Bloody chicken

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by crayo12, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. crayo12

    crayo12 New Egg

    Feb 2, 2017
    So this is my first winter raising chickens. I have to say it has been stressful. I have 6 barred rock hens that are 9 months old. Since I live in Maine the winters are very harsh. I have coop and a run for them but since it has been so cold they have lived primary in the barn.
    I came home the other day and one of my chickens had blood all over her head. Apparently she had gotten frost bite and the other chickens have been pecking her! I removed her and put her into a large dog kennel until she heals.....
    My questions that ok?
    How long should I wait to put her back? She seems so unhappy in it.
    What can I do for my chickens so they aren't so miserable living in the barn?
  2. chippy99th

    chippy99th Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 17, 2016
    There's a product called Blu-Kote you might try. It's an antibacterial wound spray that contains a blue dye. Chickens like to peck at red, so if the wound is blue, they'll be less interested. I've never used it myself, but it's highly recommended. If you're unwilling to put chemicals on your birds, I also found this blog that gives directions on making a homemade version:

    I have heard putting Vaseline or petroleum jelly on their combs & wattles helps prevent frostbite. We are in Arizona, so I've luckily never had to deal with extreme cold. It might also help to rub some on her wounds to soften the scabs and keep them from cracking and bleeding more.

    If they have a heat lamp, frostbite will be less of an issue. I've heard of heat lamps being a fire hazard though (although my neighbor that uses one never had problems). Use your best judgement on whether your barn would be a potential fire hazard with a heat lamp. If you do use one, red bulbs are supposed to cut down on pecking (because they can't see the blood).

    The hen will most likely be fine. Really. I've had chickens with head wounds and I even had a hen completely scalped, down to the skull, by a cat. None of them were particularly bothered and all of them, including the scalped hen, objected more to being treated than to the actual wounds. Chickens are not fond of being babied! But, you probably should keep her separated until you've figured out how to stop the pecking, whether through Blu-Kote or some other method. You might also gently wash the blood off with a warm wet washcloth (while not taking off the scabs).

    Boredom busters my chickens like best usually have to do with food. Hanging up a head of lettuce (or just tossing it in there), giving them chicken scratch, that kind of thing. Leftovers. If the ground is frozen and they haven't been able to dustbathe, maybe they'd like a storage bin with sand, ashes & potting soil mixed for that. I'd recommend Pinterest for ideas.

    I'm sorry your first winter has been so stressful! The good thing is you're learning all this stuff now. And things are always harder in certain seasons...summer for us, winter for the rest of you! So it will be smoother sailing as the weather warms up. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017

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