Help please, Predator or aggressive pecking? **GRAPHIC PHOTO***

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by thesteve4761, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. thesteve4761

    thesteve4761 New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Oct 18, 2012
    Hi all,

    So I don't know if my Americauna was the victim of an aggressive hen, or a predator. I culled her tonight sadly as I highly doubt she would have made it. In human terms, she would have needed at least 12 stitches. She wasn't bleeding profusely at all, but was missing a good amount of feathers and had clearly sliced her head open. I didn't do a great job culling her either, so now I feel quite terrible about the whole ordeal. In short, I'd like to avoid this in the future if at all possible. Any input on whether this looks like aggressive pecking, or perhaps a failed predator attack (hawk?).

    [​IMG]


    Quick background, we had 8 new birds mixed in recently with 5 1 year old hens. 1 new rooster in the mix. We decided to build all of them a new coop. The new coop and old coop are both in an enclosed, uncovered run. I've been leaving the old coop open for the sake of allowing the older hens to transition to the new coop, as it seems they prefer to lay in there. I got home after dark tonight to find some of the older birds roosted in the old coop, but some very watery droppings on the floor. Upon looking in on the other coop, I found the remainder of the flock roosted, but the one injured Americauna was clearly not doing well, with her head cut as the photo shows.

    Now, I think that that Americauna tried to roost in the old coop, and got pecked aggressively over it, hence the above injury. My other thought is that she was attacked by a hawk or other predator and then tried to hide in the old coop for protection. Quite hard to say, but I'm leaning towards the aggressive hen theory. Any thoughts on this? We've not had any other problems with integrating the flocks until today. Our 1yr old Red Star is a little pushy, but I've not even noticed any aggressive pecking before. Please help! It's hard for me to watch the girls all the time between a new puppy and work, but I handle all of them daily, and haven't noticed any injuries yet. If I do find a very aggressive hen in the mix, I'll be culling her also. I don't need a problem bird. Sad day.
     
  2. newbie32

    newbie32 Chillin' With My Peeps

    928
    54
    128
    Aug 16, 2013
    Low Desert, CA
    Was the injured bird a new one or part of the original flock? If it was a new one then I would say it was probably pecked. Did you look at the beaks of the other chickens?
     
  3. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,857
    264
    198
    Mar 27, 2013
    waverly ohio
    [​IMG]

    it looks like a chicken attack, once they start bleeding other chickens are attracted to the red color. it doesn't take long to happen.

    now for the bad news. if you would have cleaned it and kept her somewhat warm (60 degrees f or so). she would have had about an 85% chance of making it. in 3 weeks you would have had to look close for the wound. some people apply neosporin, others will use blue coat. but if you can keep it clean and flies away, you may not need anything at all.
     
  4. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    3,971
    317
    233
    Jan 17, 2013
    California
    Above post is correct sadly. This is a fairly common type of injury and most of the time they heal nicely. I'm very very sorry to have to say that but its true. I wish you the best. If this happens again in the future you will know now that this type of injury can most of the time be healed. I'm very sorry for your loss.
     
  5. thesteve4761

    thesteve4761 New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Oct 18, 2012
    Thanks for the replies.

    1) she was a new bird
    2) the photo does not do the injury true justice. But yes, perhaps she could have made it.
    3) I closely inspected everybody's beaks. No blood or feathers on anybody. Hence my predator concern.
    4) if it happens again, best steps for helping heal the wound ?

    Thanks all for the help. It was a tough choice , but the wife and I both judged the wound likely to end up infected. Noted for the future, and I'll keep my eyes open for who the aggressor is and remove her.
     
  6. newbie32

    newbie32 Chillin' With My Peeps

    928
    54
    128
    Aug 16, 2013
    Low Desert, CA
    If it happens again find the problem hen and remove!

    If the hen is losing blood put pressure on it till it stops. Pour peroxide on it-I don't care what others say, it needs to be done! How do I know this? I am training to be a nurse and it will need immediate cleaning from spore-forming soil-dwelling microorganisms that love to enter in wounds and cause infection!.

    Stitch if you can, if not then blue coat it. No matter what it is best to isolate the hen so the wound can not be reopened from further pecking. Yes chickens love the color red-and pink. They love pecking my toe nail polish!!!

    Sorry for your lose[​IMG]
     
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,387
    916
    291
    Dec 25, 2012
    It was done by another chicken. This is a somewhat extreme example of what is meant by "The Pecking Order" or I guess depending on your point of view, "The Pecking Disorder." If you remove the guilty bird you may as well remove them all because it is as likely as not that all the birds in your flock joined in the "Fun and Games." If you don't wont to hear this I am truly sorry but it is within the boundaries of normal chicken behavior. The injured bird was likely unable to escape from the flock and just stood there absorbing the punishment, and no other hen in your flock was willing to step aside and take the new arrival's place at the bottom of the pecking order.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by