Cochin with a mysterious and huge open wound. What do we do?

noelle_and_jj

In the Brooder
Oct 1, 2019
8
49
44
This girl just started laying yesterday. We came out to our coop this morning and found her hiding out in the corner. We think she might have been broody and upset the other hens, but we don't see any blood on their beaks. Can anyone help us figure out what happened and if there is anything we can do to treat this wound? We have a fort knox coop, and no predators got in.
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azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,337
22,188
912
Colorado Rockies
Do you have a rooster with spurs? It could be spurring during mating that produced this wound.

You say "open wound"and that usually means inner body parts exposed, but that wound looks like a surface laceration. If no intestines are exposed, she should heal nicely with proper wound care.

Clean the wound well with soap and water. If you have some, use Vetericyn. Then smooth on antibiotic ointment to keep it moist at all times. Do this every day until the wound heals. Depending on the size of the wound, it can heal in a couple weeks or take up to four to six weeks. Wound care each day is required to prevent infection.
 

mountaingirl196

Chirping
May 27, 2016
68
57
91
Lamoille, NV, USA
Only one thing I would add... be sure and physically separate her from the other chickens. Keep her in a cage someplace clean until the wound scabs over well. She can be in a cage in the coop afterwards while she is healing so she isn’t lonely, but the other birds will beat hell out of her if she has an unhealed injury.

Given its location it might not be visible under her feathers, if so that gives you a little flexibility. If other chickens can see the wound they will go after it.

This is normal flock behavior, a wounded individual endangers the flock as it draws predators, so other flock members will cull a wounded bird to protect the flock.
 

noelle_and_jj

In the Brooder
Oct 1, 2019
8
49
44
Thank you for your help, everyone. We brought her in to wash her, clean the wound with antiseptic wash, and apply antibiotic ointment. The wound looked pretty bad at first, but it seems like it isn't very deep anywhere, so I feel optimistic about her healing. Here's another image of the wound.

IMG_8140.jpeg


Our guess is that she was protecting her first egg yesterday and didn't leave the nesting box, so the girls that are already laying started pecking at her. She was likely stubborn and broody, so they kept pecking, and once blood started showing they just went to town on her skin. We're going to keep her inside in a crate for at least a week while the wound heals up.
 

noelle_and_jj

In the Brooder
Oct 1, 2019
8
49
44
Do you have a rooster with spurs? It could be spurring during mating that produced this wound.

You say "open wound"and that usually means inner body parts exposed, but that wound looks like a surface laceration. If no intestines are exposed, she should heal nicely with proper wound care.

Clean the wound well with soap and water. If you have some, use Vetericyn. Then smooth on antibiotic ointment to keep it moist at all times. Do this every day until the wound heals. Depending on the size of the wound, it can heal in a couple weeks or take up to four to six weeks. Wound care each day is required to prevent infection.
We don't have a rooster, so it must have been the hens. And you're right-- more of a surface wound than an "open" wound, which is good news. Thank you for the help!
 

noelle_and_jj

In the Brooder
Oct 1, 2019
8
49
44
Only one thing I would add... be sure and physically separate her from the other chickens. Keep her in a cage someplace clean until the wound scabs over well. She can be in a cage in the coop afterwards while she is healing so she isn’t lonely, but the other birds will beat hell out of her if she has an unhealed injury.

Given its location it might not be visible under her feathers, if so that gives you a little flexibility. If other chickens can see the wound they will go after it.

This is normal flock behavior, a wounded individual endangers the flock as it draws predators, so other flock members will cull a wounded bird to protect the flock.
Wow, that's ruthless... but makes sense. Thanks for the help :)
 

noelle_and_jj

In the Brooder
Oct 1, 2019
8
49
44
Some additional info:

We have two buff orpingtons and two cochins. The buffs have been at the top of the pecking order since we got them as pullets.

We just discovered that the other cochin has a small scab in the same spot as the one with the bad wound. So it looks like the dominant buffs have been bullying the cochins badly for probably over a week now. We're going to keep them separated for a couple of days as we try to address the root cause of this behavior.

The problem might be that they have outgrown the feeding system we've been using and there is a scarcity of food available throughout the day, so the hens at the top of the pecking order are getting more and more aggressive (thank you mountaingirl196 for the suggestion). Hopefully implementing a new system and then reintroducing the hens will make the aggressiveness stop. There's also a chance that they're not getting enough protein so they resort to pecking each other's feathers. The feed we're using isn't known to be low in protein, but we're going to supplement their diets with extra protein for the time being.

If anyone has any insights, we'd greatly appreciate it!
 

mountaingirl196

Chirping
May 27, 2016
68
57
91
Lamoille, NV, USA
You're heading in the right direction, for sure.

Since you already have a dominant bird issue going, set out multiple feeders so that everybody has a chance, and definitely give the pecked birds time and space to heal away from the bullies. Don't put them in the same cage or they're likely to peck at each other's wounds, but definitely put them near each other for the company (and for your convenience in caring for them). Assuming your birds are on layer feed, it should be around 16% protein, which should be plenty. If you're feeding them scratch, stop, it will dilute your protein percentage. If you want to feed them a treat, feed mealworms, which are 100% protein or close to it, but they shouldn't need a purposeful protein supplement with good layer feed. Be sure everybody has free choice grit, including the birds in your hospital pens, and free choice oyster shell if they're laying.

Beyond that, it's wound care and time to heal, and you should be golden. Make sure you reintroduce your hospital birds at night so they all wake up with new friends. You might want to move the cages into the coop for a day or two before reintroduction so that they can chat each other up a bit before re-entry. They'll have to re-establish the pecking order but if your wounds are healed it shouldn't be anything beyond normal chicken establishment behavior.
 
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