Maggots were eating my hen alive: UPDATE she won't eat

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Casey3043, May 21, 2010.

  1. Casey3043

    Casey3043 Songster

    I know that title sounds like the front cover of a horror comic book, but it's true. One of my RIR hens (3 years old) has had a chronically poopy butt, and several days ago I decided to give her a bath. Got a lot of dried poop off, and she looked much better, except for some redness below her vent. I used Suave Naturals Apple shampoo, and it was interesting that the other hens seemed to shun her after that. Twice I saw them gang up on her and get her down, and I had to break it up. She had been somewhere in the middle of the pecking order, and I thought it was the scent of the shampoo that bothered them. I figured it would wear off after a few days.

    Over the next several days, she went from normal to very quiet and not interested in treats, etc. She would sleep on the floor in the corner of the coop instead of roosting, but in the morning she was first out the door and looking sassy as ever. I couldn't see any wound on her butt, so I assumed she was all right. My excuse for this apparent neglect is that I had a lot going on with issues with my 93-year old mom, whom I care for full time.

    Well, yesterday afternoon I noticed that her butt was quite dirty again, but it didn't look like poop. I picked her up (normally impossible, but she didn't even run from me) and brought her in for another bath. As I carried her to the house, I noticed she smelled really horrible. I got her in the laundry room sink and sprayed off her butt with warm water. She was absolutely crawling with maggots. There was a huge hole (about one and a half inches across, the size of a golf ball) just below her vent. I rinsed and rinsed, used a little Dawn dish detergent, and rinsed some more, till I couldn't see any more maggots.

    I put her in the big dog crate in the workshop building, safe from flies and everything else. When I checked her at 8:30 pm, I could still see a lot of little tiny maggots which must have been deep inside the wound when I washed her. The only thing I had to use was poultry dust for lice, mites, fleas, etc. I sprinkled this rather heavily on her butt, and the maggots started falling off.

    I didn't know whether she'd be dead or alive this morning. She was actually standing when I went out at 6:30. No maggots left, but I wanted to wash the insecticide dust off, because I know I put on too much. I brought her in for another bath. The wound looks much better, so I canceled plans to get a sitter for mom and run out this morning for screwworm spray at the feed store.

    After reading on here about the remarkable healing abilities of chickens, I am hopeful that this wound will heal up. I have slathered it with neosporin ointment. No sign of infection, no drainage, no pus. My only concern is that she is not eating much. I scrambled an egg for her and tore up some lettuce greens. She has taken a few bites, but is not really diving into it. I hope I didn't poison her system with the poultry dust but didn't see that I had any choice but to put it on her.

    Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to alert everyone to keep an eye on those poopy butts. More might be going on under there than you think! If anyone has any suggestions of what I might try for wound care or food items that she might eat, let me know.

    I'm a nurse, so I'm experienced in wound care, just not on chickens! And frankly, after this, I would rather deal with a wound than disease. At least you know what you're dealing with.

    Last edited: May 21, 2010
  2. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    It sounds like you are doing everything great.. The good thing is that maggots only eat the dead tissue so the tissue growing in should be great.. It sounds like you are doing great and if youi do see more maggots on her then It may be time for some screwworm spray...
  3. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Songster

    Thanks for your post! I have a hen with a dirty butt right now. I've been researching, but all "pasty butt" info. is in regards to young chicks.
    I posted a question about the hen's dirty butt in Emergencies & DISEASES , still waiting for a reply.[​IMG] Your post is my answer!
  4. PhilErvin

    PhilErvin Songster

    Sep 11, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    I was eating a piece of carrot cake as I read this post........I think I'm gonna be sick. [​IMG]
    Seriously though, thanks for posting this. I have an Arecanna (spel.?) hen who always seems to have a poopy butt. [​IMG] We clean it occassionally but maybe I need to keep it cleaner.
    Thanks again for clueing us all in. [​IMG]
  5. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    Also folks you can trim the feathers around ther bottoms if they are extra nasty .. My girls frerange and tend to get diahrea ALOT form the less then desirable food they eat.. I have had to trim a few.. works better with two people I will warn you ...
  6. Casey3043

    Casey3043 Songster

    She's been sitting with a plate of all her favorite foods in front of her, and she won't eat at all. I'm afraid I'm going to lose her. Either I poisoned her with the insecticide or she is too debilitated by the maggots to fight this. I really don't think she's going to make it.


    Sorry Phil, I guess it was a bit disgusting for a non-medical reader! When I worked at the hospital, there was a small restaurant nearby that "regular" (non-medical) people knew not to go in because of all the graphic conversations going on in there about surgeries, etc.
  7. Juniperwak

    Juniperwak Hatching

    Jun 30, 2011
    I'm dealing with the exact same thing right now, and unfortunately I don't have very good facilities to deal with it. On top of it, I only noticed my Hen's poopy butt because she also prolapsed this morning, I went to fix that and found the maggot hole below just like yours. Cleaned most off, and will be treating her again with peroxide tomorrow to kill the suckers.

    Fortunately, other than grossing me out, the wound appears to be healing already and she still has a great appetite, I'm headed to the feed store for some dewormer for all of them anyway just to be sure.
  8. ChickInDelight

    ChickInDelight Never an Empty Nest

    Apr 27, 2011
    Browntown, VA
    Thank you good folks for posting. Now, I know to look for these problems. My $3 chickens will never see a Vet, so I need to learn to recognize and treat these situations.
  9. PAchickenlover

    PAchickenlover Songster

    Jun 29, 2011
    WOW maybe I should go and clean Red's butt right now. Since she hasn't been able to walk right she has ben getting poo on her but and fethers. Thanks for the notice on what can happen. Will take care of it ASAP!!!
  10. pawsplus

    pawsplus Songster

    Dec 18, 2008
    Middle TN
    Might you consider taking her to a vet? An avian vet experienced with birds is necessary--most "regular" vets know very little about birds, let alone chickens.

    You can find one here:

    of luck!

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