My hen is injured--raccoon clawed her??? Not sure, help!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by contentmentblues, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. contentmentblues

    contentmentblues New Egg

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    Hi! First time posting, but avid reader. I have been able to find the answers to all of my backyard flock questions here, and undoubtedly you all will be able to give me some advice for this one!

    I went out to feed my 5 hens this morning and Farah Fawcett (named as such because she is cute, blond, and I got her the day Farah died), an Americana mix, was hesitant to exit the coop. I didn't think much of it. It has been pretty cold here in Fort Collins, Colorado. I thought maybe the cold had slowed her down a bit. As the other hens scarfed, she remained alone in the coop. I coaxed her out and gave her the opportunity to enjoy the feast away from the other girls. I saw her eat a little bit, thought nothing else of it, and went back inside. Came out tonight to lock them up, noticed she was still quite lethargic, and examined her. Left eye very swollen, to the point that I thought it was missing. Thought one of the other girls was picking (pecking?) on her, as she and Talloulah (the most ADORABLE frizzle ever) are only 6 months old and have only been in the pen with the older three girls for a couple of months.
    Brought her inside immediately, cleaned it with hot water, noticed it is the lower eyelid swollen up over her eye, which still remains. After very gently (and very slightly) separating, I can see that she is able to blink (a second sheer eyelid?), and that her eye is a little red. After closer examination in the light and cleaning her up, I noticed that she appears to be scratched from the base of her eye to just under her beak. She has that typical Americana beard and it took some investigating to see this under her downy feathers. I did see earlier today in the snow some very faint raccoon tracks leading up to the coop, and that their "Contentment Blues Coop" sign was hanging from only one of the two ropes holding it up. It would appear that a raccoon approached, maybe tried to use the sign as a halfway point to climb up onto the top of the pen (which is completely enclosed, on all sides, and obsessively secured after losing 2 of my girls to a fox this spring). I was out of town for the holidays, and the guy who was supposed to be taking care of my girls locked the pen, but did not shut up the coop. Even when they are sleeping, if they hear me approaching, they will run to the fence (because they are my babies and they love me). The whole point is to protect them at night, and also so that the heat lamp does not act as a raccoon/fox all-you-can-eat chicken buffet neon sign. Maybe she was clawed? There is NO WAY one of the other chickens could have managed such a long scratch on her face!

    Like I said, I separated her from the other girls, made her a fresh bed in a very small dog kennel, gave her food and water (which she is not interested in), and put her downstairs in my bathtub so she can be safe, warm, and recover on her own. I did my best to clean the scratch and applied Neosporin. She seems very, very lethargic and is just not quite herself. I understand she needs to stay away from the others, not only so they do not peck at the medication but so that if she gets infected, they will remain safe. Has anyone endured something like this? I would really hate to lose her. I hand raised her from 2 days old and am really quite in love with her, as the others. It sounds crazy, but the only other people who understand are you guys!

    Please help! I also had to say goodbye to my brother's dog today, who is being put down due to colon cancer tomorrow. I can't lose another pet this holiday. It is just too sad!

    Thank you for reading and thank you for your help!

    Danielle
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2009
  2. jhm47

    jhm47 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's doubtful that a coon scratched her. If a coon had gotten into the coop, he most likely would have killed her and eaten her head. Is there anything that she could have scratched herself on, like a nail, sharp wire, or something else in the run/coop? Really hard to tell anything without seeing a picture.
     
  3. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    I agree with the above, and only want to add that she may have been injured by a claw as well. Some hens will fight like roos, bringing the feet into play. Do double check the rest of her for any injuries. Make sue the Neosporin does NOT have Lidocaine in it. Try enticing her with some special treats. And mostly, let her be in a quiet, non-stressfull environment.

    Good luck- and my deepest sympathies about your brother's dog- [​IMG]
     
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi and welcome out of the land of lurk. [​IMG]

    Sounds like you are on the right track. Raccoon or broken off piece of wire etc. cleaning it up and bringing her in so she doesn't have to use energy to keep warm is a good start. You should probably give her a really good going over to make sure there aren't any more injuries, those feathers can hide a lot of damage sometimes. Also, try some scrambled eggs. They usually really like those and it might entice her to eat a bit. If the eggs don't do the trick I've had really good luck with canned cat food. The cat food is high in protien which is good for them, but it's also high in salt which is not so good. I use it as a jump start when I have one that just won't eat.
     
  5. contentmentblues

    contentmentblues New Egg

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    Thanks for the reply! I should have been more clear...you are absolutely right, there is NO WAY a coon got IN. However, the pen is chain link fencing...and the sign is hanging, which makes me think there could have been a scuffle through the fence. My belief is that the rope snapped when he tried to jump on it, and that he scratched her through the fence. I was very careful with construction to make sure that nothing would poke them or hurt them in any way, and check regularly for that. I am assuming there is no way that an icicle fell and hit her in such a violent manner...but several people have died in Colorado in the past couple of years from heavy, snow-covered branched falling on their heads! What are your thoughts? Entertaining the in-laws (who think I am NUTS for bringing her inside to take care of her) but I will take a pic when I go down to give her more water later. I would really appreciate it if you would check back and look at the photo and give me your thoughts! [​IMG]

    Got an eye dropper and hand-fed her some water after my first post. She seemed to perk up a bit and even ate about 2 tbsp of feed! I was happy about that.

    Hope you had a great holiday and thanks so much for the help!

    Danielle
     
  6. contentmentblues

    contentmentblues New Egg

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    Oh! Didn't see the other 2 posts! [​IMG] Thank you very much!

    I appreciate the condolences about my beloved Grizmond, a Chocolate Lab. They traveled a lot and my husband and I have cared for him for over 3 years of his 9 year life. Next to my dog (Charlie Hatfield Brown, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever), he is the best dog in the world!

    I was definitely sure to check her for other injuries. It took awhile, but I approached it as you would a dog after a camping trip looking for ticks, line by line, piece by piece.

    Scrambled eggs is a great idea. I make them mashed potatoes in the mornings a lot to help give them some extra "go" when it is really cold. Their coop is very warm, but I know how the cold slows me down! Ferah is nice and warm in the bathtub. [​IMG] Though the rest of the girls were quite jealous and tried to jump into my arms when I brought only her inside! I don't care what anybody says--they are quite intelligent creatures!

    I will post a pic tonight, and then one tomorrow so you can check out her progress!

    Thanks again, you guys rock!

    Danielle
     
  7. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    As the Mama of a 4-1/2 year old black Lab, Bingo, my heart aches for all involved. Losing him someday will break my heart, but like you all, I will do what has to be done, if needed. He's currently in my avatar, looking like he'd like to eat the Christmas spirit!

    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are wonderful dogs, too!

    Good luck with Ferah, just don't let her get too spoiled! And when you can, reinforce the pen and coop even more. Raccoons are very persistent and clever.
     
  8. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Saw reference to chain link fencing. No way that is coon-proof regards grabbing chooks thru the openings. Not only that, but rats, weasels, and mice can get thru it so easily too. Needs 1/2" hardware cloth mesh all around to ht of 3 ft or so and above that too if there are ways for a coon to get higher up on the walls.[​IMG]
     
  9. chickensioux

    chickensioux Chillin' With My Peeps

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  10. mikeksfarmer

    mikeksfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    my friend I am sorry for loss of a good friend (dog) a testament of love is the pain in loss. After death there will be no suffering.
    Now as to chickens. I had a fox kill most of my flock this last July. One of my hens I found laying on her back. She couldnt turn over. I carried her in by her legs hanging upside down; fox gun in the other hand. I first put her in a box in the dining room floor. A week later she was in a box on the Dinning room table (so she could see out side), eating and drinking. After almost 2 months I could put her in the yard and she loved to eat grass and just peck around in the sun. Today 4 months later she is with the flock and though she cant roost with the others she has her spot at night under the nest boxes. She lays consistantly every other day. I am sure she broke her pelvis and damaged an ovary. Though even with a clean box she ruined my antique dinner table she and I bonded in a way. She knows her name "foxy" she makes her own sound when I call her name, and I enjoy greatly giving her treats. One of the benifits of a back yard flock is that you care and value each and every one. By caring for this one bird I have learned to truly value each bird. I encourage you to care for this bird until it can return to your flock.
    Oh and on another note Kill all raccoons no exceptions. You will not make a dent in the population and you are not endangering the speicies. you are potecting your livestock. Do not relocate them.
     

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