Found injured hen on the side of the road - Update

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by puddinbabe, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. puddinbabe

    puddinbabe In the Brooder

    Jul 5, 2007
    Update - The hen has made amazing progress. She is eating like there is no tomorrow and pooping up a storm. She isn't too lethargic either. Aside from the crusted blood on the top of her head, you wouldn't know anything was wrong. Her eyes and resp. system look and sound normal. No mites or lice. Maybe she had just been out in the woods without food/shelter for a couple of days. She's talking and moving around! Yeah!


    Today of all days I went and bought a new hen to add to my family. On the drive home, right near my house, I saw a chicken in the woods. I got out of the car and tried to get close to it. It wasn't to happy about that and went into the woods. Since I'm in the country and there are lots of predators around, I took the new chicken home, waited till the sun went down, and went to try and catch the hen.

    I got out of the car and found THREE dead chickens in a pile right near where the live chicken had bee. I have no idea what was wrong with them, but they were whole and not eaten/plucked. I don't know how they got there or why they were all together dead. I found the live one a little ways in the woods, sleeping on the ground. We caught her and she's now in the bathroom on a towel with food and water.

    She's got blood on her head that has hardened. I can't tell where the wound is, but it must be near her comb. Its not still open. She has a little blood around her nostrils. Since its night, she isn't too active. We dipped her head and got her to take a few sips of water, but certainly not enough. Who knows how long she's been without food and water. Her skin and feathers seem healthy. I can't hear anything irregular when she breathes. Right now she's sleeping. She hasn't pooped for the 5 hours we've had her.

    I'm going to watch her, but is there anything else I need to do? For those of you tending to sick birds, what kind of lining do you put in a box? I'm thinking she's going to poop all over the towel if she starts eating.

    Why would someone dmup dead chickens on the side of the road, or live ones for that matter. If they were sick it seems like someone would cull them before taking the time to "hide" them.

    Any information is appreciated!

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009

  2. chickenladyk

    chickenladyk In the Brooder

    Mar 11, 2007
    I'm so happy to hear that you found this one live hen and took her in. It sounds like your instincts are serving you well, so far.

    We have found that chickens have remarkably robust immune systems. I would not disturb her wounds, unless you begin to see signs of inflammation or infection. Often our well-intentioned interventions make things worse.

    We have found that the best remedy for sick or injured or traumatized hens is to put them "in hospital". Quiet rest in a warm, dark place will allow her to de-stress and allow her body to focus all of its energies on healing.

    Our "hospital" is a large dog shipping crate, the kind used for shipping by air. We put it in a quiet spare bedroom and block the light from the windows. We lay a heating pad on the bottom, set at "medium". We wrap it in an old towel and then put more old towels of smaller size over the bottom, enough that the hen can move them around and make a kind of "nest" for herself. (Sometimes we do use straw, as well.)

    We lay a sanded 4"x4" piece of wood in there for her to "roost" on. We put a wooden egg in the back corner, to show her it's okay to lay an egg in there, if she needs to. We have food and water available, in cups attached to the door.

    It's important to know that chickens do not like to eat or drink in the dark, so do take the hen out every few hours, so she can eat and drink in bright daylight.

    We offer a wide variety of fresh, healthy foods--smorgasbord style. Coarsely chopped hard-boiled egg, raw ground beef, various whole grains, cut up grapes, thawed frozen corn, cut up tomato, various fresh greens--and let the hen choose what she needs. High-protein foods are often favored when there is healing to be done. Be sure she knows where to take a drink, and keep the water always fresh.

    Watch her poops to be sure they look normal. As long as they look good, she's doing okay. At first they may be watery, from the stress, but they should get better.

    If you treat her gently and speak softly, she will eventually learn that she can trust you. This may take awhile, especially if she has been mistreated in the past, so be patient. Who knows what she has been through?

    Do talk a lot to her, in a quiet gentle voice. She will "understand" you better than you imagine, and eventually, she may start trying to "talk" back to you, too. Chickens are flock animals, and she will look to you to be her "flock" for awhile, and look to you for safety and security, as well.

    Once you are sure she's feeling better, she will enjoy "becoming a chicken" again, joining the other chickens in your flock. There will be some pecking-order activity, so be sure she's up to it.

    I admire you greatly for taking the time to seek her out in the woods and bring her home to care for her.

    God bless you and good luck with both of your new hens!
  3. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Songster

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    Great advice from Chickenladyk above!!

    Just one other suggestion. You should NOT put her with your current flock for at least 3 to 4 weeks to make sure that she is completely disease free!! You don't want to turn your "good deed" into sorrow!!

    Good Luck!!
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
  4. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

    Mar 6, 2008
    Floresville, Texas
    Do you know what kind of chicken she is? Is it possible she fell off a poultry truck? That might explain the dead birds and her being injured.....if a door came open (a common occurrence) and several flew out. We see them deal all over the road constantly here....found a live one once, but only had her long enough to let her know someone cared before she passed on (she was so severely injured). [​IMG] Good luck with the new little lady.

  5. puddinbabe

    puddinbabe In the Brooder

    Jul 5, 2007
    She's black with some brown on her breast area. She also has a pea comb. Since two of the dead chickens were Dominiques and the other was like her, I know she didn't fall off of a truck. Someone had to throw them out of drop them off. Since the dead ones are all in close proximity, it looks like someone just dropped them there. All hens. Too wierd! I hope there aren't any more out there because its cold tongiht!
  6. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I would put some Neosporin or similar antibiotic ointment on the scab/sound. (No painkilling med, anything with "caine" at the end of the name, like lidocaine.)
  7. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

    Mar 6, 2008
    Floresville, Texas
    That is just too strange. I hope the poor little thing is doing alright today?

  8. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Songster

    Feb 6, 2009
    "Why would someone dump birds?" Maybe because they were all dying!?! I would be super cautious about introducing this girl to your flock.

    It is my understanding that if she is the survivor of one of the Big, Bad Ol' Chicken Diseases (coryza, CRD, infectious bronchitis...) she could be healthy as all get out & still wipe out your flock. Please, someone who is a real "maven" step in here: Am I right? Aren't there quite a few things that quarantining will not help?
  9. Andora

    Andora Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    After losing my flock last summer, I would worry about the same thing!!

  10. notsooldmcdonald

    notsooldmcdonald Songster

    Oct 14, 2008
    Lempster, NH
    Yeah, I'm worried about this too (see my post about dumped chickens). Can I have my found chicken tested once she is feeling better? Otherwise, I change my clothes when I go out to tend the flock, wash my hands, and use completely different buckets etc to feed/water her.


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