Predator attack. One gone, one injured

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by longday, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. longday

    longday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I came out this morning to a dead 3.5yo australorp hen. Honestly, I was already running late for work, and she was clearly already gone, so I quickly looked at the two other chickensand both went for the food I offered. My one year old red girl (no clue what breed she is, but she's about the same size as the australorp, so a full size bird) had a few ruffled feathers on the left side behind her ear.

    When I looked at the dead bird after work, she had a hole in her back and entrails gone. I assumed raccoon because she was a sizable girl, but there were no signs of entry or damage to the coop. There had clearly been a scuffle - feed knocked over and feathers everywhere.

    I then started to think rat - we've definitely had some around recently. Honestly, I didn't look at her neck because the sight of her back was bad enough. She'd laid yesterday, so I believe she was healthy.

    I took a closer look at my red girl's neck and she has a wound - a flap of skin is torn, about the size of a fingernail. Seems to be still intact and clean. There doesn't appear to be any blood, but probably some dry on her feathers. She's been scratching and seems in pretty decent condition apart from this injury.

    Is there anything I should do for her? Here's picture, but it's kind of hard to see what's going on. Is it likely to heal itself?

    Oh, and I've moved them to another coop that's about as rat proof as you can get, but I'm still trying to figure out what to do in the longer term. Any suggestions on ridding ourselves of rats, and do you think I'm on the right track with a rat taking out a (presumably sleeping) full sized hen and having a go at another?

    [​IMG]


    Thanks so much,
    LD
     
  2. LittleRedCoop53

    LittleRedCoop53 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can Hawks get into your run? Did the other chicken look plucked at all? if so could be red tail hawk.
     
  3. gruffy

    gruffy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2015
    I would still treat the wound. I've heard iodine but not sure. The skin when it heals can tighten and spread the wound if it's deep enough. I would check to see if it gets bigger if so a tiny bit of surgical tape would probably work to keep the wound from opening
    You may have to pull or clip a few feathers to get to the wound
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  4. longday

    longday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2012
    Thanks for the responses. We have red tail hawks around, but no way one could get in. I started to wonder whether, because I'd left her there for the morning, the other chickens actually caused the damage to her back.

    The wounded hen is a bit of a flighty bird (no pun intended), so maybe use a spray iodine on the wound?
     
  5. gruffy

    gruffy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2015
    Hmmm I think cat or raccoon would probably do this a hawk would usually carry the bird away if they could but still a possibility .
    For your hen I wouldn't spray you may get her eyes and face as well and you really have to clear the wound from her feathers or they bring dirt and germs in the wound. If you cover her with a towel and slip a sock over her head she won't struggle then you can roll it up until you see the wound. It's even easier if you get a volunteer to hold her wings in
     
  6. longday

    longday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2012
    What's the best thing to clean her with - straight iodine? Assuming the wound is as I described when I get a good look at it, is she likely to only need one cleaning or should I clean for several days in a row?
     
  7. gruffy

    gruffy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would wash first clear feathers directly around it then disinfect and cover with a small bandaid a small one if you can stick it to her skin and still cover it it would keep your other birds from picking it. I had a pigeon with talon wounds through and under her wing years ago this worked really well on her and healed really well
     
  8. longday

    longday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2012
    I took a look at her last night. Clipped feathers back but couldn't get them far enough to put a bandaid on. :) The wound was a little bigger than I first estimated - like an inch long J shape. It was nice and clean though, and looked to be a surface wound that was healing nicely. I put plenty of iodine on it - not a popular decision, but the sock advice was invaluable! She's a good girl for sure.

    Two questions:
    1. When should the risk of infection pass? I looked at her again tonight, and she looked ok, so I left it alone. She's happy as ever and the other hen seems to be leaving it alone.
    2. She laid an egg today, much to my surprise. Should it be ok to eat or would there be risk of salmonella since she's not well?

    Thanks!
     
  9. gruffy

    gruffy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would just watch her for now if all goes well It should scab a bit and heal on its own. Salmonella is a bacterium in the intestines of an infected bird it can be rare and most chicken scratch has a chemical to reduce that bacteria and if you plan on eating them un-washed the bacteria dies when cooked so really no harm done so I'm thinking her eggs are still safe to eat :~)
    And I applaud you on your efforts very well done :D She's one lucky duck... er chicken:D
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
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  10. longday

    longday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2012
    Another attack - I now know it was a possum. I thought I'd made the coop predator proof but apparently not. :( Heard ruckus in the hen house at 5 a.m. and found possum still there, with feathers in his mouth. Picture mad woman in dressing gown screaming obscenities at it as I chased it with a steel rod. Very attractive.

    He'd reopened (or added to) the wound on the survivor of the last attack. She seems to be doing ok though. I'd added two 10ish week old hens to the flock and one is now nursing an injured back. I think she'll be ok too, but a minute or two more and she wouldn't have. I put iodine on her and have her isolated in a quiet place.

    Anyway, really just a follow up to let you know what the predator was. Any ideas on how to deter/protect against possums?
     

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