and drinking would be explained by the wry neck. I'm just really hesitant to tube her, because if she is having nerve issues in her neck, I don't want to aggravate them.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I read the description of her head movements, and wondered if she was having wry neck. I haven't read much about people tube feeding while having wry neck at the same time, but hopefully others will chime in. Not that many tube fed their chickens a couple of years ago, so I don't think there are a lot of threads about it. Here are a couple of links about wry neck: http://oureggbasket.blogspot.com/2013/04/wry-neck-or-crook-neck-understanding-it.html
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/97121/lets-talk-wry-neck-crook-neck
     
  7. attilathehen

    attilathehen Out Of The Brooder

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    In case anybody stumbles upon this, and is curious, I'm posting the treatment that so far seems to be having good results. I spoke with a friend, who is an ornithologist, and works at a wildlife rehab center rehabing all kinds of birds, and she advised the treatment. She's not a vet, but she is a chicken keeper, and she has successfully brought birds back from pretty terrible attacks.

    I've decided that my bird was not attacked by a cat, but pecked on the head by our rooster. My husband saw the rooster bothering her earlier in the day, and she has missing head feathers (but no other missing feathers). I'm fairly sure she has developed wry neck, although a mild case of it. Her balance is off, she won't walk (although her legs are strong), she keeps putting her head down by her feet (to clean), and she used to be face planting into her bedding. I read a bunch about what to do for wry neck, and decided to try some of the remedies. She seems to be getting better. She now sits upright. She stands up. She has started to cluck here and there. And she started to eat voluntarily (I still have to hand feed her, but she laps it out of the bowl.) Following, is the "treatment" I've been giving her, which seems to be working so far.

    I got:
    From the petco bird section: vita-sol vitamin drops for 5$ (no iron, iron will block absorption of other vitamins) and exact for 5$ (a powdery gruel used to handfeed baby birds).
    From my own medicine cabinet: vitamin e capsules
    From a friend (but she got it from the vitamin section of a grocery store): selenium 100 mg powdered capsules

    Until recently, my bird has refused to eat or drink, so I've been dripping water on top of her beak, and eventually progressed to egg yolks and yogurt. She reluctantly ate it, more out of a reflex than a desire to eat it. And she ate barely anything. I started mixing in the vitamin drops with the water, and that seemed to help. I also made a mixture of 1/2 a selenium capsule with water and some vitamin e, and tried to get her to get some of that too - she got a tiny bit.

    I'm not sure if the drops and vitamins started working, if she started feeling better or what... but yesterday, she seemed to take the food a little bit more willingly. So, I made a mixture of the exact gruel (1.5 teaspoons of the powder with 5-6 teaspoons of water), mixed in half of a selenium capsule, and a vitamin e capsule (they need both together, the selenium helps the bird absorb vitamin e), and a few drops of the vita-sol. (Careful not to give too much selenium, it can be toxic in high dosages - I read 50 mg was acceptable for a day.) I mixed it in a shallow dish, held the bird on my lap, and submerged the tip of her beak (taking care to avoid her nostrils) into the mixture. She started lapping it up! She took maybe 1 teaspoon, then refused to take any more. So I let her rest. And repeated the process a few hours later - she took another teaspoon. It's very encouraging. She seems to be getting peppier! And it is certainly the most she has eaten at once in the last few days. Too soon to say if it will be totally successful, but so far so good!

    It's a little time intensive to give her this treatment. If I was keeping more than backyard chickens, it might be a little unreasonable to give a single bird this much care. Part of my willingness to do it for my silkie is fascination/curiosity. I've also gotten attached to the little bird. Plus I like knowing that I'm doing my best for creatures under my care. I only post this little tid bit because it's a pretty time intensive treatment, and I realize not everybody is going to think it totally worth it. I made the decision to pour care into this bird because she is young and otherwise healthy. But under different circumstances I might have made a different decision, so I'd understand if somebody else made a different decision as well.
     

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