Head Injury On Chicken (graphic pictures)

Mariahthebright

Chirping
Jan 27, 2018
29
37
59
Central Illinois, USA
One of my bantam hens recently suffered a head injury (it looks like she was descalped). I have moved her inside.

She is acting normal, eating and drinking regularly. I have switched her diet from pelleted laying mix to feeding her eggs and yogurt sprinkled with mealworms (high protein for faster healing). I make sure to keep the wound clean and spray with Vetcetrin daily.

Is there anything else I should do or change about what I am doing? Also, does it look like this is healing well?
 

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EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,898
832
California's Redwood Coast
Is there anything else I should do or change about what I am doing? Also, does it look like this is healing well?
Hi, sorry your hen is having trouble. :hmm

Did you figure out if it was your own flock or a predator?

I would stop with all the eggs, yogurt, and meal worms... they may be higher in protein than layer feed... but they are extremely high in fat and may be missing other key nutrients... for example eggs are 34% protein and 64% fat by energy. Live meal worms are 48% protein and 40% fat. They are good source of nutrients as treat but NOT on a regular basis. There better choices that won't cause fatty liver syndrome... like a chicks starter feed, gamebird feed, turkey starter, flock raiser... you get the idea. Rinsed canned tuna, cooked ground beef or chicken. I personally NEVER use layer. But your gal... may need some oyster shell on the side or some grit if she has been in a kennel for long. While I know that protein promotes feather growth since they are made from 90% protein and it's amino acids... I'm not sure how important of role it plays in general healing of skin. I would think a vitamin and mineral supplement like rooster booster Poultry Cell... might be more helpful. But I like your thinking, good job!

Keeping her in view of her flock would be advised so that she will integrate back with them easier or she will be treated as a new comer and face some pecking order difficulty upon return.

Sounds like she isn't in shock... since she is eating and drinking, that great news! If that was done by a predator... my flock actually doesn't obsess and the birds stay together... attracted to red, is BS in my opinion as their combs and waddles are red but left alone EVERY day. Blood does attract them, especially if they taste it. You might try some supervised visits and see how it goes.

Leaving the wound alone so it can scab over might allow it to heal faster... not sure what your cleaning is... but we do produce our own antibodies to fight off infection, and to me part of that fight is the oozing that pushes debris out... I realize this isn't the correct answer for everyone.

I did have 2 birds scalped much worse than that, one a chick the other a duckling. Both stayed with their flock as it was predation that caused it and both recovered fantastically. They did go through a phase of ugly yellowness like I'm seeing in your wound... but it was just part of the healing (let it scab over) and not actual infection. It looks like heck... but I'm not seeing what I think of as infection (swollen dark red and hot, or puss building which might be easy to confuse with that yellow tissue)... but I am here to learn as well!

I hope your gal pulls through... but more than that I BELIEVE she will! :fl
 

Mariahthebright

Chirping
Jan 27, 2018
29
37
59
Central Illinois, USA
Hi, sorry your hen is having trouble. :hmm

Did you figure out if it was your own flock or a predator?

I would stop with all the eggs, yogurt, and meal worms... they may be higher in protein than layer feed... but they are extremely high in fat and may be missing other key nutrients... for example eggs are 34% protein and 64% fat by energy. Live meal worms are 48% protein and 40% fat. They are good source of nutrients as treat but NOT on a regular basis. There better choices that won't cause fatty liver syndrome... like a chicks starter feed, gamebird feed, turkey starter, flock raiser... you get the idea. Rinsed canned tuna, cooked ground beef or chicken. I personally NEVER use layer. But your gal... may need some oyster shell on the side or some grit if she has been in a kennel for long. While I know that protein promotes feather growth since they are made from 90% protein and it's amino acids... I'm not sure how important of role it plays in general healing of skin. I would think a vitamin and mineral supplement like rooster booster Poultry Cell... might be more helpful. But I like your thinking, good job!

Keeping her in view of her flock would be advised so that she will integrate back with them easier or she will be treated as a new comer and face some pecking order difficulty upon return.

Sounds like she isn't in shock... since she is eating and drinking, that great news! If that was done by a predator... my flock actually doesn't obsess and the birds stay together... attracted to red, is BS in my opinion as their combs and waddles are red but left alone EVERY day. Blood does attract them, especially if they taste it. You might try some supervised visits and see how it goes.

Leaving the wound alone so it can scab over might allow it to heal faster... not sure what your cleaning is... but we do produce our own antibodies to fight off infection, and to me part of that fight is the oozing that pushes debris out... I realize this isn't the correct answer for everyone.

I did have 2 birds scalped much worse than that, one a chick the other a duckling. Both stayed with their flock as it was predation that caused it and both recovered fantastically. They did go through a phase of ugly yellowness like I'm seeing in your wound... but it was just part of the healing (let it scab over) and not actual infection. It looks like heck... but I'm not seeing what I think of as infection (swollen dark red and hot, or puss building which might be easy to confuse with that yellow tissue)... but I am here to learn as well!

I hope your gal pulls through... but more than that I BELIEVE she will! :fl


I am still not sure if it was a Roo or predator. I'm leaning more towards a roo than a predator and will be getting rid of my 2 roosters this weekend. She is one of the oldest members of my flock, so I am not sure what would cause an attack from another hen so ruling that out.

I did get canned tuna and she did like that. Ill pick up some chick starter on the way home from work today. I don't think they are attracted to red, but are naturally curious and opportunistic animals.

When I clean it, I use soap and water, pat it dry and spray with Vetcetrin afterwards. Should I also use some kind of salve as well?

I am ALSO worried about reintegration because she is smaller, so I will definitely supervise. I really appreciate that you took the time to write such a long response! Makes me a bit less worried :)
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,898
832
California's Redwood Coast
When I clean it, I use soap and water, pat it dry and spray with Vetcetrin afterwards. Should I also use some kind of salve as well?
I would probably quit washing and just use the vertycin once or twice per day... soap is drying to the skin... in addition many aren't even antibacterial.. and it might just be causing her more stress.

If your roosters are young cockerels... they could have cause it by competitively mating her. Age is a factor regarding behavior. But even having had an outbreak of cockerels once with a particular pullet they all target... it never got like this. But of course that doesn't mean it isn't true in this instance. Being the smallest she will likely also be the first target for an aerial predator.

Hen fights don't *usually* get this out of control. In fact I haven't seen it yet, but did have 2 scalpings that looked very similar to this, one caused by a hawk the other a raccoon... do you know when it happened?

Watching her behavior around the flock can be a good indicator of whether they caused it or a predator. I'm leaning toward predator actually, but not enough information to make a true determination.

It's true they are curious creatures, and things can get out of control rapidly. Some people will use blue Kote once there is a scab. I never have.

In would definitely move her kennel into the run where the rest of the flock is asap, to help with integration... My smallest hens... don't know they aren't pit bulls! I had a flock of of hens with no neck feathers last year... which upon inspection for parasites and paying attention to flock antics, quickly realized... Silkies are willing to go toe to toe with any bird as dynamite comes in small packages! Broody hormones help to pump them up. I separated my bantams from large fowl when I decided to keep large fowl rooster... simply because accident happen and the shorter ladies like them stinky boys just as much as the tall gals do. :p

Hang in there and make your best decision that works for you regarding your boys. They may be taking the blame for something they didn't do. But keeping roosters is not for everyone and some flocks are much more peaceful without them.

She really does seem like she will recover well! :love
 

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