Chicks banged up from mother hen. Need advice. (warning graphic imgs)

Barrdwing

Songster
8 Years
Mar 19, 2011
416
20
111
A house surrounded by chickens
Hmm. Those are rather odd places for a hen to peck a chick: difficult targets, for one thing. Usually a hen pecks the back of the head, the tail, or the shoulders, if she's going to peck at a chick. I can see a hen pecking at a chick's eyes, because chickens do like to go for the sensitive spots, but pecking at the skin around the beak isn't a typical target zone. Also, the lesions on the right side of the face look awfully big and proliferative for just trauma. I can't say for sure, but you may be dealing with a strain of pox virus.

Pox is transmitted by mosquitoes, and also through crusts and scabs from the lesions, so it is contagious to other chickens. Watch the other chicks very closely. When pox first hit our flock, it took several different forms: some birds just had small scabs on their faces, while others began bleeding from the ears and eyelids. Later on, some birds got the weepy-eyed form, some got really big nasty skin lesions like your baby is showing, and others began wheezing because they had big white crusts inside their mouths and down the throat. What the virus does to the bird is totally dependent on the bird's ability to fight back. Gussy may have been affected worse than the others because she had already been stressed by her mother. If this is pox, that is. It's hard to be sure.

With these chicks, keep them away from your other birds for a good month, make sure they stay warm, and make sure they are eating. Some pox birds need antibiotics; others will eventually heal on their own, but it can take a while. Some of our birds--the ones with white crusts in their throats--had trouble breathing and eating; they needed antibiotics for ten days, and supportive care for three weeks. Also, there has been argument over whether the pox virus of chickens (which is NOT the same as the human disease "chicken pox!") might be contagious to humans. I've never had any problem with it personally, and I've had goop and nasties from pox chickens all over me, gotten it on my face, into scrapes on my hands, and all that kind of thing. But there is some question, and if you've got children or elderly folks in contact with these chicks, it wouldn't hurt to talk to their physician.

Good luck!
 

honekoneko

Hatching
8 Years
May 31, 2011
8
0
7
oh wow, thank you all very much.
especially thank you for the info on the pox - that sounds very likely, although i hope that's not the case. i will continue to watch all of them and see what kind of progress is made.
 

kimntep

Songster
9 Years
Dec 30, 2010
423
4
113
Ocala, Florida
Oh boy! That is bad. I will be hoping and praying for your little one! I totally agree with confining her, lots of protein, some vitamins and electrolytes in her water. You can get the electrolytes at any farm supply type store and baby "poly-visol" vitamin drops and make sure they are without iron, in the baby section of your grocery and give her lots of love! Good luck!
 

Muzzie

Songster
10 Years
Apr 16, 2009
395
2
121
Connecticut
Quote:I agree when I read the first post and there was the mention of blisters my first thoughts were fowl pox and the hens will usually peck the backs of the head and back as Barrdwing has mentioned. I know fowl pox can be hard on adults but know nothing about the effects on chicks so young, Good Luck with your chick I hope it gets well.
 

honekoneko

Hatching
8 Years
May 31, 2011
8
0
7
thank you all for your kind words.


i'm not sure if she'll make it. she's looking a little wose today. her right eye is completely closed now and her left one is beginning to close. i haven't seen her drink or eat today yet, but i'm keeping an eye on her. the other babies are treating her nicely. i hope she does well but at this point i am not sure. i took her out and onto my lap today, much to her protest, to clean her off with a warm washcloth.
i'll keep you ladies updated.
 

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