hawk attacked chicken, leg skin gone, muscle visible. graphic photo. please help :(


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 16, 2010

We believe this attack occurred Wednesday afternoon. We've seen a large black and white bird swoop down on 3 separate occasions and all of the chickens ran for the bushes. I noticed her limping this morning so I picked her up and inspected. The photo is her left "drumstick."

The dark brown stringy parts are her feathers stuck to her muscle.

She *seems* happy, eating normal, limping but still walking a lot, she is able to hop-fly up to the roost without problems. It doesn't look infected but it looks like it is extremely painful. I have her isolated in the smaller coop with water w/vitamin drops and a bowl of feed.

I put triple antibiotic ointment over the entire area (contains no pain med). I'm afraid to peel the feathers off because I'm not sure where they are attached and it looks like it hurts a lot.

Is there anything else I should/can do? I don't think we can afford to take her to the vet. We just spent $160 on the cat Wednesday morning for a corneal ulcer. I've been tending to the cat around the clock. (The reason I hadn't inspected my flock sooner. I'm really not a bad chicken mother, although I feel like one).

Please help :(
We had an owl attack our little hen, Junior, last November. Her entire back was exposed and raw. And, like yours, there were feathers stuck to her meat. I say meat because the skin was torn off her back by the owl. Thank heaven I found her in time and my dog chased the owl away.

Here's what I did with her (I have pictures I can email you if you like). I put her in a box in my house (she was comatose and her eye was swollen shut with blood. I think she was blinded by the attack. First I put Colloidal Silver on her back to prevent infection. From that point forward, I sprayed her back with Willard Water (http://drwillard.com/), miraculous water. I didn't remove the stuck feathers. Every couple of hours, I would spray with Williard water again.

Long story short--I had to keep her in the house for about a month while she recovered. I hand fed her and because she was blinded, I put organic baby food on a spoon and touched her beak with it. When she felt it, she began nibbling. I had to do this with water, too.

At a certain point, I wanted to get her outside and walking around. I bought a couple of saddles online and put one of them on her. We went into the garden and she followed me. She seemed to want to go back into the coop with her mates, but when I tried it, she came across as less than healthy and was immediately attacked, bringing blood to her healing back (they pecked through her saddle).

So I put her in a little cage in the coop so she could be with her mates and yet be safe. Her skin was growing back with the Willard Water spray. Eventually, I put her in with a group of two month old chicks in another building. She spent the winter with them and by spring, all her skin and her feathers had grown back and she and the growing chicks found their way into the main flock.

It was a miracle story because everyone who saw the pictures told me that she wouldn't make it, that I should put her out of her misery. But my hope and faith that she would recover prevailed and now she is a very healthy and happy hen, all healed up and living with great joy.
Thanks for the reply. When you get a chance, I would like to see photos of your hen. I will also look into getting some willard water. Thanks!
So now I'm going to try and post pictures of our hen, Junior, to this thread...thanks to Beekissed for giving me instructions.

This was Junior a couple hours after the attack on November 18, 2011. The blood had dried somewhat. As mentioned, I first applied Colloidal Silver to the exposed area to prevent any infection and these pics were taken after the first application of CS and the first spray of the Willard Water.

The next picture was taken the next day, November 19, 2011. You can already see that it's beginning to heal well.
This is Junior on December 8, 2011 about two weeks after the attack. As you can see, she's wearing her cute little saddle and she's standing on our kitchen counter, where I would feed her. She's off her organic baby food now and onto her favorite high protein Flint River Ranch Cat/Kitten food and her Bluestem Organic Premium Layer Hen food. She's still not totally back to normal here, but getting there. This is around the time I tried to let her hang out with her flockmates and one of them cornered her in the coop and pecked her back through the saddles, opening up another bloody wound. Ouch!

I do want to add that because of the trauma that Junior experienced, once she was back on her feet, she laid one egg a day for 29 days. The poor thing's body was seeming to want to catch up for all the days she was incapacitated. Also after the 29 days, she went into a severe molt. Then she became broody for about a month, then another severe molt. After that, everything balanced out and she's now living completely regularly.

In addition, for anyone interested in finding out how Willard Water might help their chickens and other animals (or themselves), here's the link to a youtube of a episode of 60 Minutes from 1980 that features Willard Water. The producders try to debunk it as per their usual M.O., but are unable to. In the meantime, you get to see some real farmers show how it's done its miracles.

Hey, I'm curious how your injured chicken is doing? Would you give us an update...maybe another photo? Thanks! :)
She seems to be doing well. I've been letting her out with the other chickens from sunrise until about 9 or 10am to give her time to graze. Then she runs over to the coop when she sees me (she's figured out I've been giving her a private bowl of goodies). Then I put her in the coop and close the bottom hatch. She eats all she can then hops up to the roost and watches out the top hatch to the outside. I could take a picture of her coop to help explain her view. She seems to enjoy her private perch and bowl of goodies. Yesterday it looked like it was healing and doing better. I'll see if I can get a picture today. My husband isn't home to hold her while I take the picture. The injury is tucked under her other feathers so it's hard to see just by looking at her. Thank you for your pictures and for telling your story. We also have owls in our cypress tree but I don't think they come down during the day. I saw the attacker but on a different day. It looked like a Northern Hawk Owl (black and white like a giant barred rock) but I don't think the Northern Hawk Owl gets this large and I'm almost positive they don't live this far down in North America. My MIL saw the attacker ON the day. She ran into my yard when all the chickens were screaming and running for the bushes. She said it flew right toward her face and got within a few feet of her face then flew up and over the house. She said it was huge, at least a 3-4 foot wing span but it all happened really fast. Maybe a broad-winged hawk? Not sure if those reside in Northern California. We do have quite a few different species of hawks up here. I'm hoping it doesn't come back. I've been letting our dogs hang around outside to stand guard but they really just sleep most of the day. I guess we'll see.

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