Hen attacked(?) Skin on back of head/upper neck gone - muscle exposed

myretrieverotie

In the Brooder
11 Years
Jun 13, 2008
16
0
22
I found one of my barred rock hens in one of the nesting boxes this afternoon. The skin on the back of her head/neck is completely gone and the muscle is exposed. She is still alert, breathing seems to be normal - perhaps a bit slower. She can move and stand up. I did not notice any further injury. The rest of the flock seems to be uninjured. I flushed the wound with saline and sprayed it with an antiseptic spray I had on hand for the horses & dogs. I also applied a thick layer of antibiotic ointment to the area. I have put her in a large plastic tote with cedar chip bedding. She's currently hanging out in the laundry room. The wound is no longer bleeding. This hen is about 1 1/2 yrs old, Plymouth Barred Rock. We house our chickens in "chicken tractors". There are about 8-10 hens and 1 rooster in each tractor. My concern is if I should continue to treat her or put her down. She doesn't seem to be in a great deal of pain, but then again she can't say "It hurts!!" She's acting very tired. I will post a pic very soon.
 

Cuban Longtails

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Sep 20, 2007
6,026
32
263
Northeast Texas
If she makes it through the night, she's good as gold.
I had a buff brahma pullet with a similar wound from a coon attack. It took her a few weeks for the wound to close but she's alright.
I did keep her separated from the rest of the flock while she healed.
 

PeeperKeeper

Songster
11 Years
Jun 20, 2008
1,121
3
161
Henry County Kentucky
I am curious. What type of cedar chips are you bedding her on?
I'm new to sophisticated chicken raising and have read several times of the danger of using any other bedding shavings than white pine.
Just a caution note. Any one else out there with correct answer to this one?
 

nnbreeder

Songster
11 Years
Jun 22, 2008
3,762
32
233
Oklahoma
True the aeromatic oils in the Cedar is very rough on small animals. With an open wound I would bed her on old towels only to keep shavings out of the wound.
 
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cjeanean

Can't Decide
11 Years
Mar 5, 2008
2,643
12
201
Missouri
definately keep her on towels, I second that! I just just imagine a hen with antiB ointment trying to dust bathe is shavings....very messy and sticky. Other than that, I would ensure that she is kept on less than 8 hours of light to get her out of laying, cause all her energy needs to go to healing, not laying. Hens need to be on a 12-14 hr day to lay, so keep her at 8 or less. A dark room will also keep her from moving around so much. Good luck, and I hope she recovers! You'd be surprised what they'll heal from!
 

mrsengeseth

Songster
11 Years
Aug 20, 2008
1,749
7
171
Colorado...but home is Maine
Yeah, I'd get her off the cedar. From everything I have read, and experience with cage (house...parakeets, cockatiels, conures...etc)birds cedar is bad news.

Keeping her seperate from the others is a good call. They may pick at her wound. No fun for her to be alone, but at least she's safer that way. I'd try to keep her warm and have food and water available to her.

As for treating her wound itself, I think the cleaning and neosporin/antibiotic ointment shold help. If nothing else, it has to feel better clean. Good call. Is it in a spot SHE can pick at it?? If so, you might want to fashion a bib to cover it from her scritching at it.

Just my two cents. Im not new to birds, but I am new to chickens specifically, so take what I say with a grain...or more...of salt.
 

pokachix

In the Brooder
11 Years
Jul 5, 2008
26
0
21
Buckley WA
My guinea hen "Ginny" was attacked one night. Thought she was gone & the next afternoon found her soaking wet in the barn. Her whole back was gone, she looked like the backside of a turkey when you lift it off the pan...Took me quite awhile to pick the leaves & sticks out of the wounds & rinse with saline. You could hear air coming out of the back when she moved so thought she was a goner for sure. Gave her antibiotics & applied Blu-kote, put her in the dog kennel in a dark room. Amazingly she made it & now running with the chix & laying eggs every day. It's amazing what they can survive with the will to live! If only I could get her to roost IN the coop w/the chix! I did have her on shavings w/paper towels covering till the wounds weren't so "oozy" Jody
 

myretrieverotie

In the Brooder
11 Years
Jun 13, 2008
16
0
22
Thanks, everyone! She seems to be doing pretty good. I will get her off the cedar shavings tomorrow (she's already "roosted" for the night. But she's getting around pretty good. She has food and water but not sure she's actually eaten or drank yet. The wound is smack dab on the back of her head so she won't be able to peck at it herself. Thanks again!
 

nnbreeder

Songster
11 Years
Jun 22, 2008
3,762
32
233
Oklahoma
Is she with a rooster normally? That sounds like damage from an overly zealous rooster and then other hens pecking at it. If she is then also look under her wings for damage if the rooster has spurs.
 

myretrieverotie

In the Brooder
11 Years
Jun 13, 2008
16
0
22
Just wanted to let ya'll know that our girl didn't make it through the night. She seemed pretty perky last night but when I checked on her at 5am she was dead. Thanks for your help. I had checked all over and didn't find any other injuries, but I had wondered if the rooster could do that kind of damage. She was always with the rooster. He's a pretty clumsy guy but not overly assertive when it comes to breeding. In fact, the hens get away from him more often than not.
 

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