Hen with head wound

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Hummingbird Hollow, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yesterday I let my 9 hens and 1 rooster out to free range and when it came time to put them away I couldn't find one of my hens. It was getting dark and I checked inside the coop and didn't see here there. I remembered that when I let them out there was one hiding around the side of the coop in the farthest corner of the run so I went around and there she was. She had a nasty bald spot on the back of her head and neck, there was a bleeding wound in the center of the bald spot and it looked like the back of her comb was damaged. dark and bloody.

    I scooped her up (she is very docile and calm being handled) and carried her in to the garage, where I held her under one arm while I set up a big dog crate for her. I sprayed the bald spot and the wound with antiseptic/pain killing spray and offered her food and water, which she accepted readily. Today she continues to eat and drink normaly. I treated her wound again.

    So, I have no clue as to how she was injured. Would a rooster do this to her? He's young and overbearing with the hens, but I don't see any other marks on her body from claws,. It's been very cold here and a few hens have dark spots on the tips of their combs that I think is probably frost bite. Would extreme cold cause a wound to her head/neck like that? I suppose it is possible that she stuck her head through some sort of opening and got caught and injured herself trying to get free, but I've had chickens in this run for 4 years and never seen anything like this. Any ideas and suggestions would be valued.

    Also, I am afraid to put her back in the pen with the other chickens with an open wound on her head, both because of the other chickens picking at it and also because of the severe cold. I'm considering keeping her indoors a through the weekend to keep a close eye on her but that won't give the feathers a chance to grow back. Has anyone ever put a turtle-neck on a chicken? I'm considering purchasing a pair of kids knee socks, cutting the foot off and sliding it over her head and neck to provide warmth.

    What do you think?
     
  2. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The very first thing I thought of as I read your story is "Here is another case of an immature rooster scalping a hen." I'm not saying he would have deliberately tried to injure her, but rather that during the course of a mating attempt, he has held on too tightly and there was a significant injury inflicted. Keep a close eye on your girls as quite often this sort of injury can appear in multiple hens, in which case I would recommend re-homing him and getting a gentler, more mature replacement or keeping him in a separate pen.

    It is definitely a wise move to keep her apart from the rest of the flock. Chickens are opportunistic and if they see or smell blood they will peck her to death. I would continue to keep the wound clean, and set her up somewhere in a separate crate/pen where she will be warm and can rest and get over her injury in peace. Feed and water her as per usual - you could also give her something tempting to eat like scrambled eggs or porridge with yoghurt. Oh, and a little extra TLC always makes everything better too. [​IMG]

    You could certainly try the turtle-neck idea but I would think she will be warm enough inside her crate without it, as long as there is some sort of bedding in there to keep her comfy - be that a blanket or some straw. Especially since, as you say, she is being kept inside.

    Good luck! Chickens are surprisingly resilient, so I'm sure she will make a good recovery.

    - Krista
     
  3. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've looked closely at the rest of my hens and don't see any suspicious feather loss or disruption in the other 8...although I realize that doesn't mean my young rooster isn't responsible for the injury to this one hen. I'll keep a close eye on the rest of the flock. I do have one hen who has been hiding in the coop on the top roost almost all day since this rooster came to maturity because he chases her all over the place.

    As for the turtle-neck idea, I wasn't planning on using it while she is inside and isolated from the rest of the flock. However, I figured she may not regrow feathers for awhile (it was my understanding that chickens only grow feathers during their moulting period and she moulded in October) I thought that when her wound is healed, she might still need some protection from the cold, since winter is only just begining.
     
  4. RavensRansom

    RavensRansom Out Of The Brooder

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    Maybe get her a nice cap:

    [​IMG]

    This should take care of any unwanted interest in her poor head while she heals & regrows her feathers. [​IMG]
     
  5. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is just too funny. Does it come in hen sizes?

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. RavensRansom

    RavensRansom Out Of The Brooder

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    Great pic!

    Didn't check sizes, but it's always possible they're out there. Or, you could buy some of the spikes & add'em to your turtleneck idea. She'd look like the baddest chick in the yard. [​IMG]
     
  7. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A big thick leather spiked chicken collar or perhaps this would work:[​IMG]Note how the back goes down and protects the neck. God help the rooster that messes with this chick!
     
  8. RavensRansom

    RavensRansom Out Of The Brooder

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    Perfect. Didn't even think to suggest an open sallet helm! She can go medieval on any of them with that spike. [​IMG]

    Joking aside, I do hope she recovers & doesn't have any more injuries from whatever source.
     

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