coyote dragged chicken by leg


In the Brooder
11 Years
Nov 30, 2008
This poor hen, a 2 or 3 year old Buff Orpington, was nearly taken by the coyote that's been helping himself to my chickens for the past few months. My husband heard the noise and went out with a shotgun, but the coyote took off before he could shoot. The chicken was apparently dragged by the leg - I can find no other wounds but there are a few good punctures in the leg.

This happened the 19th of August, 11 days ago. I cleaned her up (the wound bled profusely) with soap and warm water followed by dilute peroxide. I applied antibiotic ointment and a gauze pad held on with Vetrap.

She isn't eating well, hasn't been seen to drink, and is hardly moving. She isn't moving or using the leg, and barely moves the foot/claws. It's also pretty swollen. There were some nasty green bruises near the top of the leg after a couple of days. I think the leg may be broken - do chickens have actual bones in their legs? or just cartilage? She puts no weight on it and can't walk. I put her in a big dog crate with puppy pads over towels. Her poop is fairly runny, but I've also been giving her yogurt and cheese to tempt her to eat.

Today I put her outdoors in an 8 by 3 foot enclosure. She seemed to like it, and did a couple of hop/fly moves and promptly started eating grass. She ate a little of the scratch I put out for her and although I never saw her moving, she was always in the patch of shade as it moved from one end of the enclosure to the other. So I'm hopeful that her spirits may be improving - two of the other hens came over and politely visited with her for an hour or so.

Once back inside in the dog crate, she showed no interest in food again.

So, is there anything else I can do for her leg to help support it? Do you think it's broken? I had the bandage off for a couple of days but it seems to provide some support so I put it back on. It gets changed every 24-48 hours. (Her butt is a mess so she's also getting nightly butt baths, then I wash the leg and re-bandage it).

Any ideas on getting her to eat?

Here's the poop:[i mg][/img]

Here's the legs:

and here's Lone Orp using her wing to keep her upright. So sad!


11 Years
Nov 1, 2010
So sorry to hear about your poor hen. Yes, they have bones in there leg just like us! Do you have her on antibiotics? Not only could the leg be broke but she could have damaged other tissues tendons/ligaments. Or her hip could be dislocated or broke. Unfortunately atrophy sets in real fast and she may never beable to use this leg again. If she is able to heal, she probably might not have any use of this leg or just use it for balance. If you can provide a safe place for her she can still get around with one leg and live a normal as can be with one leg. Is she able to pull her leg up underneath her self? Does she respond when you gently squeeze her toes? To get her strength back feed her what she likes but make sure she has access to grit.


Pottery producing maniac
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Feb 1, 2010
Southern Virginia
I would splint it so the wood you use takes her weight. First wrap the leg in gauze , apply splint so it stick out below the foot. Wrap well, you can use that vetwrap stuff. Just be sure the toes stay pink, don't wrap too tight. I had a rooster get stepped on by a goat. He is healed now, still limps around well and breeds the girls.
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In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 10, 2009
I also think you should have her on some antibiotics. Bite wounds, especially deep punctures often become infected. Her body is busy repairing itself, you want to make sure that her immune system doesn't have to fight off an infection along side healing. Poor girl, Good luck to both of you!!!


In the Brooder
11 Years
Nov 30, 2008
Thanks all, for your replies. The leg is beginning to carry a little heat as well so I'm sure antibiotics would be a good idea. Is there something that I can purchase at the feed store, or do I need to get it from a veterinarian?

I've been trying her on all her favorites, but she isn't eating much. Some oatmeal this morning, a few bites of scrambled egg, a little bit of scratch. I'll keep trying to think of things - I'll have to grill some chicken breast, that seems to be a favorite with the little cannibals.

She is balancing on one leg quite nicely and doing a hop/fly thing to get around in the outdoor pen - she was out for several hours today and enjoyed just looking around. I'll move the pen and put her out again tomorrow.

Thanks for the grit idea, too - I'm used to them free ranging and they can eat all the dirt and grit they want.

I"ll think about the splint, good idea. She is able to tuck the leg up under her so I think it's just the leg involved, nothing higher up.

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