Chicken with huge patch of skin missing on back of neck


In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 15, 2010
Last night I went out to check on the chickens and found one of my young pullets missing. I searched the entire coop for her and no luck but I DID find a small hole in the wire, in the corner. I put my four youngest pullets out with my laying flock last week and they've been pretty timid; staying away from the big birds. I figured they would just warm up slowly (I kept them in an adjacent pen for about 2 weeks to introduce them gradually and then put them all together on Friday.

I found the little lost pullet on the wrong side of the fence (she'd clearly crawled through the hole); she's got a huge wound on the back of her neck - the skin is COMPLETELY gone. Like you can see her "chicken neck" like what you get from the store. It's a big area, maybe 2.5 inches long and 2 inches wide that's missing the skin. It's not torn, it's GONE.

She seems fine and is moving around normally, eating and drinking. I pulled her out when I found her and put her in a stall by herself to heal.

What could have done this?

Here is the list of suspects:

Feral barn cat, hunts like crazy but usually hangs out in the chicken coop without killing anything (they are too big for her; maybe she had a hard time breaking this pullets neck and gave up?) There are no punctures to indicate a cat bite, though.

Dog - my dog has killed chickens in the past but it's always been a case of a chicken flying at his face and then he opens his mouth, SNAP and it's over. He's 90lbs and the size of a small pony. Unlikely that he would nibble the back of her neck and let her go.

The wire where she crawled out of the pen...unlikely but maybe?

Other chickens - this is my big worry. Could they have been pecking her? The skin is not torn; it's GONE. I'm afraid this might be the answer.

Crows/ravens - we have a lot around here but I can't imagine they would have done this but I don't know.

Something else?

She was sitting in the corner where the coop was broken for about two days - I didn't think anything of it because, as I said, they had just been introduced to the flock and were shy. She may have been injured that whole time or being pecked (Oh dear), I'm not sure.

Ideas? Your experience and ideas are very welcomed.

As for treatment, I've sprayed the wound with Blue Kote, seperated her and she seems to be doing fine but we'll see. It's a hell of an injury, poor thing! Anything else I should do?
Do you have a rooster?

I had a young rooster that got into my brooder outside and tryed to mate my young gosling and tore the skin on his neck,it healed up just fine on it's own, however that was in the winter, being that it is summer you may need to find some way to keep the flys away till it heals, the wound will dry out in a day or two and it will start healing really fast, my goose has a small lump where the skin tear started but other than that he looks perfectly fine.

This was a 3 inch wound.
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Wow, it never really occurred to me that it was the rooster. He's pretty mellow and sweet but it might well have been. How horrible! Should she have been kept seperate longer? She's around 3 months old and I figured old enough to go out with the others but maybe not! I have three other young pullets, the same you think he will do the same thing to them?
Yea if it was him he most likely will.

Mine did not get a second chance but i knew he did it cause i caught him in the act.

I have lots of roos here they don't normally mess with the young uns, and if i catch them they go to rooster jail.

PS i would watch him in the late evening and see how he acts with them, my roos get frisky with the girls at this time
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I would seperate the chicken until the skin heals up...

If chickens taste blood they will most likely peck your chick to death and have a spot of brunch... they are cannibalistic animals afterall...
She will need to be separated from her mates. With a wound that size you may want to consider stitching it closed. I had a hen lose a large swatch of skin and it took months to heal up. It will be a much quicker recovery if the wound is closed up. If you are not comfortable doing the stitching then cover the wound with Blukote and get used to having a house chicken for a while. I recommend Blukote because I found Neosporin to be very chilling to a wounded bird when it's covering a large wound. Increase her protein intake to aid in healing. Watch closely for signs of infection. If your patient has a close, docile friend maybe set up a small space for the two of them. (It's much better for their recovery to have a friend with them and it's much easier to integrate them back into the flock after an extended period if there's more than one bird being integrated.)
Sorry about your bird. She should heal up just fine. Birds are tough and resilient. Good luck.
Thanks for the feedback - I thought about stitching but there is literally not enough'll have to heal up on it's own. She's in a stall by herself right now and I figured that in a day or two, I'd give her one of my little red sussex meat chicks to hang out with since they are smaller than her and I doubt one would peck her.

She seems okay - still bright, alert and eating and drinking.

I have some amoxycillin....can that be given to a chicken for an oral antibiotic? The dosage I was given a long time ago was 100mg/kg. I was going to start her on a week's course but I wanted to see if others had used amoxycillin in their birds first. How to administer? water and syringe?
Thanks - she still seems fine this morning. I'm completely gobsmacked that she is behaving so normally with such a gross wound. I think it may bother me more than it bothers her. I had her in the kitchen sink last night to clean her neck off and she was fighting me the whole way, like a normal chicken. I think by the end, though, she'd decided that I was going to wash her whether she liked it or not. Either that or the three cats making snake necks at her from the kitchen floor brought her back in line

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