Hen missing skin & feathers on neck - Need help! *Updated w/ Pics*

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


11 Years
Nov 10, 2008
Dallas, TX
One of our 15 week old Rhode Island Whites is missing the feathers and skin on the back of her neck. When we found her she was separated from the rest of the flock, standing in the sunflowers. The wound looks a little bigger than a quarter. We think she got caught on something, but have no idea what since they free range during the day. It is not bleeding but I can see a little bit of blood on the bottom of the wound and some on her feathers.

We do have her separated from the rest of the flock. She is in a cat carrier right now in the house. We put shavings in the crate but aren't sure if that's best. She is fairly calm, possibly in shock.

We are planning on trying to clean the wound with saline and possibly a chlorhexidine rinse. We have not dealt with injuries before and need advice quick. Please let me know what we need to look for, if we should try wrapping with anything or leave it open, meds, etc.

I will post pics soon, but I wanted to get this posted as quick as possible.

Any help is greatly appreciated!!!


Update: We flushed with saline first and then chlorhexidine. Before doing so, we noticed that there was some fresh blood on the shavings. (We moved her from the cat carrier to a box.) While we were flushing with saline there was a spurt of blood that came out. She has not eaten any food or scrambled egg, not sure about water. Here are some pics. Please let me know if you have any advice!

Pic before saline wash:

Pics during saline wash:


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You did fine. I would clean it up a bit with whatever you choose, then put a little Neosporin or similar antibiotic ointment on it, but it will most likely heal if you simply keep her in the house and be sure the wound stays clean. I wouldn't try to put a dressing on it. The shavings are fine. Offer water and food, of course, and maybe a little treat, a little yogurt or scrambled egg if you have it around. Chickens are better at healing than people.

It is quite likely that another chicken did this, especially if you have roosters -- and you might have one or two even if you bought females, as you may already know.

I have a group the same age as yours. I have a couple of roos who think it is time to start mating, but none of the pullets agree. As a result, the roos grab the hens by the neck and try to climb on, and the pullets squawk loudly and run. I'm surprised I haven't seen any missing neck feathers yet. Even if they are all females, another chicken could have done the damage.
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Oh, if there are feathers that are rubbing on the wound, you might trim them back a little. Look at the shaft of the feather for blood supply, and don't cut them too close if you can avoid it. You could pull a few if you need to.
Your pics came up while I was editing. That does look like a bit more than a roo should generally do. But you could have an overly aggressive roo, as well.

Maybe you will be able to figure it out by watching them and checking the yard tomorrow.

She'll be fine, I still feel, with your nursing care!
Thank you! We just checked on her again. It looks like she's eaten a little bit of scrambled egg, and there isn't any more blood since we did the rinse. We'll try to get the feather off before bedtime tonight. We'll have to soak it pretty good to get it un-stuck!

I was wondering if that could have been from a roo. Two of the 11 that we originally got are roos. We also have one roo that is 8 months old. He's been chasing the girls around lately.

Thanks for the info and I'll post an update tomorrow.

Oof. Might best leave the feather alone til tomorrow, in case that is an arterial bleeder, and give it time to close off. Then a saline soak should be safer -- I hope. If it spurts again, apply gentle pressure til it stops oozing, for about 5 minutes.
Also, a bit of either flour or corn starch make a good "styptic pencil" for chickens, to stop bleeding.
We had somewhat the same a few weeks back, Our buff hen Helga was pecked almost exactly like that but on the underside of her neck by her mate buff roo Sven. We kept her isolated from the flock in a pen inside the coop until she was healed. When we released her back into the flock Sven almost immediately went after her again.
I cornered him, subdued him and frankly told him that if he did not treat his mate with dignity that he would be beheaded and we would eat him. To date he has been the prefect gentleman. These 2 are our only buffs and we plan on breeding as they mature to age.
Since then Helga seems to have gained some stature within the flock and to date does not get messed with by anyone, but she is still very cautious. She hangs with the easter egger hens.
We used the blue spray and vaseline to keep her safe after releasing her back into the flock.

Hope all goes well.
Yeah, it's called Blue Kote, seems to be pretty good for masking bare skin to prevent pecking. Stains everything purple, though, including my chronically purple thumbnail.

Mary, the chicken seems to be doing ok today. We cleaned out the wound last night and then again this morning. We have not put anything on it other than to clean it. She still has some feathers stuck to the neck muscles. I'll try to put a wet wash cloth on her tonight to try to get them un-stuck.

A friend of mine said that when her hen got attacked by a dog, she washed the wound once, put bag balm on it, and left her alone. Should I continue to wash the wound or just put some stuff on and leave her alone?

Mary was positioned toward her food this morning, so hopefully that means she was eating. I put some yogurt in there for her and as of noon DH said she hadn't eaten any.

As long as there is no infection, there's no reason for antibiotics, right? How about electrolytes in her water, or ACV?

Thank you to those who have posted already, I really appreciate it!!!

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