Chicken with half of its breast ripped from predator


5 Years
Mar 24, 2015
I have had chickens roaming freely for a year and half to almost 2 yrs without no issue with predators as they roamed with the goats, but lately since the cold weather has moved in and all the plants have died down they have ventured up onto the mountain a little behind my house away from the goats. Day before yesterday I noticed one of my small roosters were missing when they always come and put their selfs up right before sunset, I always lock the doors when they are all there. Well today a small bantam hen (same breed as roo) went missing, so while counting I discovered one of the 2 remaining small bantam hens from my small breed was acting funny, and then i noticed blood, so I immediately took her inside, I pull her feathers from the are with blood and it looks like a big chunk of meat is gone from her breast. Now also I see corn around it as well or so it looks like corn ( i throw them corn in the day) . Below is a photo of what I could capture with one hand with her not trying to get away. Its much bigger and goes over more than what the photo shows. She acts normal other than the wound. I went into the room i was keeping her in and she had flew up on a sink. What can I do to help her? I'm not sure what predator it is, but my neighbors said they have saw a large hawk flying over past few days , I also have large stock hens.



6 Years
Aug 3, 2013
Virginia Beach, Virginia
I am not certain what exactly attacked her, it could be anything. I can tell you that with our experiences with hawks they usually go for the head first, ripping it clear off.

To treat her, you will likely hear different things from different owners. We have had several predator attacks (hawks, foxes, coyotes, dogs, raccoon, possums, you name it), and generally treat them the same way.

- Pull her inside, away from the rest of the flock (you have already done this).
- Check her thoroughly to analyze the wound(s). It looks here like a surface wound (i.e. it has not hit her lungs or any other vital organs). You will want to make certain there are not any other superficial or puncture wounds somewhere else on her body. Attempt to cut any broken feathers away from the wound so you have enough room to see the entire wound, with about a quarter of an inch area around the wound.
- Clean the wound with water first if there is a lot of grit and dirt, and then hydrogen peroxide. You may want to have someone with you to help you with this process. I normally take a large bath towel, and wrap them snuggly with their legs up against their body as if they are sitting on the ground. I wrap the towel lightly around their head, putting their head lightly down under their wing, and then open the area of the towel where the wound is. The water will likely not startle them if it is room temperature, but the peroxide will. If they are not snug they will end up flying around the room.
- After the wound is clean, if it is superficial, we dress it with Red Kote (scarlet red oil, not the aerosol, the type with the dauber). Red Kote does not dry stiff, it will remain pliable and leave the hen's skin soft while it heals.
- Keep her separated and inside overnight (if possible). If she is acting just like a hen, it may be okay for her to go back to the flock, just make certain no one else is picking on her, and attempt to keep her from dusting the wound. It is very difficult to keep them contained when they are hurt, but don't realize they are hurt.
- Give her a bit of a feeding boost with extra vitamins. Depending on the injury and the bird, we use a mixture of children's chewable organic vitamins, Sav-a-Chick electrolytes, yogurt, and sugar water. Not all at once, but over the span of time it takes for them to heal.
- Keep an eye on the wound, if it starts to look worse instead of better, you will want to slip a bit of antibiotic into her sugar-water or in apple juice. We usually start with Corid (amprolium) and gauge the response.
- Don't keep her eggs during this process. If she is okay, her eggs will look normal. If she is not, you will notice smaller, or misshapen, or thin-shelled eggs. Keep an eye on her until her eggs return to normal.

I hope this helps.

Free Spirit

The Chiarian
Oct 21, 2015
You will need to carefully pluck feathers around the wound. Then under cool running water try and wash it so you can best assess how extensive it is. If the wound is deep it's best to use a needless syringe with pure water to flush any grit or dirt out. If it is still bleeding you may need to apply pressure with a lint free cloth to stop the bleeding. Then apply a wound spray or gel or Neosporin.

After wound care then keep her in a warm place preferably 85 degrees.

I can't really advise much more than that as I cannot tell from the picture how bad the wound is and how stressed she is from the trauma. I don't know if it can be addressed with self care or needs a vet. It just depends on how much tissue was damaged.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom