1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Post Ordeal, my biggest & best hen is dead!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ybmagpye, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. ybmagpye

    ybmagpye In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2009
    Fair Oaks, California
    WARNING: graphic and sickening story to follow. [​IMG]

    Yesterday a house guest and I were looking in my back yard and I noticed there were only 2 of my 3 Faverolles hens marching around. Seemed suspicious, but distracted I only had about 5 brain cells focused on my birds.

    An hour passed and my mind kept returning to my missing bird. Where was she? Around the corner in her dust bath? She always hung with one of her sisters; they were never separated. Then finally my brain snapped to. I quickly excused myself from my guest who was half way through a story, and ran outside to discover a HORROR STORY.

    My hen was in the egg laying compartment of their coop and near her tail was a huge pile of what I thought was poop - then realized to my horror, the ‘poop’ was a pile of tiny, shiny black wriggling maggots! I was HORRIFIED.

    Panicked, feeling helpless I raced back in the house and got on line here in the forum, ran a quick search for maggots and read what happened to my bird, in brief. She had an open wound near her vent, flies laid eggs on her, and my guess is, as she was perfectly fine the previous night, the larvae hatched all at once and overwhelmed my poor girl while her STUPID owner was totally distracted with out of town company. I quickly read treatments and got to work.

    Retrieving my hen, I cut feathers around her vent so I could see what was going on. I rinsed her vent area with water, washing about a quarter cup of nasty maggots down the drain. Then I rinsed with hydrogen peroxide, picked off loose maggots with tweezers, and leaving my hen on a towel in my tub, I dragged with my guest to the nearest pet store. I got a bottle of non-toxic flea and tick spray made with peppermint oil and clove extracts. I was going to use it to spray my hen (IF necessary) and I guess mostly I needed to do something besides freak out.

    When we got home a half hour later, my hen was alive but worn out, and I decided to leave her alone for a bit before repeating the clean/rinse and treating her vent area with tripleantibiotic (I was afraid the application to such a raw area would hurt her). My hen died later that night. I had been so sure I was going to pull her through!

    I was horrified by how quickly my hen went from healthy & lively, ill and dead. I have nothing sharp in the yard I can find or think of that injured my hen. No maurauding dogs in my high fenced yard, and only one neighbor’s cat that is timid and gets along with my hens.

    My birds are locked in the run of their plastic Omlet Egloo cube at night and have access to its plastic coop – no sharp edges or splintery wood. No wood in the yard. No wire. No anything. No clue how my hen lost the skin near her vent, an area about the size of a quarter with no skin (so this must mean the injury happened far early than the previous day when she looked and acted normal.

    So! What I need to hear is, have any of you had such a thing happen? I never knew my hen injured herself and I don’t usually handle them much. I got Faverolles largely cause I read they were friendly, but although I hand reared them, they are not too friendly, but are adorable and I love them.

    How often do you handle and examine your hens? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Seldom?

    Have you found an injured bird with wound, or already with maggots and did you manage to save your bird?

    Despite having only 3 birds that roamed about 1/8 of an acre or so, I have flies that weren’t there before I got my hens. What can I do to knock down the outdoor fly population without poisoning my hens?

    Any and all suggestions on this dreadful post-horror story will be gratefully mulled over. I need help to keep this horror story from repeating itself.

    P.S. Thank HEAVENS for this forum.

  2. chkn

    chkn Songster

    Jun 27, 2010
    It's a good idea to keep some SWAT on hand for fly larvae problems. It took care of a problem I had with one of my roosters years ago. I kept washing the darn things off and they'd keep coming back. Yes, it can killed pretty quickly. I'm surprised your efforts didn't at least buy her a little more time but maybe she was too far gone. One or two applications of that SWAT works better than anything I've seen. Yes, I believe I've lost one fairly quickly to those things before.
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Sorry for your loss.

    Really though, any accidental small scrape, a small prolapse, or injury to the vent/skin leading to fly eggs can quickly infest a wound... and the chicken will show absolutely no signs of distress till it is too late. It is in their nature to hide any and all discomfort till it is no longer bearable. Someone not too long ago culled their rooster who they found filled with maggots but showed no outward signs. So don't beat yourself up about it.

    Personally, I probably handle my birds once every 3-6 months... if that. I switch out the layers every 3years or so though, with a few untouchables which get to live their life out here.
  4. janinepeters

    janinepeters Songster

    Jun 9, 2009
    This is called fly strike. It happened to one of my birds in the past. There does not even need to be an open wound, as flies will lay eggs on poop stuck to the vent area. I do not handle my birds very often, either, but do keep an eye on their butts, and trim off any gobs of poop that get stuck, especially in warm weather when flies are thick.

    I did not save my bird with fly strike. She was looking poorly by the time I noticed and I agreed with the vet's suggestion to put her down.
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I'm sorry for your loss. Normally I read where poop is caked on their rear end and flies lay their eggs in it and it gets worse from there. There's no telling how she got an open wound. You would have to be a micromanager with your chickens each hour of the day, there's no time for that. These things happen, so dont beat yourself up. Sand in the pen (if you have one) cuts down on the fly population dramactically. I also hang sticky fly strips up high in the pen. Not only do they get flies, but also mosquitos, biting yellow flies, and gnats.
    I check my chickens out each day, basically watching for anything out of the ordinary, but not to the extent of picking them up and inspecting them. A few of them expect me to pick them up and scratch their neck or something and I usually do...but not all of them are like that.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by