Gah! Hen pecked on head - no feathers or skin!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by JackieK318, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. JackieK318

    JackieK318 Chillin' With My Peeps

    473
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    Apr 29, 2007
    Missouri
    This never ends. First it was coccdia my first season, then stupid daytime predators, now this pecking junk!

    One of my light brahmas was pecked to death a month ago.

    Gusto, my RIR pullet had a funny hairdo on Sunday and when I looked, her feathers were pulled up because of the blood - her wound isn't bad at all and I will wash her up today because the weather is warm.

    Another pullet, Freckles, came walking up to me last night without any feathers or skin on her head! I can see her ligaments move from the back of her head when she drinks. She was a bit unwell (wobbly and quiet) last night, and she is still alive this morning. She is in a dog kennel in the basement with a blanket around the crate to keep her quiet and warm.

    Will she recover from something like this?! I'd like to get her treated, but I'm not sure what the vet could do - stitches wouldn't be possible as there isn't any skin on a quarter-sized area of her head (almost ear to ear and from her comb to the back of her head). She is only about 4 months old.

    I'm suspecting my mean EE hen (Winnie). This all stopped when she was in the 'sick bay' with stitches for two weeks - mating related accident apparently. Within the first 5 minutes she was back out in the coop, she stole two eggs and pecked two pullets, including a "grab the feather and hang on" chase. She also roosts in the rafters when everyone else is on the roosts.

    I have a 7x10 coop for 5 grown hens and 5 4 month old pullets and a 12x20 run. I have the coop heated with 3 250 watt red heat lamps. It stays about 40 - 50 degrees inside. They always have crumbles, corn, water, and kitchen scraps.

    Should I go back to free ranging? I'm thinking about buying another kennel panel set and making the run 32x20, especially if this will help keep the peace. Is 10 hens too much? I had 16 chickens and 3 guineas in 2007 in this coop with no issues (none of this flock is around anymore due to above mentioned predators/stray dog...grr), but they did free range daily.
     
  2. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    A vet could give her antibiotics and pain meds, maybe close the wound or make it smaller, and provide meds to keep the underlying tissue from drying out while it heals.
    If she can eat/drink normally, and you can keep the area clean and from getting infected- she will probably slowly heal.

    If you think you know who the aggressive bird is, get rid of her or confine her to her own area. This bad habit is called cannibalism and it will not go away by itself, and may spread to other birds if they discover that flesh and blood is tasty. I also would not tolerate an egg breaker (if that is what you mean by stealing eggs).

    Most cases of cannibalism happen in places where there are too many birds in too small an area with nothing interesting to do. Your space seems large enough, and diet seems fine- so you may just have a BAD bird.
     

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