Every single day this week, an eagle has attacked my flock. I have three injured hens (no losses so far). We've managed to see or hear the commotion before anyone has been killed and carried off. What is the best method for treating their wounds?
The best way I know of is to prevent them from getting injured in the first place, if you must free range unsupervised or refuse to confine them in a secure enclosure. Then you must learn to live with what can only be described as acceptable losses.
Okay, that doesn't answer my question. They ARE in an enclosure and are NOT free ranging unsupervised. If you don't have anything helpful to add, don't post. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound!
My question is... I obviously can't stick a bandaid on a chicken after rubbing her with neosporin. What can I do to make her more comfortable while she heals?
You can bring her into the house for a couple days..........if your hen does not freak-out. Most will not, but I do have one hen that when she injured herself, she could not be kept from the other birds because she threw herself violently against the cage.
If you can, bring her into the house, or garage...........a place where she is warm without being hot, has plenty of water/food and no one to peck or pick at her and away from flies. I would not cover her wounds with anything other than the neo. that you have. Let the air help heal the wound.
Do you have a dog? We do not have raptor problems with our chickens, but do have raven problems. I have been working with our dogs to RUN toward the sound of the raven - to discourage the ravens from landing here on our place.
You migh also try fishing line strung along the top of your run - make it kind of like a spider web - this help to keep air assaults down (also cds that swing and move in the breeze).
Your hens will most likely recover from their injuries if you keep them clean and fly free. I like to irrigate with Betadine daily to flush out debris and prevent deeper tissue infection and then apply neosporin or topical antibiotic. I give them vitamins and electrolytes, put them on a broad spectrum antibiotic like amoxicillin and be sure to feed them a high protein diet. I like using the Kaytee hand feeding formula for caged birds mixed with boiled egg yolk or scrambled eggs. I keep mine in pet carriers inside the house in cases like this. You did not say if the birds are being attacked while in their run or while free ranging. If while in the run, I'd figure out a way to cover the top - we ended up putting wire over the top of our entire outside enclosure. If while out of their run, I'd keep all the birds in for a while until the predator starts looking elsewhere for a meal. This time of year the raptors have young to feed and can be a real problem, especially if they are nesting nearby. The danger lessens as time goes on, but they will surely be back if they think a meal is waiting.
I'm sorry you have to deal with this. I can't really add anything regarding the injuries, I think kelar's methods are your best bet, but I will say that purple martins run off hawks. I don't know if they would be bold enough to gang up on eagles, but it may be a long-term solution to consider. This site discusses how to attract and keep purple martins on your property. Also, putting hardware cloth on top of your run should help. It's much tougher than poultry wire or bird netting and you can get it in mesh sizes small enough to keep reaching predators at bay, also. Best wishes.
Thanks for pointing this out. I looked it up and it looks like a good product to use on the chickens since it is labeled for use on birds and isn't harmful if the animal licks it. I think I will get some for my wound-care kit.