Newbie owner with sick bird..not sure what to do.


9 Years
Feb 28, 2010

I did a quick search of the other posts and am still not sure what the cure and cause of this problem may be.

We have nine hens, five Rhode Island Reds and four Barred Rocks. They are 12 months old. Recently I noticed that one of the barred rocks had a cut on the top part of its foot. I thought maybe it had pecked itself. Eventually the wound healed. This morning I noticed that I believe to be the same hen has wounds on both of her feet and feathers missing on her neck. She is lifting her legs much higher than usual when she walks. We are new to raising chickens so we are unsure what to do. Are there any suggestions as to what can be applied to help heal her wounds and should she be isolated from the other birds? If so, do we eventually bring her back in to the flock?

B.T.W., we really enjoy BYC and have been visiting for over a year now. Thanks to BYC we got some great ideas for building our chicken coop.

Thanks in advance.....

Here is picture of the cuts
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In my opinion, and opinions vary here, it looks like she has leg mites, although I've never seen leg mites bleed unless she's picking at them. Coat they're legs with Vaseline for about 3 or 4 days. The old scales will fall off. The mites can be painful to the chickens, which may be why they're picking at them. I got my first rooster from someone and his leggs were awful, it was sad. 3 days of coating his feet all the way up to his feathers and his feet look brand new.

At first I was going to suggest mice or rats, but after seeing the picture, I say its not that because it's on top of the feet, where a chicken could peck.
Okay...I'll go with chicks4kids, although that wasn't my first guess. I would isolate her in a dog crate or something if you can. Once chickens get wounds, others will sometimes peck at them (the wounds).
Because you said there were feathers missing on her neck too, I really suspect that somebody is doing some serious bullying. But the missing neck feathers could just be coincidence if it's scaly leg mites. By isolating her, you can also observe whether she's picking at her own feet . If you have a bullying problem (and you'll really have to observe your flock to find this out), then you'll need to crate the bully for a few days, to lower her status in the flock (hopefully). Good luck. Hope your girl improves quickly.
Thanks for the quick reply. I inspected the other birds and she is the only bird with the cuts plus she is missing some feathers from the back of her neck. I was leaning more toward another bird pecking at her because of the missing feathers in the hard to reach area. I won't rule the mites out and will apply the vasoline like you suggested. Thank you very much for helping.
Thank you also for responding. If it isn't mites, should apply something different to the wounds than vasoline?

You'll notice in a few days whether or not it's mites, but looking at the picture again, I really think that's what it is. Her legs should be very pretty and have very identifiable, perfect smooth "scales" on her legs- I don't know the proper terminology for chicken legs. If after her legs start looking better, and her wounds don't seem to be healing, you can always use Blu-Kote on them. It's just a blue stain antiseptic. But I would just shoot for the vaseline right now. Her wounds will be fine.

You didn't say whether you had a roo or not. The missing feathers on her neck could very well be bullying, but if you have a roo, she very well could just be his favorite girl.

Good luck and remember to coat the legs everyday. It'll be nasty too, because as you rub vaseling on after the first day, sometimes you'll get scales that fall off and stick to your hand while you're doing it...gross.
Make sure you have towels handy
I'm fairly new to chicken-keeping myself, so can't help with most of your quandary. But I do recommend Blue Kote for covering feather-picked areas, like it sounds like you're seeing on her neck. I always have it on hand for things like that, as well as pine tar. If I still see anyone picking at spots covered with Blue Kote, I'll dab on the pine tar, which is nasty but usually stops the picking pretty quickly.
I really appreciate your responses. We do not have a rooster so if there is something going on the it is with one of the other hens. I have noticed one of the hens seems aggressive and has tried to peck at me several times. The others are very timid. I am going to remove her from the others and treat her wounds. Like one of the other posters said, if I find that the other hen is the culprit, then I will isolate her for a while.


PS. I just checked her and caught her pecking her chest area so it must be mites. Thanks again.
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