Hen picking herself

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by belliott, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. belliott

    belliott Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 23, 2013
    Last Sunday, we had a neighbor's dog dig into our chicken yard again. Killed another hen and injured one before I could stop the carnage. (That's the last time he will get in any chicken yard).. The injured hen required stitches which our son, who is an RN, did a wonderful job sewing her up. We have kept her inside in the kitchen all this week. She is healing nicely. We gave her electrolytes as well as a dropper of Silver BeSafe once a day, Neosporin was placed on the wound for the first 3 days, switching over to Blue Lotion.because we wanted to introduce her back to the flock when she was well enough.
    Today, we tried to introduce her back into the flock. Everything was going smoothly but she is picking at herself once outside. We did not see any signs of her doing that while incarcerated. The other hens did not bother her but the minute she started picking herself, the guineas ran over and started picking at her too, So we had to take her back out of the flock

    Has anyone had this happen before, a chicken picking themselves? If so, how do you stop it and why doesn't she pick at herself while here in the confinement of our kitchen?
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2013
    Is she picking at the stitches, or is she picking at an infection?

    As for why she's only doing it in the yard, well, just a theory but maybe it's because in the flock a chicken needs to fit in. In isolation it can simply let itself be in convalescence, including lying down whenever it wants, showing its illness or injury in its behavior, but when out in the flock it needs to pretend it's well even if it's not, and it's likely that once you put her out there the pressure to fit in drives her to try to remove her obvious difference, be it scab or stitches or whatever.

    Or it could be the lighting difference, if there is one.

    Best wishes.
  3. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2013
    If the wound is located on her back or under wings,then a hen saddle may help with the picking as it covers the wound. Yes,chickens will pick/peck at wounds,for no other reason than it is there and looks different. Wound may be itchy/irritating as it starts to heal.

    Wound/stitches may have been more noticeable to her being outside in daylight,she was probably preening herself along with everyone else and saw this wound/stitches and thought this is not suppose to be here,i will pick at it.
  4. belliott

    belliott Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 23, 2013
    That makes a lot of sense, Thanks for the reply. Her wound is indeed on the back and under the right wing. I will definitely try the hen saddle. I am sure it is itching and I probably need to put more neosporin on it to soften the skin around the stitches. I had planned to just let the stitches rot away on their own so thought the Blue Lotion would be enough to keep it dry.
  5. msyfoopoo

    msyfoopoo Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 12, 2014
    North Chicagoland
    I adopted a hen from a large flock, and she had a bare spot on her back, which I thought was from other hens pecking at her. But when I got home, I found out SHE was the one pecking at herself. I spent some time following her around with a stick, and each time she did that neurotic behavior, I would tap her with the stick to get her to stop. In about 2 weeks she stopped the behavior of pecking herself. I haven't seen her do it since. Her old flock was around 200 hens, her current flock is 11. I chalked it up to being in a less crowded situation.

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