Black scab and hard swollen area on chest

AllTheChookins

Hatching
Oct 18, 2021
7
9
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Hi everyone, new poster here. Today I picked up a new hen to keep one of my chickens company. The new hen is a Rhode Island Red, about 10 months old. The previous owner needed to rehome her because she was badly bullied by her flock. She had been living along for 2 months at this point. When I picked her up, she was very calm and VERY muddy, with caked on mud/poo everywhere. I didn't get to see where she had been living, though the previous owner said she had dry hay as bedding and has always preferred to lie on the ground rather than roost.

I gave her a long soak and cleaned her. While doing so, I realised half her chest feathers were missing, the area was red and warm, and there was a large firm lump on her lower breast. On top of this, was a coin sized thick black scab. The surrounded skin felt taught and inflamed.

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I don't know whether I should keep this new hen seperate incase there is something infectious going on. Or, whether the hen had been bullied into living in a non ideal place, developing a chest blister and abscess and relief from what has to have been a very wet and muddy living situation will go a long way towards fixing it. I have coated the scab in a hydrogen peroxide based wound cream. She looked quite weak and disoriented while bathing her, far too docile, but has since perked up with water and food (I suspect she was quite dehydrated).

I have found several instances of this in these forums but haven't found a follow up post and whether chickens have survived, or cause and solution confirmed. Has anyone dealth with something similar before? Would you advise quarantining this hen or is it likely just a wound that needs healing?

Thank you very much
 

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Eggcessive

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Yes, that appears to be a breast blister abscess that is usually from lying down on damp or soiled bedding, or on a rough roost. Her being low in pecking order may have been why she roosted on the ground, or she could have other issues. Are her ankles or knee joints swollen? Does she have any bumblefoot scab or swollen foot pads?

It is always a good idea to keep a new chicken in quarantine for about a month, to watch for any signs of disease, especially respiratory ones or watery/bubbly eye. It is good to look them over for evidence of lice or mites, and to consider worming them with Valbazen, so nothing like that gets carried to existing flock. Hopefully, she will turn out to be a good addition. You could try lifting her onto the roost in the evening after dark to teach her how to perch.
 

AllTheChookins

Hatching
Oct 18, 2021
7
9
9
Yes, that appears to be a breast blister abscess that is usually from lying down on damp or soiled bedding, or on a rough roost. Her being low in pecking order may have been why she roosted on the ground, or she could have other issues. Are her ankles or knee joints swollen? Does she have any bumblefoot scab or swollen foot pads?

It is always a good idea to keep a new chicken in quarantine for about a month, to watch for any signs of disease, especially respiratory ones or watery/bubbly eye. It is good to look them over for evidence of lice or mites, and to consider worming them with Valbazen, so nothing like that gets carried to existing flock. Hopefully, she will turn out to be a good addition. You could try lifting her onto the roost in the evening after dark to teach her how to perch.
Thank you so much. All great things to consider and check. I'll update with any findings especially re swollen joints and foot issues, as she is hesitant to move about mucn.
 

AllTheChookins

Hatching
Oct 18, 2021
7
9
9
Okay, so the more I have watched this chicken, the closer I think she was to a very miserable fate. I spent a full day in the run with her watching how she moved, checking her crop, vent, feet, legs, watching her lie on her side with her eyes half closed and beak open. No apparent foot and leg issues but it seemed like she just was weak on her legs and one wing would droop while standing. Two days later, with she is strutting about happy as anything. Scrambled eggs, good feed and clean water, garden to scratch in, hydrogen peroxide cream and iodine spray on her chest, lots of pats, and a few nights on clean dry warm bedding have done wonders. I did not bathe her a second time and haven't attempted to remove the breast button scab, but it looks like she is getting new feather growth in the area and it is less raw red looking. I think she might have had chemical burns from build up of ammonia from soiled bedding, as it has settled fast. I'm not sure how the large lump of scar(?) tissue under the scab will resolve, I'll update on this post again if I decide to do something about it or if it gets worse under the current care.
 

AllTheChookins

Hatching
Oct 18, 2021
7
9
9
This is an older thread that shows treatment of a pretty bad breast blister in post #1.
I wonder if what you are feeling under the skin is pus rather than scar tissue. Glad she is feeling better and hope she makes a full recovery.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...ister-graphic-pictures.1096276/#post-16850510
Oh wow, that is a significant amount of gunk. It looks about the same texture as what I am feeling, bugger. Is something like that likely to need surgical removal to ever heal? I'm finding it hard to imagine her little body could clear something like that away naturally. Thank you very much
 

Eggcessive

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Nice to hear that you good treatment is having a good effect on her. You could try some warm wet compresses to her breast blister scab, and try to remove part of the scab, then try to squeeze out any solid material inside. I suppose it could dry up on it’s own and slough off eventually, but hard to know. Chlorhexidene or Hibiclens and half water, can be a good disinfectant for cleaning the skin. Plain Neosporin Or Triple Antibiotic Ointment is good to put on the wounds twice a day.
 

coach723

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Feb 12, 2015
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I've had a couple of breast blisters (both caused by bumblefoot that didn't allow them to roost normally) that were not nearly as bad as the one in the link. I softened the scab and removed it, cleaned underneath really well with hibiclens, remove any pus, then covered with the ointment, filling any cavity that was left. Until she starts roosting I would make sure she is sleeping on clean/dry material and change it daily. I used old bath towels and changed them a lot during recovery, until it was healing.
 

AllTheChookins

Hatching
Oct 18, 2021
7
9
9
Update: after looking into the advice and surgery photos of that very similar looking situation in the link above (thank you very very much) I decided it wasn't a 'wait and see' situation, despite her now acting and looking otherwise very healthy and happy. I seriously contemplated home removal as have a lab background and was confident on the surgery and sterile work space skills - but didn't want to put my squeemish partner through it! And wasn't happy with the amount of pain and distress it would cause chookie at my hand when there was a professional option. So, expensive vet visit it was. In the end it wasn't too bad. They lifted the scab to see how badly necrotic the tissue was underneath (very, and very hard) but thought with antibiotics she might have a good chance of clearing up the debris on her own, as it wasn't actively infected and getting worse. She has been 5 days on syringed oral baytril (enroflaxacin) and is looking like a very happy chook. I might be imagining it but the lump does seem slightly smaller. The scab settled back in place as it wasn't fully removed. Luckily she hasn't taken to pulling at it. I will be reassessing with the vet after her last dose tomorrow, after a good inspection and washing with chlorohex. I'm not quite sure what they will recommend next - it hasn't gone away but she's improving. Such a lovely chook.
 

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Eggcessive

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Glad that you were able to see the vet. I also saw one of those breast blisters on a rooster who was in a huge pen with 2 others who more dominant. He remained on his roost 24/7 and was pecked when he tried to eat. I had to separate him from the others, treat the scab, and he was fine. Some use carpet on rough roosts, or sand them down. Any prolonged pressure on moist bedding or rough roosts can cause pressure sores, just like bed sores in bedridden people.
 

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