Injured Hen


10 Years
Nov 6, 2009
Springfield, Missouri
I have a Broad Breasted Bronze hen that is laying, and appears that one of the Toms has injured her back. She has a nice gash down one side. I have her isolated from all of the Toms, but I’m not sure what to do with her. I have considered putting her down, but not sure I want to at this point, as much because I’m not prepared to invest the time and effort as that I don’t want to loose her. The wife and I were just watching a Tom mount her yesterday and wondering if we should get her a saddle. She is a big girl, and the toms are all young first year boys and not sure they know exactly what they are doing. At least, I’ve seen them just standing on her, like wondering, “What do I do now?” kind of thing. I’m not sure where to buy saddles or how to make one. So guess I’m looking for ideas how to handle the injury as well as information about saddles. We have 7 hens and 2 toms, and if at all possible, I’d like to not repeat this with any of our other girls. Have been breeding turkeys for about 3 years and have never had this problem, but this is also the first year I’ve kept the BBB hen long enough to breed and first year with Narragansetts.
And for those interested, I do have a light on in the coop. Originally I’ve had it on for about 12-13 hours all winter, but for the last several months only one of my 8 chicken hens has been laying, so a month or so ago I reduced the light to about 10 hours each day. Then about 2 weeks ago I increased it to 12 hours and in the last 3 days several more hens have been laying, including the BBB turkey. Today I got 5 chicken eggs and 1 turkey egg. Tonight I adjusted the light and had it come on a half hour earlier and stay on for an extra half hour at night.
Funny thing is that the eggs I got from the BBB in the peacock cage today has different spots on it than most of the other 7-8 turkey eggs I’ve gotten so far. I have 5 Narr hens, 1 Bourbon Red, one mixed and the BBB hen, so maybe one of my other ladies is laying also.
Best to separate out hens from toms when the boys start `shooting the red' and the hens go all `supine' (prone). An ardent jenny (wooing her choice - circling the tom while trying to jam her head under the feathers on his torso, then immediately dropping to present herself) will sometimes have several jakes/toms attempt to cover her simultaneously or same fellows, incensed with the impertinence of the jenny's successful choice, will attempt to knock him from his perch (he tries to maintain position and claws rake the girl's flanks more than otherwise) and she'll be the center of the `sparring mat'.

Check the laceration? to make sure edges aren't becoming infected (can daub/spray on 10:1 -water to betadine solution to keep area fairly disinfected). Plain neosporin can be applied along margins of `cut' (applied lightly - not so much that contaminants will stick to it). If it is still warm enough for fly activity - spray exterior of wing over wound with something like Adams Tick and Flea Spray.

Saddle info:
shot of turkey wearing saddle (with enough detail in other shots that it should be easy to put one together):

you are modifying day length with artificial lighting, you might be interested in this info:


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Just an update on the hen. I found her dead in the pen this morning. Guess it proved to be too much. Was tempted to just harvest her when I first saw it. Probably should have because now I've lost the whole bird. Just a question. Any one have experience crossing a BBB hen with a hertitage bird?
I'm sorry... I hate losing them like that. When I lost birds to injuries (like when I had to put down a BBB hen with a broken leg - shed roof collapsed under snow last winter) I just put her in the barn. The barn cats feasted for about a week on her, so at least she didn't go to waste. I could have dressed her out for our own use but didn't have freezer space for her.

I had what I believe was a BBW/White Holland poult hatch last year and was really excited about it, but lost it when it got soaked in a rain storm. Hopefully I can hatch some more this year. And now I have 2 BBW hens to put with a WH tom.

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