Hen pecked/wounded by turkey, help with wound care pls? ~UPDATE

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by brewmiss96, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. brewmiss96

    brewmiss96 Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't know what got into my narraganset, but this morning I went to let the birds out and she was on top of my hen and had pecked at her comb and the skin on the back of her skull so there is an open wound now, pls see pics below.

    I rinsed with saline wash and applied some triple antibiotic ointment. She is in a box in the laundry room and I have withheld food and water for the time being. She did pretty well for our first 'triage' situation.

    My questions:
    1. Can I use antiseptic wash like hydrogen peroxide?
    2. I am worried about getting all the dirt and feathers out of the wound, just keep rinsing and salving?
    3. Can I use steri-strips to close up the wound once I decide it's clean enough, or should I just leave it open, keep it clean, and let it drain & close on its own?
    4. Should I give her water with terrimyacin or get some other antibiotic for her water so I can have infections covered systemically?

    This is also the first time that my young turkey has done anything like this, they were raised together and get along well for a mixed flock. I got a new bird yesterday, but she's not integrated into the flock yet, so I'm wondering if that has something to do with it. Other advise on that is requested too, though keeping them in seperate flocks is not possible at this time (my goal for the future and more land).

    Thank you for the help!

    Misty from the side
    [​IMG]


    Misty from the top with skin pulled over the wound
    [​IMG]

    Misty with the wound open, skin pulled back
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    BOCOMO
    Ouch!!

    "1. Can I use antiseptic wash like hydrogen peroxide?"

    If that is all you have, then cut it with at least 50% sterile saline (boil the water). Betadine (povidone/iodine) in water is pref. (enough to tint water until it looks like strong tea) as it doesn't injure healthy tissue. Given the location and extent of injury I'd probably daub it on with sterile 2"x2"'s (cotton gauze pads). Boil some very sharp scissors and debride the little chunks of flesh on the margins of the wound.

    "2. I am worried about getting all the dirt and feathers out of the wound, just keep rinsing and salving?

    Along with the scissors, boil tweezers remove what you can. Clip the feathers along the margins of the wound (not so they bleed just top half, or so).

    "3. Can I use steri-strips to close up the wound once I decide it's clean enough, or should I just leave it open, keep it clean, and let it drain & close on its own?"

    Yes, this is a fresh wound so steri strips would be very useful. The wound will drain (good thing) as it heals so push the edges together as neatly as possible but don't go overboard with the strips (trying to cover completely). ED: A few will prevent healing edges of wound from seperating as she moves her head around

    "4. Should I give her water with terrimyacin or get some other antibiotic for her water so I can have infections covered systemically?"

    Terramycin has some utility in soft tissue infection, but there are members who know better and will surely respond.

    You might consider plain aspirin (5 325mg/gal.) 3 of the 81mg. in a pint is close.

    Our chooks and turks get along well while ranging, but our turkey hen can sometimes take a notion and beat up on the low tom on the totem pole (doesn't last long but it is vicious). I'd definitely consider alternative living arrangements.
    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2008
  3. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    The best thing you can do is rinse thouroughly, apply betadine or some kind of antiseptic, then apply antibiotic ointment. Then leave it alone. Her head and face are going to swell pretty bad and the wound will drain, but that's ok. You want it to dry out and scab over so don't keep rinsing it over and over. Keep her in a warm, dry, clean environment for a few days then you should be able to turn her back out. Now I know there are people on here that swear you can keep turkeys and chickens together, but I have had toms kill chickens with one good peck on the head. To avoid such incidents in the future it IS best to keep breeds seperated. I do not use antibiotics unless they are dying, that's just me. I don't give my family medicine for every sniffle, so why medicate your animals when not necessary? I have a turkey that got mauled BAD last week by a dog and I did just what I have told you to do and she is wonderfully fine, except for a bunch of feathers missing.
     
  4. FarmerDenise

    FarmerDenise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with Ivan3. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide for prolonged use. Cleaning with betadine solution (occasionally) and saline solution does less damage to healthy tissue. Do allow your bird to eat and drink at will.
    Keep an eye on the wounds. If they look full of puss, clean them with saline solution, otherwise leave it. My vet usually recommends antibiotic.
    The aspirin is for pain as well as an anti inflamatory. I usually crush some up and put a tiny bit on a grape or some other tasty morsel and my birds don't have any trouble eating it.
    They tend to heal up amazingly fast.
     
  5. brewmiss96

    brewmiss96 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your help and advice!!

    Well I've had her in isolation in the laundry room since Sat, she does not like the box! She is alert and ticked!

    Thank you for the asprin water recipe, it has helped her with the swelling and I think it's less painful too, as you can see from the pics below the scab is forming but it looks pretty gnarly. I did debride and cut the feathers which helped a lot.

    Will the scarring create a bald spot on her head?
    How long should I keep her away from the other birds?
    What special steps should I take to re-intergrate her?
    I thought she was my dominate hen, but would they do this to a dominate hen?

    I put her out briefly with the other birds to see the response and they went after her immediately. I don't know if it's the broody hormones, but both the turkeys are posturing agressively now, so they are getting slaughtered this weekend. That was the original intention, but they got a reprieve with the find of a turkey in grandpa's freezer. I can't accept this behavior towards Misty though, so that has sealed their fate.

    So for now she gets to run around the house and I take her out front with me to do the gardening, and let her out in the back before I let the other birds out... She really wants to get out with the others but I will keep her away until she's healed up.

    Misty at the back window
    [​IMG]
    Misty healing up, I will have to knit her a hat!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
  6. FarmerDenise

    FarmerDenise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The feathers will come back. It is truly amazing how well chickens can heal. I would keep letting her around the others, but keep her protected from them. I usually also keep my wounded chickens in the house as long as possible. When I am ready to put them back with the others, I make sure I have the time to stick around and watch what happens, just in case.
    Chickens also seem to sense when one of them has something wrong or is sick. They tend to pick on that one. At least that has been my experience.
     

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