Please help, potential emergency!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by djiggins13, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. djiggins13

    djiggins13 New Egg

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    I have a Cornish Cross hen named Sue, that appears to have had all of the feathers around her vent plucked. I know it's the beginning of breeding season and we DO have our hens in the same large pen and chicken coop with our roosters. Yes, the plural. (We've got a big flock that requires multiple sires to keep up with our 3-year replacement cycle model) We have 4, two of which were not supposed to be. We were surprised as hell when we heard 2 of the 4 ameraucanas crowing one afternoon. Before you ask: no, we can't afford to separate out the two intentional sires, nor do we have the ability to quarantine the 2 accidental ones because Sue is in the only quarantine cage we've got. I noticed blood on the back of one of my hen's head and realized that she wasn't the only one. It appeared as though the other girls had been pecking at the raw skin around Sue's backend. Now, it appears that she's bleeding quite profusely from the vent itself. Is it possible that she started bleeding from her feathers being plucked, and the other chickens just started packing at the blood and then opened a wound in the vent? I don't know what to do at this point other than having her quarantined, but I can't tell if the bleeding is slowing or not. What should be the next steps that I follow? Should I take her to the vet tomorrow when they open, or is it too late and I should just dispatch her and make my LGDs a late night chicken dinner? Pics are included. Thanks in advance, everyone.

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    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC. Separate the bleeding chicken in a dog crate since she is.being vent pecked which may lead to cannibalism. Spray her vent area with BluKote. This is usually a result of overcrowding, feeding less than 16-20 protein in the feed, boredom and other problems. Getting them outside to free range daily in the morning can really help. Having plenty of room and a flock block or some chopped kale or greens to peck for can be good. How old is she? Meat birds are usually butchered around 6-7 weeks I think, so if she is close, it might be time. I do not have experience with them. Hopefully others will have suggestions as well.
     
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  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    This link should help in terms of thinking about how to go about enriching their environment as a means to facilitating their natural behaviour (thus reducing the potential of displacement behaviour) - https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1148824/topic-of-the-week-feather-pecking-eating

    I do keep meat birds sometimes, and i agree with Eggcessive that if you are raising her for meat, then culling now would likely be the most pragmatic option.

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  4. djiggins13

    djiggins13 New Egg

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    Thanks for responding!

    Eggsessive: I've been part of the BYC community for almost 2 years, just hadn't needed to post anything for advice. Up until now we've been problem free, other than the one hen who got leg mites, but that cleared up quickly once I followed the advice in one thread. Thanks for the welcome, anyhow. [​IMG]

    We give our girls a break from laying in the winter as they would have naturally. We mainly feed whole corn through the winter, but throw in the compostable kitchen scraps and whatever stale loaves of bread my father-in-law gives us. That along with grit, lots of clean water mixed with appropriate amounts of apple cider vinegar, and the quarterly admission of DE in the feeders to worm them is our winter "program". We used to freerange our girls when we lived in town on our 3/4 acre lot. However, the rural part of the county we moved to has a TERRIBLE coyote problem. I've seen them running around the area at all hours of the day. So can't free ranging them yet due to no fencing around the 7.5 acre plot. We're working on it, just not financially feasible to even do a quarter of the property. Yard may have been a better adjective than pen because the area we were able to put a fence around is roughly 2500sq ft. (+/-) for our about 30 birds (including 2 ducks). Mind you, this doesn't account for the coop and nesting enclosures. Also, I say "about 30" because of terrible short-term memory and poor physical record keeping. We also lost a few birds before moving out here and I don't remember the tally past the 3 ducks brutally massacred by a bobcat.

    However, back to the issue: Sue is almost 3 years old now, actually. She was originally part of a trio of Cornish-X meat birds we were raising. One was for an annual dinner party we host. The others were to be butchered about a week later, then frozen for use at our thanksgiving and Yule dinners. This was, however, a case of "best laid plans." One bird made it to her dispatch date. One was killed by a neighbourhood cat, and then Sue just kinda grew on me. I then planned to use her as a breeding project with my PBR, but he was very aggressive and was dispatched. So essentially she's just my pet. She's also the most dominant hen of the flock, due to her size.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
  5. djiggins13

    djiggins13 New Egg

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    Forgot to mention: our big dogs are a 7 month old brother/sister pair of Pyrador pups; Donkey and Scarlotta (Scarlett or Letty for short). Letty is still learning and neither are capable of taking on a pack of coyotes yet. However, we mainly got them to protect our goats. Also we first got them at about 5 months old, and on their second day here, Donkey got into the chicken area and killed one of my RIR. He's since been relieved of livestock duty, and relegated to being our property guard dog. He also needs the extra attention that that position affords him because he's got separation anxiety BAAAAAD. Especially ever since his sister discovered a real knack for being an LGD; and sleeps, eats, and lives with our goats pretty much full time.
     
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  6. BobDBirdDog

    BobDBirdDog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can use corn starch to help stop some bleeding but I dont know about any antiseptic properties of it .
     
  7. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cornstarch probably won't do much good here, it can help clot up smaller wounds (like a cut nail) to stop bleeding but that's all it does, it's not an antiseptic.

    Obviously it's been hours since the first post was made but yeah, if you can take her to a vet, then I'd do that and see what they say. Hate to see her culled if she has a chance of recovering, since she's a pet now.
     
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I would take her to the vet, if you don't intend to process her. I didn't know she had 'that" much damage. You can clean her up with saline solution and if the bleeding has stopped , and no body else can peck at her, you can put some Neosporin (NO CAIN product )on her. Do not put her back with the others, chickens seeing red areas go nutsy and will peck her to death and may even resort to cannibalism. Also don't let her outside if you are in a warm area. Flies will lay eggs in her wound and the resulting maggots cause more damage than her initial wound.
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I have heard that meat birds are pretty sweet chickens, so I understand why you have kept her around as a pet. Unfortunately, they can drop dead suddenly from heart failure, or suffer sudden broken legs. It sounds like you may not have enough protein in the diet, which can lead to pecking. I would use a layer or all flock feed that is at least 16 % protein, but 20% is ideal. That should make up 90% of their daily intake. Corn and bread do not contain much protein, corn only 8%. Table scraps probably also are less, but meat of course is better.
     
  10. djiggins13

    djiggins13 New Egg

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    Ah... I'm gonna level with you. On the point of meat, I'm happy to hear you bring it up. I left that info out on purpose. I've had too many new-age chicken keepers try to tell me that an "all organic, vegetarian diet is what your birds REALLY need, in order to thrive and be healthy. Meat just simply can't do that!" Which is completely incorrect, and that often illicits boisterous laughter on my part. Which leads to them getting SUPER offended. And I, frankly, get annoyed with the tedium that follows. One must simply look to the environment they once thrived in, to know what is a natural diet for the animal. I use the same approach to my plants, and I've yet to encounter anything crazy weird or unmanageable. (Other than this, of course.) Which, if I'm not mistaken is an omnivorous diet of their jungle-dwelling predecessors, yes? Anyways, my husband is the meat market manager for the local grocer. As often as he can (about 3-4 times a week depending on availability) he brings home all the trimmings from when they cut roasts, steaks and such; as well as any unprocessed, "de-vacced" product. It's perfectly safe and fine, they just can't legally sell or donate it. We grind it here at home and split the resulting mush evenly between our 8 dogs and the birds. However, the ducks cut a wide berth away from it; mainly because of the chaos that ensues both inside and outside the fence. But I also don't think that it's enticing to them at all, which is fine by me.

    ***Side note: this is ONLY part of the winter feed program. In the spring we switch back to layer feed and only supplement with meat minimally, if at all. We judge it based on the weather, mostly. The colder the days, the less layer feed and more "mush" they get. Just to give them that extra boost of energy to preserve body heat and stay active. So I'm not entirely sure that protein intake is the problem, but I tend to be wrong about 50% of the time when I assume things.

    However, on a positive note: she HAS stopped bleeding and has a nice little collection of poo in the bottom of her cage which I set on top of some oddly lush, green, and out of season clover so she must've been pecking at that all morning. She's looking spry and alert as she always is, and is even pecking at the goats to leave her alone. Lol!!! I'll have to clean her bum a bit before I can see the real extent of the damage that may have been done. Fingers crossed that it was just excessive plucking. Though I DO have major concerns about reintroducing her back into GenPop. because I'm afraid the other girls will remember the "meaty treat" that was once Sue's rear.

    Another thing: I have no qualms whatsoever with dispatching her. Sue was an anomaly, truth be told. I rarely keep animals if they don't serve a ourpose or end-goal that I have in mind. I also have the rare ability to separate myself out of the situation, compartmentalize, and unabashedly rationalize the need to swing the hatchet/pull the trigger against an animal that I love based on productivity and/or absolute necessity. I had to dispatch my brahma/buff orphington X rooster, named Punky (I like puns, lol!) that I hand-reared from incubator to the grave because he attacked me without warning, nor provocation/reasoning. And he had about 4" spurs that were as sharp as the dickens. So I wasn't going to be having any of that either.

    Sorry for writing a novella, again. I don't have a typical "job" so to speak. We raise and make/build as much of our own stuff as a self-sustainability plan to free us from the ever invasive and throw-away-society influence of corporate America. Therefore, winters here, in our little Kansas operation, are very slow. I'm easily prone to bouts of sheer, unrelenting boredom as well. Which is why I've recently taken up woodcarving/whittling since we moved out here to the sticks almost 6 months ago. Here I go, doing it again. Okay... Sorry. I'm now officially done!
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
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