Infection on White Leghorn Hen


6 Years
Sep 22, 2013
Hello, this is my first post. I take care of a flock of 9 chickens. I went away for about 2 and a half weeks, leaving the care of them to my dad, who I live with. When I came back, one of my white leghorns had a terrible infection on her back. It looks pretty old. It's this round, dry, black spot on her back and the surrounding skin is yellow and swollen. It looks like the infection is halting the growth of new feathers too. I also noticed her comb is splotchy black significantly more than my other 2 White Leghorns. She seems to be fine. She's eating, drinking, and running about like any healthy chicken would. She's even laying (I believe. She may have just been brooding on another hen's egg.) I don't have the money to take her to a vet. My questions are, What should I do about the infection and are her eggs still safe to eat?
Pictures of the comb and wound would be very helpful. Are there scabs on the comb or it is just darkened? I would clean the wound once with hydrogen peroxide letting it bubble for a few minutes, or if you don't have it then put a warm soap wet wash cloth on it and hold her for about 10 minutes. Then dry it off. Hopefully that has softened the scab by then. Apply neosporin or other antibiotic ointment daily. If it is very swollen, soft, and squishy, there may be pus inside that needs to be squeezed out, and irrigated once with the peroxide. Keep applying the neosporin each day. Flies may get into the wound and lay maggot larvae, so keep her inside if needed. BluKote when it heals may keep the other chickens from pecking her red skin.
There's only dark spots. They aren't scabs. If there's pus that needs to be squeezed out, do you recommend I lance and drain it? Then peroxide it?
What is the cause? Do you have a rooster? It's probably a pecking injury if not, unless she just happened to catch herself on something sharp, or something like that..

I might pick or soak off at least some of the scab, in this case, to see if there is a lot of pus under it, and because the surrounding skin appearance indicates infection. Mostly an antibiotic ointment and daily washing will hopefully heal it, but you will probably have to keep her indoors or flies will lay eggs in it, she will get maggots, and never heal. I would not try to lance it. One caution: never use a topical med with a "caine"drug, such as cetacaine, benzocaine, etc.

You can clean with peroxide, homemade saline, soap and water, a dilute Betadine solution -- the cleansing is what's important. Peroxide and Betadine are good for killing germs, but both damage new tissue so should be used diluted and sparingly, while cleaning up the wound. Human wound cleansers are fine, too, but watch for a "caine" drug in the ingredients.

You may not need to do anything at all to the comb spots. They could be small pecking injuries which will probably heal without treatment, or they could be dry fowl pox, which will also heal without treatment. I'd just keep an eye on the comb for swelling, warmth or other sign of infection.
Well, I just went out and put peroxide on the scab and noticed that 1) the peroxide didn't hurt her. It didn't even sizzle, which makes me think this is either not an infection or that it's so advanced all the tissue even surrounding the scab is completely dead and gone. 2) the hard scabby part of the infection goes underneath the skin and perhaps even deeper than that. I can only explore it so far before it's completely swallowed by feathers. There are feathers growing out of it on one side and then one side is bald.

I do have roosters. I had 3. One alpha orpington, one secondary orpington (he died last night actually for seemingly no reason, no scarring, no odd behavior, no warning signs whatsoever of what happened to him) and one bantam Araucana, who I call Fancy. Fancy is very timid. He's at the bottom of the pecking order and he knows it. He doesn't even mate with the hens.
There's only dark spots. They aren't scabs. If there's pus that needs to be squeezed out, do you recommend I lance and drain it? Then peroxide it?

Yes it needs to come out or it will keep getting worse. Neosporin ointment helps the scabs to keep from sealing.

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