Hole in Roosters Back from dog attack-What to do next?-Pics


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jul 14, 2008
SW Virginia
Hi. My Silver Phoenix Rooster was attached a couple of days ago (Friday Morning) by a dog. He received a puncture wound on his back that looks really bad. It is not bleeding, but you can see his insides and it is kind of hollow-ish. I washed it out with sterile saline and someone told me to put this Blue Lotion from Farnam (contains ISO alcohol, propylene Glycol, Glycerine, Urea, Sodium Propionate, Technical Furfural, Methyl Violet and Acriflavin). The problem is, when i put it on him on Friday, it just kind of went in. And disapeared. So I quite using that, I hope it was not the wrong thing to use I will be very upset. And I used this stuff I used on one of my other chickens when she was injured last year called EMT gel that I bought at tractor supply. But her wound was just to her skin, it wasnt a hollow punchture wound like this. Anyways, I didn't stitch him up, maybe I should have, its probably too late now, right? Do I need to? I have attached pics so you can see what it looks like and help me make a decision on what to do. I started putting the EMT gel on him on Saturday and am still putting it on him 2x per day and again this morning. but it just seems to disappear in the hole. He is eating a little, and might be drinking, and every now and then tries to let out a crow (doesn't sound as good as usual). But he is mising a bit of feathers from his back and under his wing and I bet he is bruised pretty good from the dog getting him so he is certainly sore. Normally I can not pick him up, but he lets me without a major fuss right now. So, any advise? The first photo is so you can see where the wound is, and the second is a close-up of the hole and how you can see his insides and the slight hollowness, whatever i put on him disappears in his body after a while.




10 Years
Feb 12, 2009
Pike Co., GA & Palm Beach Co., FL
A few questions....Is he breathing OK? No rattles or wheezing? The reason I ask is that chicken lungs are close to the back. If he has a punctured lung, his chances are limited. It`s normal for them to be pokey after such a trauma, but if his lung is punctured, and you should be able to tell, now that you know what to look/listen for, there`s not much that can be done. Discontinue applying any meds and leave him alone. Watch him and see how he gets along for a few days. They seem to miraculously recover from severe injuries on their own sometimes. Be sure he is penned alone and that flies don`t blow him. Good luck.......Pop


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jul 14, 2008
SW Virginia
Thanks guys for the reply. He is separated, sorry forgot to mention that, he is in my garage in a cage by himself and I make sure no flies get on him. I do not hear any rasping, rattles or wheezing or strange sounds so it does not sound like his lungs were pierced. But, is it safe to continue applying the EMT gel even though it sort of disappears in his body after a while? I do not want it to dry out, should i use something else?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jul 14, 2008
SW Virginia
Is alushield better than the EMT gel? Is it ok on such an open wound? Like I mentioned, you can see his insides and it is somewhat hollow and what i put on there eventually disappears into his body cavity?

Barrett Farm

10 Years
Jun 8, 2009
Silicon Valley
Hi I am new to the forum. I was looking for info about something I found in a laying box and saw your damage.

I had a dog break through my fence and steal a chicken. When I rushed next door, my neighbor thought we were too late. But when she heard my voice, she opened her eye and looked at me. She too had a gaping hole on her back between her wings. There was no blood, just a tear and opening in the skin the size of a 1/2 dollar piece. I flushed with Benadine then applied Silver Sulfadiazine Cream. It is a RX for people that helps grow new skin after a burn. Perhaps your feed store has a vet version that will work. I covered with a large BandAid and kept her separate for one week. Changed the bandage every 2 days and added more cream and Bactriban (a RX strength Neosporin). It all closed up and healed over. The feathers cover the damage and new feathers are beginning to come in. Good luck.


11 Years
Oct 1, 2008
Hector, Ar
Welcome Barrett,
I am not sure what EMT is? After you've done the best you can to sanitize the area and it is dry, you spray on the alu shield. It doesn't have anything in it that will kill bacteria so squirt in your neosporin etc.. and then spray the alushield. It acts just like skin, and will allow the area to heal.


10 Years
Apr 20, 2009
Here's something that might help you, or hopefully anyone else that might need the info in a pinch. It pretty much describes my advice for wounds.

For puncture wounds, especially, you'll want to continue to flush out the wound with saline. I like to finish it up with a final 'rinse' of warm water with a little iodine in it til it's tea colored. I call it Iodine Tea. Betadine is great for this. That way if some remains, the iodine will help kill bacteria.

When you flush, pay careful attention to what comes out. And what it smells like.

I've had a couple of birds with wounds like this, one with a wound so very much like this that it takes me back. She was fine after a pretty good length of healing period, lived for years.

What's going to be very very important is making sure that the feathers are clipped away from the area and don't dip in there, keeping the area open and clean until it heals, and making sure it doesn't heal on top before the underneath is healed. For that reason I wouldn't stitch, especially with animal bites.

Anyway here's the long article I hope it helps. Please feel free to email me with any questions on any of it:

Here's my usual way of doing wounds. It's worked for some pretty extreme wounds, including one 2x1 wound that went all the way down to the silver covering of the spine of one bird.

First, gather materials:
VetWrap or similar self-adhesive wrap.
gauze wrapping type bandages or squares (depending on what you have to bandage)
non-stick pads (depending on what you have to wrap)
antibiotic ointment (neosporin, Swat for horses if you have flies around)
hydrogen peroxide (h202)
warm water
a needleless syringe - preferably a big one like 30 cc's
suture material if you need it (this ideally should be left to a vet)
a small pair of scissors like cuticle scissors are helpful
large scissors
(duct tape in some cases)
a good safe blood clotter. I prefer Clotisol as it's not poisonous and clots IMMEDIATELY even in high blood situations. You can even use it inside of beaks. It's water based, lasts ages for a small bottle. Seriously - ages. You can pretty much only get it online, but it's a must-have for a cabinet. Once you use it, you won't go back.
clean clothes that can be stained

First, an important note. It would be ideal if, as poultry owners faced with an injured bird, that the bird be taken to a qualified veterinarian who can not only dress the wounds, access the damage, but also prescribe the correct antibiotics and follow up as necessary. This, first and foremost, is what I recommend for any wound situation that is more than minor. Please take that to heart.

If instead you decide to treat the wound yourself, here are some basic instructions on how to do so. Note that every wound, every case, is different. Use your common sense and imagination on determining when this protocol must be flexed to fit your situation.

First, examine the bird and find all wounds. Use your big and little scissors to trim feathers away from the area. Try to only take as many as could touch the wound, no more - they need feather protection and the feathers won't grow back til next moult. Also be careful, if wing feathers are near, not to cut the living flesh part inside feather quills.

If the wounds are under the wing, sometimes you can simply wrap the wing in a t-shirt to keep whatever touches the wing clean. Baby tshirts would be great for this. Neck part at the top of the wing, fitted with a little duct tape on the cloth (not tight please) and just tie the other end of the tshirt.

Make sure to look very carefully against the skin for puncture wounds. There might not be look, and puncture wounds are tricky and hard to find. Note the location and severity of all wounds.

Take your syringe and fill with H202 (straight) or h202 slightly diluted with water. Use the syringe to vigously clean the wound area including in the wounds. If the wounds are puncture wounds, use diluted water/h202, not straight. You only use h202 the first time as it tends to burn tissues and keep them from healing if you continue. But it's great for bubbling out bits of dirt from inside the wound. Do this cleansing about three times per wound.

Follow up by rinsing out the h2o2 with a water/iodine mixture made to be just the color of slightly strong iced tea. You want it warm. Fill your same syringe that you used with the h2o2 and flush the wounds rather vigorously.

At this time, if there are any pieces of flesh that need to be removed, remove them. This is where I use a q-tip dipped in a bottle-cap full of clotisol (so you don't contaminate the original bottle).

Doing this on a table that's ok to stain is best. I've done this on my truck's tail gate as I can clean it afterwards. Place a lot of papertowels under the birds for these two cleansing phases to keep the drainoff from going everywhere.

Use another clean papertowel to dry the wound. You want to leave some iodine solution inside the wound - it doesn't have to be skin-dry. Just dry enough for some ointment to stick.

Once the wound is well cleaned, then you'll want to dress it. I use Neosporin and q-tips most often for this job. If there are flies in the area at all, I will use Neosporin inside the wounds (ointment) and use Swat wound ointment for horses instead. (It has fly repellent that's safe for poultry in it.) I fill punctures with neosporin. If they're deep, I stick the top of the tube into the wound (and throw away the tube after I'm done with everything). Pack it. You usually want air in a wound, but puncture wounds can sometimes heal on top first and leave a pocket inside. The antibiotic ointment (not creme) is a little insurance against too much bacteria and thus abcesses.

If the wound is one that absolutely must be stitched, then pack it with the antibiotic ointment. If you're using a flyproof ointment, wipe the wound and then use the fly-proof on top. Otherwise just wipe slightly so there's a little antibiotic ointment on the important top part of the wound. You don't want to stray too far from just the wound, keep the bird dry.

On closing wounds with sutures. Puncture wounds shouldn't be sutured. Bad bacteria love a place where there's no oxygen. Suturing closes the wound and encourages festering within. As much air as you can get to a wound, the better, except that the interior of punctures should have some antibacterial action going on.

I've had some serious wounds in my flock before. The only time I've sutured was when a very large flap of skin was torn from the front of a neck (read as 3 inches by 10 inch flap). Another recent case involves a possible rather large hole in a crop which, should it leak food, should be sutured. Otherwise try to leave things open. Poultry can regrow an amazing amount of skin back if there's muscle underneath. New skin will granulate and grow in to fill in gaps that would surprise you.

On the areas that are just uncovered, I usually use antibiotic creme (versus ointment) because it's water based. Sometimes I'll just put a thin smear of antibiotic ointment, however, if that's what I have. Or fly-preventative ointment if there are flies in the area.

If at all possible, try not to cover with bandages. The average bandage keeps air out and moisture in and not in a good way. If you must bandage (a dirt floor area, extreme fly issues, etc) then try to keep the bandage to a minimum and very airy. That's why I'm not a big fan of nonstick bandages. They tend to trap moisture and cause a very warm airless area. But sometimes you have to use them. If so, cover the wound with the bandage. Wrap twice with very gauzey gauze wrap. Then put one layer only of VetWrap over. If you must secure (to keep the bandage from falling, for example) you can use very thin strips of duct tape like you would tape a birthday present. Using as little as possible, but a very strong tape like duct tape, helps let the air in.

Sometimes I've even used just one layer of a very clean paper towel rather than use a non-stick. Afterwards, if you have to remove it, you can soak with warm water and pick the bits out if it sticks. Gauze tends to embed in wound seepage.

Think out of the box when it comes to covering areas that are wounded. With my geese who had multiple puncture and surface wounds on their chest, and a high fly area, I used one white sheet that I formed into a sort of front-bib and tied behind their back. T-shirts are also awesome to cover a bird's body. Buy the appropriate size, slip the neck over their neck, their legs through the arm holes, cut two holes through which you slip their wings. Gather the bottom end (cut so that you don't cover their vent) at the top of their back and duct-tape the cloth to make it stay fitted. T-shirts are very airy, cheap, washable, and absorbent.

If your bird requires stitches, suture material with thread attached can be found at many feedstores or purchased online ahead of time. The size you want is for dogs and cats. Sutures aren't stitched like a pillow case, but each stitch is its own knot. The semi-circular needles of suture needles are ideal for going into and out of the skin. Note: stitching is not easy - skin is tough, usually the needle is slippery, and it's rather tough to do. Overestimate the amount of suture material you need as you'll make knots and cut off the excess bit sticking up.

Many wounds, if properly cleaned and dressed and left airy, do not need much maintenance. Oddly, one of the best ways of telling whether or not a wound is doing well is by using your nose. Smell the wound at the time of cleaning. Wounds have a particular almost sweet but not cloyingly sweet smell. Remember the smell. Then smell the wound daily to see if you smell rot. If you do, there's not enough air to the wound and possible infection going on.

Wounds will seep a little - that's natural and the body's way of dealing with wounds. Usually the seepage will be mostly clear and smell of wound. However, if there's any opaqueness to it, or clotted texture, that's infection. Also there will be some natural inflammation as the body tries to bully off the bad bacteria and bring in healing materials to the wound. However excessive inflammation, discoloration (especially black or green), should be noted.

If a wound needs cleaning or examining, take off what bandages you can gently. If they stick to the seepage from the wound, use warm water to soak the bandage parts remaining away from the drainage.

Then examine the wound, determine what needs to be done, and redress from the iodine stage onward.

Many wounds do not require additional antibiotics other than topical (on the skin) antibiotic dressings. However in the case of animal bites that weren't caught immediately, cat bites, and wounds that have been sitting or are particularly deep, it may be a good idea to treat with antibiotics. If you make this decision, please be sure to get one that is appropriate for wounds. The packages at the feedstore are not.

Penicillin G Procaine (Aqueous Pen-G) is commonly found at many feedstores in their fridge section. It's awesome to keep in your own fridge for a rainy day. It's a very thick antibiotic and requires a thicker gauge needle. I would use no thinner than a 22 gauge, preferably something more thick at a length of .75 to 1 inch. At many feedstores, you can buy 3 cc syringes that are together already with needles. These are nice to have on hand as well as that 30 cc syringe that you'll use to flush wounds.

Instructions on how to give an injection are available separately as well as how to treat with antibiotics. If you do choose to use injectable antibiotics, be prepared to go the entire recommended course. Penicillin G Procaine is a concentrated penicillin (they're not all created equally) and only is required to be given every other day. Based on the type of antibiotic you expect to use, buy that many syringes plus two.

Birds in healing mode need help being stabilized, nourished, and hydrated. We all know how delicate birds can be, but it's surprising how resilient they can be at times. However, wounds will often depress a bird or cause them to go into shock. A stressed or shocked bird may not be able to digest foods they're commonly given. For that reason, I recommend only giving easily dissolved feeds when a bird is in the first stages of recovery. Think crumbles, pellets, etc. You don't want to make a drastic change in their diet ever, much less when they're already stressed. If a bird is reluctant to eat, try wetting the pellets/crumbles. You can also add a boiled egg yolk (one per six cups of food) mashed into the crumbles. I like to also give probiotics (yogurt, Fastrack, Probiocs, acidophilus, or whatever I have available) during this time to combat a secondary intestinal disorder from stress and change of way of eating. Yogurt is simple. You can mix 1 tablespoon per two cups of feed.

The added protein in an egg yolk helps the bird to heal. Adding a capsule of vitamin E to that mash (one per 2 cups of mash) also helps healing. If the birds are stressy, or not able to eat normally, I'll use a vitamin/electrolyte mix in their water for the first few days. I never ever use an oral antibiotic for wound treatment. Period.

It's unfortunately common that poultry are victims of predation and wounds. They are delicate and, with their ultra-fast metabolisms, can die readily if they decide to. Remember that an injured bird can often have internal injuries we never see. If you lose them, just remember you tried your best. However you might be surprised, with proper wound-care, how many of these birds recover to absolutely normal lives. Just be patient as healing takes a while. Usually separate the birds, but if they can be near their peers they take heart from it and will do better.

Good luck with your flock, and I hope this information has been helpful.
Nathalie Ross
(Please do not reproduce without permission of the author. The author is not a veterinarian and does not intend to dispense information that at all should replace the advice of a qualified avian vet.)


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