Predator attack... skull exposed... put out of her misery?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by StickyChicky, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. StickyChicky

    StickyChicky In the Brooder

    Aug 21, 2014
    Hi all -

    Last night there was a predator attack in one of our coops that houses 4 Dominique chickens. We suspect possum as two chickens had the guts torn out. The other two chickens survived the attack, but we are trying to decide what to do with them. One seems like it might make it though she has a serious wound on her head, very deep and about a half inch long. She was more alert last night, and is standing up and softly clucking this morning when I checked on her. When I washed her head with warm water last night, she went totally limp on me... she may have fainted? I stopped washing her, and was walking her back to the other room and she perked up - so I dabbed neosporin on her head and quietly placed her in a kennel in our basement... but I don't think I cleaned everything well enough to prevent infection. I assume I'll have to try again today? With Saline or Peroxide?

    The other one, we almost culled last night because her wound is so awful. She has an open-to-the-skull wound that is just over the size of a quarter. I just can't bear to see so much of her skull exposed... She is alive but just sitting with her eyes closed. Last night her head was bobbing and she seemed to be having trouble breathing, there was a little blood in her mouth. The only reason we didn't cull her last night is because they other one seemed to be clucking for her, and I thought maybe her presence may calm the first one down, boost her morale a bit. I am surprised she made it through the night, and now it's decision time - put her out of her misery or see if she can make it? I wiped the blood off her nose to help her breathe last night, and completely covered her skull with a huge amount of neosporin, just to use it as a kind of band-aid for now. Any thoughts here?

    I would assume we'd have to call a vet and get some sort of skin to graft on her head to keep it protected from infection for the long term, if we try to save her???

    Any thoughts are appreciated!
    Thanks so much!!!
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I recommend that you just continue the neosporin treatment with your first hen.

    Blood coming from the mouth in your second hen is bad news, an indication of some type of internal injuries. It might be best to cull her.
  3. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Songster

    Jul 4, 2014
    I'm so sorry about the loss of your two girls and for the injuries on your remaining two.

    Saline would be better as peroxide will sting. The one who is alert sounds as if she'll make it through just fine but yes, you'll need to continue to flush the wound and reapply the Neosporin.

    The second hen has the potential to pull through even without any surgery/grafting but there's no guarantee of that; only time will tell and ultimately, the decision is yours whether you cull her or not. She has likely gone into shock but if you keep the wound clean and with her companion there for comfort, she could pull through. Either way, your girl with the less severe injury will need a friend as they are flock animals but if her current one doesn't make it through, you'll want to wait until she's made a complete recovery before introducing her to anyone new.
    I would also bring the pair inside where it's warm, quiet and safe while they heal and you can keep a closer eye on their progress (and be sure they're not picking at each other in the meantime). That will help keep flies from infesting the wounds as well.

    I would also use this time to reinforce your coop to try to prevent any future predator attacks.
  4. StickyChicky

    StickyChicky In the Brooder

    Aug 21, 2014
    Good info - thanks!
    Yes, they are inside. I just flushed with slightly salty water, added more neosporin, and gave vitamin water with syringe, which #1 took. Will wait for husband to come home to assist me with #2.

    Should I flush 2x a day, atleast until we see some healing? At some point drop down to 1x a day?

    Understand about the coop. Unfortunately, we got held up at an event last night and did not get home to close it up before dark. Their run is completely enclosed, but there are gaps which are big enough for trouble and definitely need to be tightened up. Our main flock is in a much better run, so even though we were late, they were better protected. We made 2 zones in that run to separate chicks this summer, so we can introduce her slowly to the main flock - let them see her for a while, but physically separate her until we have time to supervise. Unfortunately, where she would be is where the flock runs to when they are scared... we have a hawk that likes to sit on top of the run and fantasize about chicken dinner.

    ugh... predators...[​IMG]
  5. StickyChicky

    StickyChicky In the Brooder

    Aug 21, 2014
    Should I give them a shot of antibiotics, to be on the safe side?
  6. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Crowing

    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    I'm sorry that happened to your hens. It sounds like a coon is the culprit. I would never advocate doing anything illegal, but any sign of predator activity on my property requires me to set my traps out and have the rifle ready. Completely covered runs with wire fence, electric fencing, etc. are the best solutions. Inspecting the perimeter daily for evidence of digging coons, fox, or coyote or evidence of their scat around the property is a sure sign of their attempts.
  7. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Your hen with the scalp injury has a very good chance of healing completely. I had a chick that was scalped leaving a gaping head wound covering the entire back of her head, and the would closed up over six weeks, building new tissue from the edges inward until there was only a pin hole left, which closed.

    The secret to these sorts of deep wounds is to clean it twice daily and keep it moist with an ointment like triple antibiotic ointment. I happened to have some Silvadene on hand from when I was seriously burned, and I used that on her head. I was worried about the other chicks picking at the wound but they didn't like the taste of the Silvadene.

    I wrote up the account on my personal page under Default Album.
  8. StickyChicky

    StickyChicky In the Brooder

    Aug 21, 2014
    Thanks so much!
  9. StickyChicky

    StickyChicky In the Brooder

    Aug 21, 2014
    Do I need to get the Silvadene at the pharmacy or vet???
  10. runaelle

    runaelle In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2014
    Northfield Township, MI
    Those head wounds do indeed heal up. If it is financially possible for your I would recommend getting the wound closed up with staples from a vet. My hen that had a large head wound last Wednesday is now almost completely healed up with the staples and antibiotics. Hopefully you have a vet in the area that is reasonable and can compound avian antibiotics. My vet said that Neosporin is fine to use while healing up, but to be very careful not to get it in their eyes, since they can't get it out easily.

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