Possible Head injury help needed!


10 Years
Mar 17, 2009
I foster animals for our Humane Society. Today received a chicken that fell off a truck on the freeway. We believe she's a layer past her prime and headed for the soup factory, when her trip was interrupted.

We only know this:

She weighs about 7 pounds ( I'm guessing - she's huge).

She had a normal poop this afternoon - no visable blood.

She eagerly drank a small amount of water, when I got her, (several hours after her rescue)

Afterwards she seemed slightly less of a goner.

She has a fair amount of road rash, which sheered feathers off, making a few bleed, but none badly, and she has no open wounds except on her head. I tried to gently look under her feath4ers and see no open wounds or bruising - just you know - the dark meat look in the appropriate places. She has blood on her shoulder but I think it is from tucking her bleeding head in for sleeping.

She may have a head injury. She has not opened her eyes. One of them is covered with blood, so she can't. I don't know why she has not opened the other. She has mostly slept since we got her. When she is awake, her head has a tremor - like one would have with Parkinson's. Like it wants to roll off and she keeps jerking it back on.

She did respond to water when her beak was dipped in it, and when I picked her up, I slipped my hands under her feet to reduce panic, and she kind of gripped my hand, but weakly. Otherwise she seems almost semi- comatose. No vocalization, no response to anything except being off balance (in the car or when being carried). She has not responded to food offerings ( mash held in my hand; dipped her beak in it).

My chicken experience is minimal - I had a turkey (pet) as a child, and I had a pet chicken about 30 years ago, but neither ever got sick or injured. I do have a parrot, who has had a head injury, and I know they have a lot of blood in their sinus cavities. This chicken has blood around her eye and comb. The comb looks swollen, but it may be her breed. I never saw such big feet, even on my turkey tom. I don't see swelling otherwise, but assume there may be some.

A former rehabber at the Humane Society recommended a small amount of prednisone to help with swelling. I have an asthmatic cat of about the same weight who is on prednisone, so we decided to try half the dose he takes, to be safe, but still get some in her. Any vets on board who can make a recommendation?

Question - should I clean the blood off of her face, so she can open this eye, or leave it to heal for a few days?

What we are doing now:

Put her in a rubber made tub 1/3 larger than she is - will move her to a same size cat carrier over night. Can make her a larger corral once she improves. We're keeping her warm.

Gave her water. Bought pedialyte for her next drink.

Bought Rescue Remedy to give her ( I know this will do her good - awesome for rescue stress) I'll rub it on her comb.

Bought her crushed corn and some bird seed that has something calming for stress in it.

Keeping her in a quiet place and checking on her frequently.

Poor thing has NO callouses on her feet. They are like brand new baby feet. She's never set foot on a natural surface. No telling what kind of rotten life she has had.

Advice? Thanks in advance.

BTW, we named her Ms Bibby. She is the second chicken truck rescue the HS has taken in this month :-(.


10 Years
Mar 5, 2009
Humboldt County
Oh, how very sad! For the road rash - after cleaning, Prep H is used by veterinarians for cats and dogs. Amazing healing properties plus pain reducer. Rescue remedy - never heard of it used externally, but there's a lot of faith placed in the stuff internally - 1 drop ought to do it for a chicken. Also HEAT is a very good thing - under 1/2 her space. I know these meat birds were not bred to live too long - they get so overweight that their legs can't support them at some point. But you did exactly what I would have - give her a chance. Good on ya! Good luck. PS. As for possible head injury, the prednisone is probably a good thing. You can give the 7 lb amount for a few (4ish) days. then give 1/2 that for 4 or so days. Ideally then 1/2 that amount (I know-it gets tiny). The main thing is to taper off the dose so there's no relapse.
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10 Years
Mar 17, 2009
Thanks, Thebritt,

Prep H! Okay - worth a try. Thanks for the pred. advice, too.

The reasoning behind rubbing Rescue Remedy on the outside of animals is it stresses them less, and is absorbed through the skin. Our last rescue was an infant squirrel, who was extremely anxious - just her personality. When she startled she'd go into seizures. I used rescue remedy and it was amazing. She'd calm right down, and it also gave her a way to learn not to panic. She stopped having seizures. I figure the comb is the easiest place to administer it to Ms Bibby.

Her box is just too small for a heating pad - she can't move off of it. I can make improvements tomorrow but not until late in the day - have to take my son to get his Eagle signed off on and take my FIL for minor surgery. No backing out of those...But I'll keep her in my closet with the light on - it's like an incubator in there.

Miss Bibby does deserve a chance. Poor thing's feet - they feel like a fat toddler's feet. The rest of her is roly poly, too. So far she's holding herself up, but those feet spread out and look like her ankles are giving out.

If she makes it, she will go to our outdoor YMCA where my daughter takes care of a small petting farm. Well, it's called that, but all the animals are rescues that can't be pet, so it's really a 'looking' farm. We'll make sure whatever is left of her days are happy ones, and her new job will be to educate people on proper care and respect of animals. If she doesn't make it, she will be the first tenant of the new pet cemetery the Humane Society is building. Their president is who found her and he asked us to take photos so he can tell her story to the press, so either way, she will play a more rewarding role in the future than she has had a chance to play before.



10 Years
Feb 15, 2009
Northern California
It sounds like a Cornish X, in which case I'd put her down because they're hard to keep alive anyways (they grow so fast they have a heart attack). If you decide to try to save her...

If she survives the night, she's likely good. Motrin 200mg will help the swelling, and I've dealt with that before so I know it's safe (give her one pill morning and night, two pills total). Hypericum is natural and will help with pain and may help stimulate an appetite. Definitely use the Rescue Remedy. After she's rested, dab the blood off her face with a warm sponge.

If she does survive, and she is indeed a Cornish X, she will need to be on a strict diet for the rest of her life.

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