Injured hen; lots of questions

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tenMOacres, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. tenMOacres

    tenMOacres Hatching

    Mar 19, 2007
    One of my hens has a gash on either side of her back. The skin is split, but there’s no bleeding. I have isolated her, but not medicated her. I don’t have any Blue-Kote; is neosporin ointment okay until I can get some? Or should I not traumatize her any further? She had holed up in a favorite nest and I didn’t want the other hens bothering her, so I moved her to the brooder box.

    I had thought my hens were molting; the feathers around their heads are missing, and on 4 of them their backs are completely bare. But now I have to think the rooster is responsible. Is this common or is he just really bad at his job? The hen to rooster ratio is 11 to 1; is that too few? They are all one-year-olds, plus two (one of each flavor) that we hatched out in November. Only 2 of the 11 do not have bright red combs, and we’re getting around 6 eggs a day right now. I would really like to hatch a clutch if anyone decides to go broody (they are Buff Orpingtons) but not at the expense of the hens’ well-being! You guys have been such a wealth of information for me. I really need your advice on this. Do you think it’s the rooster? What do I do now?
  2. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    No question...Mr. Roo caused her injury.
    Neosporin is fine for now. It's an antibiotic.
    Separating her is a good idea.
    To help protect your girl's back, I would suggest investing in some Chicken Saddles.
  3. ChickenChic

    ChickenChic Hatching

    Jan 22, 2007
    I wouldn't assume the rooster is responsible. I have a couple of my girls that have the same problem and I have NO roosters. They don't have feathers on their backs right now because of a molt. My girls get very board and peck at one another quite often if I get a little off on their feeding schedule. They are very finicky (sp) little birds.

    I should also mention I found an expired bird in the chicken yard a couple of days ago. She had a silver dollar size hole in her hind quarter and had been disembowled pretty far up into her body cavity. Now, before anyone says it is from some predator, that is not a possibility. They way I have my chicken house and yard built, it is virtually impossible for any predators to get in. There were no digging marks outside the yard, which would be the only way they could get in. My husband cut some pretty large cedar poles and wrapped the fencing around them and then buried those into the ground to protect from digging. The floor had 1 1/2 inch spaces between the floor boards, but is high enough critters can't get in. Makes cleaning VERY easy. Scrape it down and hose it out, and I'm done! !

    In my opinion, your bird like mine was pecked by other birds, but not neccessarily the rooster. Chickens love to eat anything bright red, so if a bird has any blood showing, it WILL get pecked and they don't stop until there is no more RED! ! ! I have never had any luck in separating my birds that have problems and then reintroducing them without additional problems. I leave them together and it seems to work for me.

    I hope your bird is better soon! ! !

    ......and please remember, this is just my opinion and what works for me. It may not work for everyone! ! !
  4. Wes in Tx

    Wes in Tx Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    YES the rooster is responsible for the gashes on your hen. It is caused by his spurs. As chic said the others could be plucking the feathers but I doubt it since you do have a rooster and he has laid the one girl open.

    The neosporine will be fine.

    I had a turkey hen that got laid open like that and it took about 3 weeks to get her healed up good.

    On the rooster you need to trim the toenails and spurs.
  5. tenMOacres

    tenMOacres Hatching

    Mar 19, 2007
    Thanks, guys, for all your input. I really appreciate it! I did a search for "chicken saddles" and got quite an education. Spotted Crow, have you used these? Are there any hygiene issues I need to be aware of? (Wash 'em every week or so?)

    Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to trim the roo's nails. Yikes!

    So 11 hens to 1 rooster is okay?

    The injured hen is eating well, and stays pretty quiet. The roo comes in to visit and they talk through the chicken wire. It's kinda weird, actually.

    Thanks again!
  6. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    You're welcome! I'm actually the chicken diaper nut, but DitzzyChick does the saddles, if I remember correctly.
    That is a good ration of roo to hens...but she may be his favourite.
    When I need to trim nails, I wrap the bird in a towel or sweatshirt, take out a foot or a wing and trim...You only have to take a tiny bit off the nails, unless they're really overgrown.
    For spurs, I used pliers and twisted them off.
  7. fowlfriends

    fowlfriends In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2007
    Battle Ground, Wa
    I have a hen right now with this exact same problem, and went to the task yesterday of trying to trim Mr Roo's spurs and found it is not as easy as I have been reading - or I am a whimp? Twisting with pliers was difficult for me because his spurs are only an inch long at the most and I am having a hard time getting a good grip. And the oil method to soften the spurs? How long do they need to be coated in oil before they soften enough? I even tried a hot potatoe! Anyway, for now he got the sharp tips trimmed off, and my injured girl is living alone for a bit.

    Good luck with your girl. I am sure she will be feeling great in no time!

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