Help!! Pullet scalped on one side of head...possibly from over vigorous rooster!


9 Years
Jun 16, 2010
During morning chicken chores I noticed that my pullet "Bess" had blood on the side of her head. On closer inspection I found a huge tear that goes all the way through the tissue layers. The wound gapes opened. You can see her tiny little skull on that side of her head. Her eye is intact and so is her waddle. The wound is deep and isn't bleeding anymore...just leaking this serous fluid. (I believe the blood was from the other girls pecking her) I cleaned it as well as I could and used a bulb syringe to get inside the wound. I put a gauze bandage around her head to try to control the fluid leakage. (She shakes her head and flings it everywhere!!) I had some left over antibiotic from my hen "Helen's" injuries last year and I gave her that. She took it well. I have separated her from the flock and "Bess" is resting confortably in the house. Without staples or stitches, what is the chance of a wound that deep healing up? Anything else I should or could be doing?

I believe the injury occured from our rooster "Heph" He grabbs at the girls heads really rough when he mounts them. Because of the weather they have been in the coop, so I know it wasn't due to a wild animal attack. Would you get rid of the roo?

I had the same issue but no rooster. She scalped her head behind her comb and went down to the skull
it was my sisters chicken but I listened anyways. They cleaned it off good dried it some and put some lanolin/antiseptic ointment on the injury. They had Blue Kote for her so the other chickens wouldn't peck at it but we didn't want to put her with the other chickens considering how deep it went. We kept her inside for a while now and shes recovering well. You just have to put lanolin on it everyday and it will heal quicker.

I don't know about the roo. Maybe separate them, put one in a different cage.
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She should heal up pretty well. Chickens are amazing like that. Keep the wound moist for the first few days to start the healing process, and then let the wound start to dry up and scab over. Keep it covered in some sort of ointment, but I wouldn't try to keep in covered in gauze or bandages once it stops oozing. The bandages are not going to stay in place very well and she may be constantly trying to remove them.

She will need to be separated from the flock until she heals. She could also use some extra protein (BOSS, yogurt, meal worms) and some additional vitamins (PolyViSol, Poultry Drench/NutriDrench) in her diet to aid in healing.

I don't use antibiotics unless there is evidence of an established infection because they carry their own risks in usage. Since you have already started using them, you need to finish the course. She will need a round of probiotics (yogurt, buttermilk, organic ACV) after to recoup her GI bugs. A 2-week course of probiotics should cover that.

She should eventually heal up. If you can bring a mild-mannered friend in from the flock to keep her company while she heals, that would be best. Flock animals do much better with a friend to chat them up while they are recovering. This also makes re-introductions much easier when she is healed.

As far as the roo goes- you need to decide what you want to do with him. I used to have a rough roo that I got rid of when he beat the stuffing out of my girls. If yours is constantly rough with his ladies then he is probably not worth keeping. There are too many good roos out there looking for homes to put up with a mean one. I replaced mine with an absolute love who woos his ladies, feeds them, coos over them. I named him Alfredo, but I should have named him Don Juan.

Good luck.
The one that had her head injury was lowest on the pecking order, I swear she's gained more weight since being inside!
It's been over 2 weeks and Bess is recovering amazingly well! She's gone outside on some of the warmer days we've had. She loves the attention, but misses the flock. I have ordered a chicken diaper so she can become a house chicken until the head wound fully heals. The scab that forms falls off from time to time. She shakes her head a lot. Maybe it is itchy from healing? Just wanted to thank everyone again for the advice!
Hi guys I'm new on here, I know i'm late with this thread but I just want to share what happened to mine. any way we've had four hens for about a year now.
the other day I spotted a pretty little chicken 16 weeks old whilst buying their food. so i bought it, brought it home, popped it in the nest box at roosting time (this is what i was led to believe to do- WRONG!) so the next morning the new hen was being picked on a bit, but was staying in the nest box away from the other four, i thought she would need some time used to her new 'friends'.
So back home home from work (all excited!) i found my new girl hiding in the feeder bleeding from her head! oh no!!! so i took her out of the run, not really sure was i was looking at first, but she had been scalped REALLY BAD! they had ripped the skin off her head from the comb right down her neck(after only had her one day)
I took her to a guy around the corner that knows about poultry. expecting him to have to euthanise her. I'll get to the point now! where the skin had been torn it sort of rolled back down her neck (even he said she was in a bad way)
So while i held the hen, he pulled the skin back into place (working out where it had originated from) and SUPER GLUED! YES! SUPER GLUED the skin back in place. apparently it seals it and helps keep bugs and the like out. any way i got her back shes not pretty now but he assures me that as long as it isn't infected birds will recover from this type of injury. when i picked her up she was drinking well and NOT DEAD! thank god, i felt so bad. hopefully she gets better soon with some rest, i let you know how she does- if any body is still reading this thread (p.s. definately need two people and quick drying super glue)

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