head pecked/significant malnutrition / atrophy

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SallyBally, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. SallyBally

    SallyBally Hatching

    Jan 19, 2014
    Hi - I am currently looking after a chicken for a friend of mine. She is a silky x. the issues started when this hen appeared desperate to be a mother. With no rooster - fertile eggs were sourced for her (and another hen in the flock) when the two sets of chicks hatched the 'other mother' took all the babies. The silky x then went back on the nest. Another 2 eggs were given to her. on hatch date - neither hatched - they had died at some earlier stage. A third attempt was that I had some eggs due to hatch within days - I took 2 over and put them under my friends hen. When they hatched she freaked out and kicked them out of the nest (they were returned to my house and their mother - all is well there).
    Now my friend kicked this girl off the nest - but whilst she had been having small amounts of food she had significantly reduced her wight and strength. A day or two in general population saw the other chooks turn on her and pecked her. A plymouth rock pinned her to the ground and pecked her so badly it was very sad. She was taken inside and cared for by my friend (who is really a very very loving chook human). A few days later my friend was going away and asked me to care for this girl. My friend had been feeding her chick starter with antibiotics and meal worms. She has however had her fill of the worms and seems like she is content.. she is just weak and seems vague.
    Now after that massive story I am wondering what sorts of foods can I give her to boost her energy and weight gain. My friend has come back and we have agreed she should stay here for a few days to build up some strength as we have a nice warm shaded area with lush grass etc for any visiting birds... (we are also looking after a pekin duck who has decided to nest - currently looking after 7 fertile eggs)

    So again I am on the hunt for food suggestions - fresh mainly as we have a good grain etc mix. Her head looks ok. No infection just needs time to heal.

    Chooks (like humans) can be such bullies at times!
    THanks in advance for your help.
    Sally [​IMG]
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I wonder how much desire she has to eat and get stronger. Being at the bottom of the pecking order wouldn't exactly give a bird much drive, I wouldn't think. She may also have some internal damage from these attacks. Silkies are in real danger of head or brain injury because their crest is a skull defect (if you were aware of this, just ignore me.)

    I might try a little scrambled egg with yogurt, and I would probably give a vitamin supplement. Maybe just a bit of cooked hamburger or the like. Maybe a bit of cooked oatmea, not so much because it's so nutritious as because it is easy to eat and flavor.
  3. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    Yes I would increase her protein. Great advice from above post.was she taken care of before like wormed ect, ? Maybe while you have her you should worm her check her for mites and lice and give her a vitamin as well after worming.maybe get her stronger that way. My fear is she was being pecked on before and when she returns it will be worse than before because she will have been removed from the flock and be like a complete stranger when she returns. Absence from the flock might be worse when she returns. When a bird is taken from the flock a new pecking order is established and when that bird returns it's as if it's a new bird. It's a shame you can't keep her. Do watch closely upon her return because my fear is she will be bullied worse than before. This happens when a bird is removed then returned after some time. You would think they would remember her as a flock member but that's usually not the case. Maybe you can keep her to take care of her and keep her safe? Silkies are usually very docile birds and with mixed flocks can easily be the object of bullying. I raise silkies myself.and they can be exceptionally vonuarable in the head area as silkies skulls don't close all the way. Her being a cross likely and luckily probably does not have the open skull but is still likely to be a very docile and sweet bird. Thats just the nature of the silkie. I would see if she would consider letting you have her. Because when she returns I'm certain the bullying will continue and likely be worse than before.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  4. SallyBally

    SallyBally Hatching

    Jan 19, 2014
    Thank you both for your posts.

    I am not really in a posit6ion to keep her... I have a flock of my own and think she will be hurt by my girls too. She is in a sectioned off space at the moment but I am not able to keep her in there in the long term. I will tell my friend what you have suggested and in the mean time give her some more protein.

    On a TOTALLY different note.. I have six 6 week old chicks and this morning I could only find 5... at about 10am someone posted on a facebook group that is for my area that their cat had dragged in a bird... it was my little chick. I went over and collected her but she has a number of wounds on her. Any suggestions as to how to treat the open wounds? I have given her a mash/antibiotic mix and some sugar water. She is resting in a cool dark spot.

    SO ANNOYED at the cat owner. :(

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