Chick attacked by hawk- story/warning and a poo question.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ByeEyed, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. ByeEyed

    ByeEyed Out Of The Brooder

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    Welp. I'm feeling like a pretty good sized failure right now.

    My lil 6 week old appenzeller spitzhauben, Madeline, was attacked by a hawk yesterday. Totally preventable if I had stayed with them while they were free ranging or if I had put them back in their very sturdy fully covered run. My fault but I am taking this as a very hard learned lesson to never leave them out unsupervised again.

    The good news is I looked out the window and saw the hawk on the ground seconds after it grabbed Madeline. I was out there in less than 10 seconds and was able to rescue Madeline. She did not have any visible wounds to my novice eye other than extreme shock, disorientation and she seemed unable to stand upright.

    After a good minute effort locating my other 4 chicks whom had all scattered to the winds and were hiding under various structures, I rushed Madeline to Gainesville to the small animal hospital run by U. of Florida.

    She had a laceration and puncture that ruptured her air sac. The laceration also opened into her body cavity (thus increasing chances of a massive infection). I paid the vet $$$ to clean and stitch her up before getting wrapped up in a pretty green bandage that sets off her eyes perfectly.

    She is currently living in a wire crate with a heating pad set on its lowest setting and a towel rolled around her body to keep her supported upright. Food and water are within reach without needing to move.

    Madeline has a 50/50 chance of survival. I am optimistic as she has a good appetite and when I took her outside to visit her sisters, she was very excited and happy to see them. She will remain in the house with me until her stitches come out in 2 weeks but I will keep her outside as much as possible (under strict supervision) to avoid reintegration issues.

    Other novice chicken owners, please take this as your warning. Don't think just because you have a good sized backyard with lots of shade trees covering it, you will be the lucky one to never loose a chicken to a hawk or any other predator. I almost did. Others have not been as lucky. DIRECT supervision or keep them in a covered and well secured run/coop.



    That said, here is my question!

    Madeline has not had a poo since the attack. I asked the vet when Madeline was in surgery if she had pooed but she did not. There was nothing in the crate this morning and she didn't poo when I took her outside. How long did it take for your chickens to "recover GI-wise" from trauma like that and when should I start getting concerned (or rather more cocerned than I already am now)? I have an follow up appointment tomorrow (Monday) but can take her back sooner if necessary. Is there something I could give or feed her to maybe help"ease" the way?

    Madeline is getting .25ml of trimethorprim (antibiotic) and .13ml meloxicam (painkiller). Could either one be causing her to be constipated?

    She is eating and seems in good spirits. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm praying for poo now! [​IMG]


    Thank you for reading this and I apologize for the long winded spiel.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I am sitting here watching a red tail hawk right now as it has my adult chickens all hiding under the evergreen trees. He has been there for the past hour sitting on a pole and going over to a tree at intervals. Usually my pressence outside will cause him to fly away, but he must be hungry today. He and another hawk decapitated my half blind Polish hen 2 weeks ago.
    Sorry about your pullet. I would keep your flock in their run until they are bigger. Hawks generally can't snatch a chicken unless it is very young, but they can get to bigger ones on the ground, and kill them. I really believe in letting my flock free range all day long to enjoy to get out of their coop. Even though I have lost 3 or 4 to hawks or other predators over the 5 years I have had them, they really enjoy it. Lots of pine trees to hide under can help.
    Molasses can work as a laxative, so you can put a few drops in her food. Dark Karo syrup works as well. You are fortunate to have a vet who could help your chicken. Make sure that she is drinking plenty of water, since that can help prevent constipation. Also give her a teaspoonful of plain yogurt daily for probiotics, and that mixes well into food or egg. Good luck with your little pullet, and I hope she gets well.
     
  3. ByeEyed

    ByeEyed Out Of The Brooder

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    Eggcessive, as a side note, I am in love with your name! Exceptionally punny! [​IMG]

    Thank you for the useful tips! Madeline finally started pooing several hours after my initial post. Guess I jumped the gun there a bit but I am so paranoid at this point I just want to give Madeline the best chance possible! I will definitely keep a jar of molasses handy though in case she gets bound up again

    I'm so sorry about your loss Eggcessive. That is such an awful way to go. I hope it was a quick ending [​IMG] It really is fun to let them out but I couldn't handle losing one...! Rock and wall I guess.



    Madeline is still alive and doing very well. She went back to the vet yesterday for a follow up appointment and the vet was very pleased with her progress. Little Madeline is eating and drinking on her own and could walk a little unsupported. We are still not out of the woods yet though. There is a possibility there is an infection lurking in Madeline's body cavity that is being kept at bay with the antibiotics. When she weans off in 2 weeks, the bacteria could come to the forefront and overwhelm Madeline. Of course, fingers are crossed that isn't the case but the vet wanted me to be fully prepared.

    Madeline is in really good spirits though. She has been visiting with her sisters frequently and giving the world her very loud opinions about this and that. I couldn't be more thrilled with her chickeny sassyness. She stays inside with me though whenever I am not out there to supervise and at nighttime.

    The one tiny set back though is that when Madeline got her bandage changed, it must be sitting on her just enough that it is irritating her. Chickens, I have discovered, are a lot like cats in that if you put something on them, they fall over and are convinced their bodies are broken and they couldn't possibly move just leave them alone to die and all that drama. [​IMG]

    In all seriousness, it is really distressing her moreso than her first bandage. I called my normal vet based on the UF vet's advice and son of a gun wouldn't you know my regular vet has chickens at home herself!? She is not qualified medically to treat chickens but she will change Madeline's bandage this afternoon for a fraction of the time it would have taken me to drive back to Gainesville. [​IMG]


    Keeping the bandage on is still important not only for the stitches Madeline has, but to keep compression on her chest and belly area. The air sac that was ruptured isn't sealed all the way yet and poor Madeline has been slightly inflated. It is definitely an odd feeling to pick her up and feel like I'm holding a feathered balloon. This is only for a week though so Madeline and I will just have to persevere.

    I loved letting the girls out to free range! They had such a ball and it is hysterical to watch them chase each other when a worm is found. I am not prepared to lose one though as Saturday's episode has underlined. I am a first time chicken owner with only 5 chickens and I'm far too soft-hearted to entertain the thought of losing one to something I could have entirely prevented if I had provided the proper protection. That's why as a compromise to their desire to be wild lil birds who answer to no woman, I am going to build either a portable pen or tunnels that go around the yard so they can get out but still remain protected.



    Admin, if this is not the right place to put this, please let me know. I'll be very happy to either move it to the appropriate thread or delete it. Just chronicling Madeline's progress and my thoughts on this as a way for others to read and learn from.
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    That is great news that she is doing well. I treated a chick with a leaking air sac y inserting a 18 gauge needle and pressing the air out. Hopefully she won't get an infection, but with air sacs being a continuous ventilation system, infections can spread thoughout the body. Good luck, and please update us later.
     
  5. ByeEyed

    ByeEyed Out Of The Brooder

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    Madeline continues to do well. She spends the day outside with her sisters and comes in at night with her bantam buddy, Eloise, who is gentle and quiet. She still limps just the tiniest bit but she had a lot of trauma to that area so that is to be expected.

    We have an follow up appointment on the 27th to get stitches removed. at UF. My dog will be going for an orthopedic consult as well so it will be interesting to see whether they put me in the "exotics" area or the dog/cat area [​IMG]

    I'm hoping to be able to take the bandage off at some point today. I have been checking the wounds underneath and I'm just amazed at how quickly they have healed. I have called the vet as it will be 1 week tomorrow (already?!) and it seems like the air sac ruptures have sealed as Madeline doesn't seem to have any air underneath her skin anymore.

    Or so she seems to be informing me when I prod at her with a loud BAWK! -giggle-

    Eggcessive, thank you so much for your replies! I maintain hope that with every say she remains bright eyed and wanting to eat and drink with gusto is another day she gets stronger and able to fight off any infection if any. She has been getting 2x daily dosages of 2 different antibiotics and 2 painkillers. That is very interesting regarding the air sacs. I never really thought about what was inside a chicken and so it was rather surprising to learn that even chickens have air sacs.

    I think this will be my last post in this thread barring any complications as we are out of the immediate danger zone. Long term stands to be seen but I will remain optimistic. Thanks again everyone!
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Thank you for the update, and it is always nice to have a good outcome. It's never too late to update a thread. Good luck with Madeleine.
     

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