HELP! Terrible leg injury

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ellie97, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. ellie97

    ellie97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2011
    Today I found one of my young RIR hens up on a perch not putting weight on her leg. When I got a closer look, I realized that her leg just above the foot was wrapped extremely tightly in string, and the string must have been there for a while, because it was embedded deeply in the skin to where some of it could not be removed, and a huge infected lump surrounded the area. I cut open the abscess so it could drain and got as much as the string off as possible, but there is still some of it wrapped right around the bone to where I will have to cut into the skin really deep to get it out. I cleaned the wound out thoroughly, put on antibiotic cream, and wrapped it up with gauze and vet wrap, but the hen is still non-weight bearing. She is eating and drinking but I am afraid that if I don't get the rest of the string off the infection will not be able to heal and will spread or the leg will lose blood circulation and fall off. Should I cut deeper into the leg and try to get the string out, or should I leave it be? Help!
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Get the string out or it will fester, is my opinion.I haven't dealt with this particular problem before, though.
    I would keep that hen contained in a dog carrier for awhile if it were me, or a hutch of some sort and let her heal for awhile to keep the would clean. But not everyone is set up to be able to do this. They have remarkable healing abilities from what I have read.

    If it were my hen I'd also consider putting her on an antibiotic if it is down to the bone but that's just me. They sell them at the feed store. Unfortunately I can't tell you if that is a good idea or not- in other words antibiotics only kill certain germs and I don't know which antibiotic would be best. I don't like to throw antibiotics around because that breeds resistant germs.

    Make sure that your antibiotic ointment is without painkillers in the wound though. Here is a page with aspirin dosage for hens if you feel she is in pain and you would like to give relief:

    If you need to suture here is a search result:
    this wouldn't be absorbable I suppose
    here is someone who is recommending actual suture sizes
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Get the string out, asap! I found a duck at the feed store with the same problem, but it was like that for a week or more, so it lost the bottom half of its leg.

    Clean the area really well with something like Betadine, find the end of the string, get it out/off, re-clean the area, apply neosporin and wrap, but don't wrap too tight..
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Can't you pull a loose part of the string and unwrap it? I'm having a hard time picturing what you're talking about.

    Either way, the string's gotta go, right? If it's compromising circulation that's not going to fix itself. Tweezers are your friend, and having a helper to hold the bird. I'd irrigate the wound a lot with saline or distilled water to flush out debris, and wrap it. I'm not a huge fan of the antibiotic ointment, myself. Good cleansing is the key to preventing infection.

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