Chicken missing skin after Raccoon attack

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by trailertreasure, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. trailertreasure

    trailertreasure Hatching

    Apr 22, 2009
    Tulsa , Oklahoma
    I posted earlier under "Help! raccoon attacked my chicken!" so go read that to know the whole story if you care.

    I didn't trealize at first just how bad the injuries were. I thought I was dealing with some missing comb and missing and broken toes. Bad enough right?

    Then I lifted up her wing to get a better look at her foot to tell the vet over the phone exactly what was going on, and that;s when I saw to my horror that the skin on her leg was gone. Totally gone! The muscle and tendons were showing just like at KFC. I nearly fainted I was so Horrified that this poor chicken had endured all this and now she's got a missing skin issue too. It's like the skin was split open and the whole bare leg is poking through. There is another spot up by her breast that is also split open with the skin pulled back exposing the muscle. It's not as severe, but its still bad.

    So I calmed myself down after crying and freaking out while explaining all this to my husband, and I went to the store to get some supplies.

    I bought some anti bacterial soap, some saline spray, and some anti bacterial iodine substitute that also works as an anesthetic.

    I washed out a small bucket with soap and then with bleach and water. I then filled it up with warm water and squeezed in about a fourth of the anti-bacterial soap.

    She was so brave when I picked her up and placed her in the bath, with my hand under her right side to take any weight off of her hurt foot. The water soon turned red from all the dried blood on her feathers and the wounds themselves. She was very calm the entire time and even seemed to enjoy it. She just totally relaxed and closed her eyes until her sister got caught briefly on the hamper in the laundry room and squawked loudly as she made her way out. Even as hurt as Matilda was, she was still more concerned about the safety of her sister. That's just the sort of chicken she is. I know some people would say that I'm projecting these things onto her, but I have also had chickens that absolutely did not have any personality other than mean mean mean. I know the difference between just an average chicken and a brave and courageous chicken, thank you very much.

    The only time she freaked out or showed any signs of discomfort was when I used the saline solution. I almost didn't use it at all because I was afraid of it hurting her too much, but My husband encouraged me to use it and I think he was right. I needed to sterilize the area before wrapping it up. I then used some gauze like tape that sticks to itself but not the wound (or so it says) and wrapped up the leg and all the exposed tendons as best I could. I wrapped it all the way down to her missing and mutilated toes and she seemed okay with all of that. She just laid on her side and patiently let me lift her foot to wrap each new layer of tape, casually looking from me to the tape without much worry. I still can't believe how an animal can be so calm and so functional after such a massive injury. I placed her back in the laundry room on some paper towels placed on top of a bag of pine chips that she seems to like sitting on. When I went back to look in on her she was standing on both her legs. The wrapping of her injured foot seems to help her keep better balance, whereas before she would hop and seem to be always catching herself before giving up and laying down again. Now she has been standing on her own for at least an hour or two. She also had all her feathers fluffed out, maybe to help them dry after the bath, but its also keeping them away from the exposed muscle tissue so they won't stick.

    Half an hour ago She was nestled down into her feathers and sleeping peacefully. some of her feathers still puffed out. Her sister is keeping a very close eye on her and is being a good nurse by chasing the cats out when they try to come in and investigate Matilda. I gave her some fresh water and turned out the light. I hope she makes it through the night. I'm supposed to bring her into the vet in the morning. I imagine he'll give me something to give her as far as oral antibiotics go. I am also selling some stuff on craigslist to try and raise enough money to pay for whatever she needs at the vet.

    If anyone has any advice before I take her into the vet, I'd sure appreciate it. I read the story about the scalped chick and it gives me hope for Matilda. I have to admit that she is my favorite chicken, and my buddy. I told my husband that she has fought too hard to be here to give up on her just yet. I won't give up until she gives up, or it appears that she is just suffering through the hours instead of getting better. Believe it or not, she doesn't seem to be in that much pain right now. I hope it stays that way. Since nobody responded to my other post, I feel a little cynical about how helpful these forums are for people. I hope I am wrong. I am new, so maybe that has something to do with it. people only respond to friends posts? I don't know. I guess patience isn't my virtue, but how patient can you be when your beloved chicken is maybe dying from exposed flesh? I'll update in the morning whether somebody reads this or not. Goodnight and good luck to every chicken who faces down a mean raccoon during the night. My prayers are with you.
  2. aerosmith_99

    aerosmith_99 In the Brooder

    I had the same occurance to happen with a cat of ours. It had its whole back skin peeled off and was dry when we found it. I went to the local feed store and bought aqueous penicillin and used a seringe without the needle to apply it all over the wounds. It helped to dry it up and give a coating against infection. I repeated the process until the skin started to grow back over. It took some time but I kept her in the bathroom so that there was no way of getting dirt or worse into the area. hope this helps and hope she gets better soon.
  3. Okay, I just went and read your other post and came back here to respond. I'm sorry nobody responded to your original post! Usually people on here are really helpful and knowledgeable, so I hope you won't be too disheartened!

    On that note . . . [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    First of all, I am so sorry this has happened to Matilda and you!!! It is soooooo hard when a chicken that you adore is hurt. I had my very first chicken, Max-Eeen killed by a racoon. It was horrible. She was dead when I found her, and my god it hurt. She was ripped open, and her head was gone, never to be seen again. Inside her abdomen, now torn open, you could see an perfect egg yoke just formed, ready to be shelled. [​IMG] I'll never get over that. She was my baby, my friend, my spiritual connection too all things pure and good. She was a very special hen. I hated racoons for a long time. I've tried to make my peace with them since I live somewhere else now, but I still feel angry when I think about it.

    Believe me, anyone who has loved a chicken as much as you and I understands. [​IMG]

    Matilda is so brave, and obviously so sweet and protective of her sister!! And it sounds like you're doing a really great job taking care of her, and nothing beats the care of a vet, so she's got everything that she deserves going for her. I'm glad to hear you're ready to do what it takes to save her, it sounds like she needs a lot of help. I keep hearing about how resilliant chickens are, and I've seen proof of it myself. I rescued a hen from a park a few months ago. You can see what I went through with her here:

    think it's wonderful how strong you're being for Matilda. It takes bravery to take care of a wound that horrible, especially on someone you love, and I know you know what I mean. You both are troopers. Hopefully the vet will be able to help you heal her up, but then he or she might say it's better to just put her down. Just try to make sure the vet thinks of chickens as the same as cats or dogs, because it kind of seems obvious for people to put a lot of time, work and money to save those pets. A beloved chicken is every bit as important.

    Just remember -- if worst comes to worst, a leg can be Removed. It is not absolutely Essential to live. If you think she could have a good life without that leg, maybe it would be worth amputating it as a last resort. I've heard of several chickens who lived just fine without a foot, or even a leg, and had good pampered lives. They seem to learn to get around alright, at least the ones I've heard about. If you do a search, I'll bet you can find at least a few stories like that. Some people probably disagree with me about this, but I think if you're willing to invest in her to save her, even if it means amputation and rehabilitation, it would probably be worth it for her! Lots of people do it with cats and dogs!! Don't give up until you're beat!!

    I'll be back here to check up on you guys, so please do keep us updated!! Until then, I'll be sending good energy to you and Matilda!! [​IMG]

    Good Luck!!!


  4. ChksontheRun

    ChksontheRun Songster

    Mar 18, 2010
    Central Virginia
    So sorry for your sweet Matilda. I know there are people on here that can help give you some ideas of treatments to help her cuts and bruises. I know you can use antibiotic ointment without the pain reliever part to the wounds to help guard from infection. Also you can give her pediatric vitamin drops (get the ones without iron) a few drops in her beak once a day to help boost her system so she can fight this. Then, most importantly, keep the wounds clean, which might mean wrapping a couple times a day(use the antibiotic ointment on the bandages to keep the tissue from sticking to the wrapping. It is hard, and might mean changing bedding more frequently too till it heals.

    I don't know what your Vet will tell you, but I have known many animals--Dog, chickens, cats--to heal from horrific wounds with just a little scar tissue and lack of fur or feathers to show for it. And... as for the foot, a chicken can live without toes. They will walk on the pad of their foot to give balance, and walk just fine, they just cant scratch with that foot.

    Hang in there!!!!!!

    I know there are people that can give you more advice than my simple ideas. I hope you get more feedback today--I know lots of the people that respond to this type of post were out working yesterday--perhaps that is why you got so little feedback.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010
  5. damselfish

    damselfish Songster

    Mar 8, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    No real suggestions, just wishing you the best for Matilda. We have had injured chickens but none with that much skin lost. It still amazes me how well they sometimes recover. Hope it will be the same for you too.
  6. trailertreasure

    trailertreasure Hatching

    Apr 22, 2009
    Tulsa , Oklahoma
    First of all I want to say thank you to everyone who responded to my post today.
    I am overwhelmed with good wishes and good advice.

    Today I took her to the vet and we attempted to amputate her hurt leg.

    She stopped breathing once and he did chicken CPR until he got a heartbeat again.

    I was relieved. we continued on and removed the leg successfully. It was while stitching her up that I saw her feathers stand up on end.
    it was her muscles contracting, as they do before death.

    We tried chicken CPR for several minutes and then had to admit that we had lost her.

    She was a great chicken and a great friend.

    I will always miss her.

    Thanks to all who wrote and everyone who supplied stories of their own heartbreak.

    I don't think I'll be able to talk about for awhile yet.
    I can't seem to stop crying.

    Now I just want to catch that raccoon and get him out of here and away from Myrna, my only remaining chicken. Matilda was willing to die to protect her so I owe it to her to make sure she stays safe.

    R.I.P. Matilda the chicken, June 20th, 2010
  7. ChksontheRun

    ChksontheRun Songster

    Mar 18, 2010
    Central Virginia
    I am so sorry for your loss. You did the best you could for your sweet little girl and I am sure she knew it in her little chicken way.

    Those darn racoons. [​IMG]
  8. I am so, so, so sorry. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] I was really hoping she would recover, I kept checking here this morning because I was worried about Matilda. That is so sad. You did absolutely everything right, and she was very brave and strong. I'm so sorry. That hurts so much. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    She knows how much you did to help her though, that's for sure. I'm sure she loved you very much. People say animals don't feel love, but I think it's all too clear that they do. All you have to do is have a chicken like Matilda to know it.

    Perhaps you'll see her again before too long. Maybe you'll hatch some eggs, or maybe Myrna will have chickies sometime, and Matilda will come back to you as one of them. [​IMG]

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