Injured leg and an unrelated wound


Microbrewing Chickenologist
12 Years
Nov 25, 2007
High Desert, CA
One of my Jersey Giant hens (6 mos old) was crouched in the corner of the run this morning. DH went to go check on her and she is limping badly on her left leg. Her left knee (?...where the lower leg meets the thigh) is a little swollen (but no cuts, etc) and we are assuming it may be an impact injury from jumping off the roost. We brought her in the house (put her in the dog kennel) and left for work.

Well, while sitting on the couch this evening and petting her I noticed a wound under her left wing. It is an older wound and characteristic of a mounting injury from the roo. The wound tore a large about of skin open (probably a good 2"x3") and the skin flap is dry and crusty. The open wound is scabbed over with dirt on it and appears to be several days old...maybe even a week. (She never showed sign and does not have any missing feathers). There are NO maggots, no swelling or redness and no odor, so I am thinking there is no infection. I used full-strength peroxide to bubble the dirt out and immediately rinsed it with dilute iodine (in water) and packed it with neosporin. There is still dirt on top of the scab (dried into it), but unless I pull her scab, there is no way to get it off. I got as much loose dirt as possible. I am fine with treating it (I've still going through this with another bird), but with it being an old wound, should I put her on an antibiotic? Normally, if I catch it early, I won't use antibiotics, but this is obviously a bit different. We have Aureomycin on hand.

Also, her leg injury appears to be completely unrelated to her wound. She will barely walk on her leg (though will stand on it just fine and limp if needed). We think that maybe she jumped from the roost, but didn't flap her wing as much ('cause the injury) and landed hard on her leg.

Please share your thoughts. Thanks!
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If there are no signs of infection (drainage, swelling, redness, etc.) I would NOT put her on antibiotics! Too often we treat with antibiotics unneccesarily and cause ourselves more problems creating resistant strains of bacteria and super bugs. It sounds like the wound is healing nicely on it's own, I would continue to watch it closely though. Antibiotics can effect the 'good' bacteria in an animals GI tract and cause more problems than they fix if the aren't truly needed.
I agree wholeheartedly with you regarding the overuse of antibiotics, but figured I should ask before making my own (naive) judgment on this issue.

Also, please note that we did find out it is her left leg and her joint is swollen...we still think it is unrelated to the wound and from impact.
Is there anything special I should do with her leg aside from letting her rest in the house? I can't think that there is much to do with a sprain (or whatever it is).
I agree, rest is probably the best thing if the leg is sprained. I'd watch closely for increased swelling, heat in the joint, signs of fluid/discharge that indicate that there is an infection or fracture in or near the joint. Is she using it at all?
She'll use it, but as limited as possible. She will stand on it (with most of her weight on her other leg) and she will limp sparingly if she has to move. For the most part she just lays in the kennel. But, she changes position throughout the day, so we know she is moving around on her own. She has a really calm disposition, so that helps I think. She has yet to be vocal in the house whatsoever....just the calm coos. I did not feel her joint this evening as I get home late on Tues nights, but this morning it was swollen, but not excessively warm. I noticed that her kennel door was open and she had a dinner plate outside of the kennel, so I think DH gave her scrambled eggs for dinner. I am assuming she would have had to walk out for it, so that is a good sign. I will ask him in the morning since he was in bed by the time I got home.

ETA: Thanks so much for helping me!
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