1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

Bloody tail - should I wash or clip the bloody feathers?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BawkinOnTheBench, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. BawkinOnTheBench

    BawkinOnTheBench Songster

    Jun 13, 2008
    I came home yesterday to find one of my hens quite bloody. It looks like she somehow broke some feathers in her tail, close to her body. I don't actually think she was pecked, but I separated her anyway. I can't find an actual wound, just the bloody shafts of a few broken feathers.

    I am wondering if I need to clean, clip, or otherwise remove the blood from her feathers before I can return her to the flock. And if so, what method would be best? Not much came off when I was treating the area with rubbing alcohol yesterday. I've also applied Blue Lotion (which I guess is our generic equiv to Blue Kote.)
  2. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Clean her up really well; look closely at her vent and make sure she's not bleeding from there!

    I don't know where the "blood feathers" are, but if you look closely and see a tiny bit of blood pooling at the end of the broken feather, it's a blood feather, and you'll need to pull it; it will not stop bleeding on its own.

    GOOD LUCK!!!
  3. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    I don't know what the original injury was to cause bleeding (rooster/hawk/dominant hen ect) but now that she is injured- you should separate her until she is healed. Hens will by their hungry/greedy nature will peck at anything that looks remotely red/bloody/edible. She will probably be pecked on her tail again if you put her back too soon. Healed means no scabs/blood, just healthy skin or broken but clean feathers. This can be a few day to several weeks (or longer for a large wound). You may have a hen that likes to do this, and it can escalate to greater injury or death (look up cannibalism) which usually happens with too many birds in to small a space with nothing to do or not enough to eat. Take a look at how much space you have for each bird and what they have to do during the day to keep occupied, plus what do you feed. If you find you have a bad bird that likes to injure the others, it is probably easier to remove her (cull) than keep cleaning up and TLCing her victims.... but you will have to camp out by your chickens and watch for an hour or so to identify the bad one(s).
  4. BawkinOnTheBench

    BawkinOnTheBench Songster

    Jun 13, 2008
    She IS the bad one! The one most likely to beat up the others!

    We have her separated in her own section of the run when they are in the run. I let them all out together free ranging today and no one was interested in pecking her at all.

    We have no roosters so it wasn't that, and they were in their covered yard when whatever happened, happened. I do wonder if there was some bigger shock - something that scared them and maybe caused her to fly and injure herself, because we got few eggs today, and those that did lay didn't do so until much later than usual. And the injured hen was one of the layers!

    Oddly, most of the blood is gone today - either she groomed or dust-bathed, but today all I really see is the psychedelic purple of the medication I put on.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: