Hen attacked by hawk

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by iadorethesea, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. iadorethesea

    iadorethesea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2007
    About 3 weeks ago my husband came home from work and found one of my 6 hens all crouched down and bleeding , he said the other hens were pecking at her. (These hens are all 5 months old). The injured hen had a wound on the top of her head about the size of a nickle. This wound was very deep, and I am sure I could see her brain. One of her eyes was closed also. I think she was attacked by a hawk, as we have many in this area and my chickens free range durning the day.
    I washed out the wound and put some EMT gel on it (It is an antibiotic, and a pain releving gel). I put her in a separate pen, and gave her food and water. I have been putting the medicine on her head two times a day. Now three weeks later she is doing much better. The wound is scabing over.
    Yesterday I let her out with the other chickens, and they all chased her!. So fearing they would hurt her, I caught her and penned her up by herself again.
    Did I let her out with the other chickens too soon??? Should I be doing something different?? Why did they chase her? When will it be safe to let her free range again?
     
  2. robin416

    robin416 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2007
    She needs a slow reintroduction to the flock. They see her as a threat or interloper and not part of their group. Either make her a large pen in the main coop or if you have a large pet cage move her out to the coop. Let them see her and hear her so that they can get used to her again.

    Some of been successfull at returning a rehabbed bird on the roost after everyone has gone to bed. This one can be really iffy if you can not be there to see how they react when they wake up. Since her wound is not completely healed she's at more risk of reinjury. Of course she can not go during the day until she is completely reintroduced so you'll need to keep her up.
     
  3. iadorethesea

    iadorethesea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2007
    The separate pen I have her in now is attached to the main coop, so all the birds can see each other all the time. There is only a wire fence separating the birds.
     
  4. robin416

    robin416 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2007
    Is your cage large enough to put another girl in there with her? If it is then experiment a bit to see what hen seems to enjoy her company. It might be best to do this at roost time so they aren't quite as fiesty.
     
  5. adoptedbyachicken

    adoptedbyachicken Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    It may not have been a Hawk that started this. Occasionally a hen will get ousted from the flock and they beat them up badly. Try adding one of the hens that is low in your pecking order in with her. Then another if that cage can do it, or take the one out and add another for a few days. Once she has a few new buddies try introducing her to the whole flock late in the day just short of when they are coming in anyway so they are not so energetic. Do that until you’re convinced that she will be safe if you’re gone for the day. Leave her the cage to spend the nights in at first so she is not getting into a squabble over roost space. If you find a few hens that are the main aggressors towards her put them in the cage for a week or 2 so that they loose their seniority. Hopefully one that is friendly towards her will take over and when they get let loose they will abide the new rules.

    Another way if you have the day is to let her out. Let out your lowest other hen and then the next and on every half hour or so. If trouble brews catch the last out and put that one in the cage and carry on. Sometimes that way you can figure it out a bit quicker.
     
  6. iadorethesea

    iadorethesea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2007
    Thanks for the suggestions! I will try all you said. Poor little hen, Her eye that was closed is open again! I thought she would be blind for life.
     

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