Oh boy – Rooster with an open wound... (Now with pics *Gruesome*)


One of the Shire-folk
12 Years
Apr 14, 2009
Last night my family got home from church, and I was so exhausted and worn out I asked my Dad to put the chickens in for the night. He did, and he thought he counted nineteen. (Which is how many chickens we're supposed to have.) I got home this evening and went to shut them in for the night and to my great dismay, we were missing our first-laying hen. I then realized another chicken had a bloody rear end, and at first thought it might be prolapse (is that even what it's called?
???), but quickly realized it couldn't be, because it was the rooster. When I looked to check him, I saw a big, painful-looking wound on his tail. He only had one tail feather left (and he was growing such a pretty one
), and most of the feathers around his tail were gone. It looked like someone had taken a snap at his tail, caught him, and lost him. It's no longer bleeding, but it's open and horrible, and as much as we love him, we can't take him to the vet. I've isolated him in a large dog kennel with wood shavings, a feeder and a waterer. I didn't give him a perch, because I didn't want him to hurt himself or something. Am I doing this right? Is there anything else I can do? Is he going to die? As far as I know, we've already lost Gertie.
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I wasn't sure whether I would make it worse or not by trying to clean it, and wasn't sure how. It looks awful. I will try to get photos tomorrow. You don't think he'd be gone by morning, do you?
If it were me, i would go get him and clean that wound now.

You might email Threehorses for really specific knowledgeable instructions....but i'll tell you what i do.

You can make your own sterile saline solution by boiling clean water with a pinch of salt (about a quart of water to about a 1/8 teaspoon of salt), let it cool and put it in something that you can use to squirt it at the wound and be able to control your direction. I use an old, cleaned, dish soap bottle. A needle-less syringe is preferred.

The lesson i learned is that you want to get up close and personal with that wound so that you know what is really going on. And it's important to do that quickly so you can guard against infection. You need to clean it well. Clean q-tips can help you wipe away the grime that might have collected on the wound. Use clean scissors to trim away any feathers that might be getting on the wound. After you have it clean (and have taken pictures to post on BYC for help), use a neosporin type ointment that does NOT have pain killer in it. And lather it down.

Once you have that done, and you have pictures on BYC, you can get more direction.

**some people also use a very weak iodine solution or a diluted peroxide solution. but use peroxide VERY sparingly and not more than once. sterile saline is definitely better.
Keep reading the suggestions you get from others, but for now keep him away from the others so they don't peck at his red areas, gently clean it and put some neosporin on and keep his food and water close by in case he doesn't feel like doing a lot of walking. I'm sure by in the morning you will have some more thorough advice from the true chicken gurus on this site. Keep us posted on him.
I just found a copy of some advice about treating an attack wound by threehorses for you. I'm not sure if I'm pasting just her part. If not scroll down some and you will see it. BYC Home | Learning Center | Breeds | Coop Designs |BYC Store| Member Pages | Forum FAQ's

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Index » Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures » treating infection from animal attack?
#1 Yesterday 3:19 pm
Chillin' With My Peeps

From: Benton Twp., Michigan
Registered: 04/20/2007
Posts: 376
PM treating infection from animal attack?Fudge, my 9 w/o BLRW, was attacked three days ago. I didn't find him until the next day because I think he was hiding. Anyway, he is still holding his head curled around slightly to the left. His left earlobe and wattle were torn, and the wattle is now pale and swollen. I'm thinking infection.

The only antibi I've ever administrated was Terramycin (day-olds). What is a good broad spectrum antibi, and is that what I want to do?

Last edited by frankenchick (Yesterday 3:20 pm)

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#2 Today 7:26 am
Chillin' With My Peeps

From: Powhatan, Virginia
Registered: 03/20/2009
Posts: 402
E-mail PM Re: treating infection from animal attack?I'm not sure of the answer to your question - I'm looking for similar information - but I'm going to give you a friendly bump, in hopes that you get your answer. You might also want to do a search in here for "antibiotics".

Good luck! Hope your roo gets better soon!

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#3 Today 7:42 am
Overrun With Chickens

From: Middle Georgia/ South Florida
Registered: 02/12/2009
Posts: 881
E-mail PM Re: treating infection from animal attack?Corona is about the best antibiotic I have ever found. It`s in the equine section at most feed stores. Just daub it on and watch it work. In a weeks time your boy should be fine.......Pop

In God We Trust

Shamo, Reza Asil, Brazilians, Spanish Games, Chinese and Emden Geese, Guineas, and one old Pit Bull named Sugar. Fifty two years with chickens and still learning.
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#4 Today 4:43 pm
Nothing In Moderation

From: Southwest Missouri
Registered: 05/14/2009
Posts: 831
E-mail PM
View My BYC Page Re: treating infection from animal attack?Threehorses has excellent advise. Here is a copy from this thread:


Here's my usual way of doing wounds. It's worked for some pretty extreme wounds, including one 2x1 wound that went all the way down to the silver covering of the spine of one bird.

First, gather materials:
VetWrap or similar self-adhesive wrap.
gauze wrapping type bandages or squares (depending on what you have to bandage)
non-stick pads (depending on what you have to wrap)
antibiotic ointment (neosporin, Swat for horses if you have flies around)
hydrogen peroxide (h202)
warm water
a needleless syringe - preferably a big one like 30 cc's
suture material if you need it (this ideally should be left to a vet)
a small pair of scissors like cuticle scissors are helpful
large scissors
(duct tape in some cases)
a good safe blood clotter. I prefer Clotisol as it's not poisonous and clots IMMEDIATELY even in high blood situations. You can even use it inside of beaks. It's water based, lasts ages for a small bottle. Seriously - ages. You can pretty much only get it online, but it's a must-have for a cabinet. Once you use it, you won't go back.
clean clothes that can be stained

First, an important note. It would be ideal if, as poultry owners faced with an injured bird, that the bird be taken to a qualified veterinarian who can not only dress the wounds, access the damage, but also prescribe the correct antibiotics and follow up as necessary. This, first and foremost, is what I recommend for any wound situation that is more than minor. Please take that to heart.

If instead you decide to treat the wound yourself, here are some basic instructions on how to do so. Note that every wound, every case, is different. Use your common sense and imagination on determining when this protocol must be flexed to fit your situation.

First, examine the bird and find all wounds. Use your big and little scissors to trim feathers away from the area. Try to only take as many as could touch the wound, no more - they need feather protection and the feathers won't grow back til next moult. Also be careful, if wing feathers are near, not to cut the living flesh part inside feather quills.

If the wounds are under the wing, sometimes you can simply wrap the wing in a t-shirt to keep whatever touches the wing clean. Baby tshirts would be great for this. Neck part at the top of the wing, fitted with a little duct tape on the cloth (not tight please) and just tie the other end of the tshirt.

Make sure to look very carefully against the skin for puncture wounds. There might not be look, and puncture wounds are tricky and hard to find. Note the location and severity of all wounds.

Take your syringe and fill with H202 (straight) or h202 slightly diluted with water. Use the syringe to vigously clean the wound area including in the wounds. If the wounds are puncture wounds, use diluted water/h202, not straight. You only use h202 the first time as it tends to burn tissues and keep them from healing if you continue. But it's great for bubbling out bits of dirt from inside the wound. Do this cleansing about three times per wound.

Follow up by rinsing out the h2o2 with a water/iodine mixture made to be just the color of slightly strong iced tea. You want it warm. Fill your same syringe that you used with the h2o2 and flush the wounds rather vigorously.

At this time, if there are any pieces of flesh that need to be removed, remove them. This is where I use a q-tip dipped in a bottle-cap full of clotisol (so you don't contaminate the original bottle).

Doing this on a table that's ok to stain is best. I've done this on my truck's tail gate as I can clean it afterwards. Place a lot of papertowels under the birds for these two cleansing phases to keep the drainoff from going everywhere.

Use another clean papertowel to dry the wound. You want to leave some iodine solution inside the wound - it doesn't have to be skin-dry. Just dry enough for some ointment to stick.

Once the wound is well cleaned, then you'll want to dress it. I use Neosporin and q-tips most often for this job. If there are flies in the area at all, I will use Neosporin inside the wounds (ointment) and use Swat wound ointment for horses instead. (It has fly repellent that's safe for poultry in it.) I fill punctures with neosporin. If they're deep, I stick the top of the tube into the wound (and throw away the tube after I'm done with everything). Pack it. You usually want air in a wound, but puncture wounds can sometimes heal on top first and leave a pocket inside. The antibiotic ointment (not creme) is a little insurance against too much bacteria and thus abcesses.

If the wound is one that absolutely must be stitched, then pack it with the antibiotic ointment. If you're using a flyproof ointment, wipe the wound and then use the fly-proof on top. Otherwise just wipe slightly so there's a little antibiotic ointment on the important top part of the wound. You don't want to stray too far from just the wound, keep the bird dry.

On closing wounds with sutures. Puncture wounds shouldn't be sutured. Bad bacteria love a place where there's no oxygen. Suturing closes the wound and encourages festering within. As much air as you can get to a wound, the better, except that the interior of punctures should have some antibacterial action going on.

I've had some serious wounds in my flock before. The only time I've sutured was when a very large flap of skin was torn from the front of a neck (read as 3 inches by 10 inch flap). Another recent case involves a possible rather large hole in a crop which, should it leak food, should be sutured. Otherwise try to leave things open. Poultry can regrow an amazing amount of skin back if there's muscle underneath. New skin will granulate and grow in to fill in gaps that would surprise you.

On the areas that are just uncovered, I usually use antibiotic creme (versus ointment) because it's water based. Sometimes I'll just put a thin smear of antibiotic ointment, however, if that's what I have. Or fly-preventative ointment if there are flies in the area.

If at all possible, try not to cover with bandages. The average bandage keeps air out and moisture in and not in a good way. If you must bandage (a dirt floor area, extreme fly issues, etc) then try to keep the bandage to a minimum and very airy. That's why I'm not a big fan of nonstick bandages. They tend to trap moisture and cause a very warm airless area. But sometimes you have to use them. If so, cover the wound with the bandage. Wrap twice with very gauzey gauze wrap. Then put one layer only of VetWrap over. If you must secure (to keep the bandage from falling, for example) you can use very thin strips of duct tape like you would tape a birthday present. Using as little as possible, but a very strong tape like duct tape, helps let the air in.

Sometimes I've even used just one layer of a very clean paper towel rather than use a non-stick. Afterwards, if you have to remove it, you can soak with warm water and pick the bits out if it sticks. Gauze tends to embed in wound seepage.

Think out of the box when it comes to covering areas that are wounded. With my geese who had multiple puncture and surface wounds on their chest, and a high fly area, I used one white sheet that I formed into a sort of front-bib and tied behind their back. T-shirts are also awesome to cover a bird's body. Buy the appropriate size, slip the neck over their neck, their legs through the arm holes, cut two holes through which you slip their wings. Gather the bottom end (cut so that you don't cover their vent) at the top of their back and duct-tape the cloth to make it stay fitted. T-shirts are very airy, cheap, washable, and absorbent.

If your bird requires stitches, suture material with thread attached can be found at many feedstores or purchased online ahead of time. The size you want is for dogs and cats. Sutures aren't stitched like a pillow case, but each stitch is its own knot. The semi-circular needles of suture needles are ideal for going into and out of the skin. Note: stitching is not easy - skin is tough, usually the needle is slippery, and it's rather tough to do. Overestimate the amount of suture material you need as you'll make knots and cut off the excess bit sticking up.

Many wounds, if properly cleaned and dressed and left airy, do not need much maintenance. Oddly, one of the best ways of telling whether or not a wound is doing well is by using your nose. Smell the wound at the time of cleaning. Wounds have a particular almost sweet but not cloyingly sweet smell. Remember the smell. Then smell the wound daily to see if you smell rot. If you do, there's not enough air to the wound and possible infection going on.

Wounds will seep a little - that's natural and the body's way of dealing with wounds. Usually the seepage will be mostly clear and smell of wound. However, if there's any opaqueness to it, or clotted texture, that's infection. Also there will be some natural inflammation as the body tries to bully off the bad bacteria and bring in healing materials to the wound. However excessive inflammation, discoloration (especially black or green), should be noted.

If a wound needs cleaning or examining, take off what bandages you can gently. If they stick to the seepage from the wound, use warm water to soak the bandage parts remaining away from the drainage.

Then examine the wound, determine what needs to be done, and redress from the iodine stage onward.

Many wounds do not require additional antibiotics other than topical (on the skin) antibiotic dressings. However in the case of animal bites that weren't caught immediately, cat bites, and wounds that have been sitting or are particularly deep, it may be a good idea to treat with antibiotics. If you make this decision, please be sure to get one that is appropriate for wounds. The packages at the feedstore are not.

Penicillin G Procaine (Aqueous Pen-G) is commonly found at many feedstores in their fridge section. It's awesome to keep in your own fridge for a rainy day. It's a very thick antibiotic and requires a thicker gauge needle. I would use no thinner than a 22 gauge, preferably something more thick at a length of .75 to 1 inch. At many feedstores, you can buy 3 cc syringes that are together already with needles. These are nice to have on hand as well as that 30 cc syringe that you'll use to flush wounds.

Instructions on how to give an injection are available separately as well as how to treat with antibiotics. If you do choose to use injectable antibiotics, be prepared to go the entire recommended course. Penicillin G Procaine is a concentrated penicillin (they're not all created equally) and only is required to be given every other day. Based on the type of antibiotic you expect to use, buy that many syringes plus two.

Birds in healing mode need help being stabilized, nourished, and hydrated. We all know how delicate birds can be, but it's surprising how resilient they can be at times. However, wounds will often depress a bird or cause them to go into shock. A stressed or shocked bird may not be able to digest foods they're commonly given. For that reason, I recommend only giving easily dissolved feeds when a bird is in the first stages of recovery. Think crumbles, pellets, etc. You don't want to make a drastic change in their diet ever, much less when they're already stressed. If a bird is reluctant to eat, try wetting the pellets/crumbles. You can also add a boiled egg yolk (one per six cups of food) mashed into the crumbles. I like to also give probiotics (yogurt, Fastrack, Probiocs, acidophilus, or whatever I have available) during this time to combat a secondary intestinal disorder from stress and change of way of eating. Yogurt is simple. You can mix 1 tablespoon per two cups of feed.

The added protein in an egg yolk helps the bird to heal. Adding a capsule of vitamin E to that mash (one per 2 cups of mash) also helps healing. If the birds are stressy, or not able to eat normally, I'll use a vitamin/electrolyte mix in their water for the first few days. I never ever use an oral antibiotic for wound treatment. Period.

It's unfortunately common that poultry are victims of predation and wounds. They are delicate and, with their ultra-fast metabolisms, can die readily if they decide to. Remember that an injured bird can often have internal injuries we never see. If you lose them, just remember you tried your best. However you might be surprised, with proper wound-care, how many of these birds recover to absolutely normal lives. Just be patient as healing takes a while. Usually separate the birds, but if they can be near their peers they take heart from it and will do better.

The obsession began in May 2009 with 44 hatchery chicks: RIR, EE, BO, PC, red SL, black SL and 1 coop; and I found BYC! June: add 8 Silkies + coop, add 3 adult Cuckoo Marans + coop. Sept: add 5 buff Silkies + coop, add 12 Marans (BCM, Splash, & Birchen) chicks, hatched 1 Silkie, 1 Serama, and 8 CM; sold -7 RIR, -3 = Total: OMG, I have 72 chickens & 4 coops.
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Don't feel too bad....if he's breathing and moving....he will likely be OK.

I've had 2 bad BAD wounds on chickens and they both pulled through with no problems. They are AMAZINGLY good at recovering from bad wounds.

The first was a rooster that was pecked on the head and it split him straight across the back of the head exposing his skull about the size of a dime. Because it was on the crest of his skull, it stayed pulled apart and exposed.

The second was a hen that had a wound under her right wing. We could actually see inside her. We could see ribs, meat, everything!!! It was big enough that I could have put a few fingers in deeply to the open cavity. It looked like the skin was just GONE and there was nothing to put back together (possibly snake or spider bite??? - Copperhead / brown recluse???)

In both cases, we put some neosporin on the wound, and separated them into a clean dry area. I would be careful of the wood chips if they can get in the wound though.

In the case of the roo....it took about a week or two to completely scab over and start the healing process. He looks completely normal now although we still call him Kojack since he was bald on top for a while. In the case of the hen....she healed back so fast, that we can't believe the wound was that big to start with.

We wanted to check on her after a while, and she was back with the girls again. We checked every girl and couldn't find one that had a problem. WEIRD....almost like it never happened.

If he's not too bad, he'll likely just scab over and heal right up. If it's on top....even better. That will keep it up out of poo and bacteria. If it's on the bottom....keep an eye on it.

NOW.....anyone want to talk about my cow who we found limping badly tonight??? She's my prize girl and just being halter trained (Dexter Heifer) If she's still acting stand-offish tomorrow, she goes to the vet.
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He's still alive! I went out first thing this morning to check on him. He was standing in the kennel, and it looked like he'd eaten some. His wound looks like it's closing. It looks somewhat like our cat's cheek looked like when he got into a fight one time. It looked gross and painful, but it didn't get infected and the fur has now grown back over it. Let's see if I can get some pictures on here. I took a couple this morning. Not the best ones, but maybe they can show you what the wound looks like.

I also heard him crow twice today (he probably crowed earlier, too, but I didn't hear him). That's good, isn't it?

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