Rooster rescued from a coyote, using Manuka honey

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sunshine Flock, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Crowing

    Sep 27, 2017
    Northern California
    A coyote grabbed our rooster.

    I'm vigilantly free ranging the chickens, but "vigilant" is a mixed bag, since a predator can grab and run in the blink of an eye, and within feet of where you're standing. So, I knew they were at risk.

    Our rooster is a lovely chap, a hired hand so to speak. He threw himself at the coyote, no doubt, and saved our hens. This was why we wanted a rooster. I didn't see the snatch and grab, but I did hear a sound from the chickens that was not normal for them. I ran and saw a coyote coming back for more, no chicken in her mouth. Frightened by me, she then turned and ran back into the woods.

    I spent a quick second counting chickens and realized the rooster was missing. I raced in the direction of the coyote and, purely following my instincts, just happened to take the right series of paths that led to him. He had been left in a small clearing, hidden out of sight. It was quite amazing that I ran directly to him without any missteps, second guesses or delays.

    I've never known a coyote to take prey, leave it for a later meal, and come back for more to add to his stash. I don't think there were more than that one coyote.

    My rooster was badly hurt. But amazingly he was grabbed on his sides near the back and up to the midsection of his wings. His heck, head and spine weren't touched. When I brought him home and put him in a safe place, he tried standing and fell over. His instinct to find his hens was causing him stress, I think.

    His wattle turned a blue/black on the tops, and the red color faded quite a bit.

    I set him down on a folded blanket for padding and snipped away all feathers and pulled out dried grass from the forest. The only medicine I'm using is Manuka honey. I won't use standard meds. I did put a drop of Nutri-Drench in his beak, and then I diluted some in water, but I waited to give him water until I was done applying the honey.

    As an aside, I used a petite vintage, silver plated butter knife to apply the honey. It acts like a paddle and allowed me to apply the honey gently and without any fuss or problems.

    He was alert throughout the lengthy process. When I was done, I placed him on a blanket inside a dog crate so he couldn't move around. The pine shavings we use for the coop and brooder would have gotten in his wounds.

    For water I filled a small dish and added some Nutri-Drench and held a spoon to his beak. He wouldn't drink, so I held the spoon up closer with his beak in the water. He drank some water. I did this every hour without forcing it on him. The last time I did this, he dipped his beak into the bowl, bypassing the spoon, and drank on his own.

    For food I'm not really sure what to do, other than mix some hulled pumpkin seeds in with his layer feed and hold it in my hand. I left his feed on the blanket within his reach, but I don't think he was interested. It was only when I added the pumpkin seeds that he ate, and as they always do for the seeds (so far the only treat I give them, aside from organic lettuce, since they forage), he gobbled it up.

    It's now evening and his comb has more red in it and some of the dark blue or black areas have softened in color.

    I'm about to apply more honey. It seems it soaks in quite a bit and doesn't just drip away from body heat, which is surprising. I've applied it twice today and then once more in a few minutes. I think he needs more applications, perhaps five in a day, so I'll start that tomorrow.

    I'm not thrilled at the prospect of culling the poor guy, but I'm also not interested in conducting a science experiment should he show signs of a lessened vitality and seeing how long I can coax him along. With the extent of his wounds, infection is possible, and that's what could lead to his end. That's why I think I need more honey applications to ensure a constant coating.

    A couple of questions, if you've managed to read this far:

    Should I have any concern about trimming back his wing feathers? They will regrow? The main concern is air flow around the wounds and easy of application for the honey. I also need an easy visual on the wounds under his wings.

    What are some signs I should be aware of for a suffering chicken and a chicken declining? Also, I've read aspirin for pain is often given to chickens. But his wounds are deep, and I'm wondering if there are risks to giving aspirin to a chicken who is otherwise showing good signs of vitality.

    In other words, keep him physically comfortable, give him some Rescue Remedy to help relax him, and hold off on anything else?

    He was shivering when I first cut off tons of feathers and exposed his wounds. I thought perhaps they were mild convulsions, but when I turned on a heater (not blowing on him) and came back about 30 minutes later, he wasn't shivering anymore.

    Are there wing wraps I can use? I think I've seen a non-sticky tape that attaches to itself without any kind of glue. I'm wondering where I can find that. I'll see if Tractor Supply has some. Is it a good idea to use it to hold his wings together to restrict movement? I think he uses his wings to help stabilize himself so he doesn't tip to one side. So perhaps let them be?

    And now for the doozy.

    I heard a rasping breathing sound from under a wing, every time he took a breath. He wasn't struggling to breathe, but clearly a lung had been punctured. I pretty much thought he was doomed and hesitated in applying any honey near the small opening where this was happening. But since I had my doubts about his survival of more than a few hours, and I read recently that lungs can be surprisingly resilient, I went ahead and applied a coating of honey. I waited several minutes and noticed nothing that would indicate labored breathing or a change of some kind.

    So I left the honey in place and reapplied it later.

    I'd welcome feedback on what I've shared. I'm only trying to be a super hero to my darling rooster, not to anyone online. This isn't a show and tell. He is in jeopardy, and if I've missed an important step or am being foolish in not culling him, I'd like to know. No hard feelings whatsoever.

    I did learn the importance of a proper emergency kit. I had bits and pieces, and yes, I did buy the Manuka honey for the chickens a few months back and never had to use it until now. I'm going to add Rescue Remedy to my supplies, and although people tend to apply the honey without using a saline wash or perhaps a grapefruit seed extract wash (gleaned from the forums and elsewhere), I skipped this step, unsure if I wanted to add water and risk any immediate germ growth.

    He has a very long recovery, I think, and must be kept separate from the hens while he has open wounds. He's in the house in a spare room. I'm kind of feeling that if I see a decline in temperament and vitality in the next three days, that I need to seriously consider stepping up and sparing him the misery.

    Please share your thoughts on all of this. Thank you.
  2. red horse ranch

    red horse ranch Crowing

    Jan 24, 2014
    Buffalo Wyoming
    You are doing a good job with him. I agree with what you have done. I've read that honey is good for wounds. You were right to remove the feathers to make it easier to dress the wounds. They will regrow, if not immediately, then when he molts the next time.

    The shivering you saw was probably from shock. It will be important to keep him warm until he gets his strength back. He will need vitamins and extra protein until he heals.

    I've had several chickens attacked by dogs and it is amazing how fast they can heal. Even with horrible wounds. Just keep doing what you are doing and he will be back protecting his flock before long! :)
  3. Hen Pen Jem

    Hen Pen Jem Crowing

    Sep 19, 2017
    Southern California
    I had a coyote attack my barred rock rooster "Bumni", as I was working in the yard, two years ago. I was able to chase off the predator with the help of my Rhode Island rooster, his sidekick. The rooster suffered extensive wounds from between his wings to his vent area. I always give an injured or sick chicken at least three days to show improvement. I flushed his wounds with peroxide and applied Vetricyn three times a day for the first three days. Then twice a day for next 4 days. Fed him extra meat protien, fresh greens & fruit, toast with butter (his favorite) and chicken feed. His biggest problem was his initial shock, it took about four days to get over the shock. He was featherless for about 3 months then, molted. He fully recovered from his wounds after a month. If they eat, drink and poop, recovery is probable. Hang in there...Manuka honey is even being used by vets for it's amazing healing properties. Keep wounds clean until they scab over.
    God Bless to you and your rooster!
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Give him a few days to see how he does.

    It won't hurt to trim feathers out of the way of the wounds so you can monitor them more easily. Getting him warm was good - the shivering was most likely shock. A sick or injured chicken will benefit from a warm area to be in (75-80F) but you will need to watch for overheating.

    For wounds - imho, they will heal better unwrapped. I would just keep the honey on them.

    It sounds like you are doing well taking care of him. Getting him hydrated is most important. For food, if he isn't interested in his normal feed, you can try hard boiled/scrambled egg or tuna. Nutri-Drench is good - either add that to his water for a couple of days following the bottle instructions or you can direct dose him at 1cc per 3lbs of weight 1time per day.
  5. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Crowing

    Sep 27, 2017
    Northern California
    Thank you for the feedback. So appreciated!

    I discovered tonight, just after applying the honey, that he can't at all use his right leg. The toes are curled and the leg he's only able to lean back on in a kneeling position. He can stand on his left leg. I'm not encouraging him to move and prefer to keep him still. But this was his instinct, and I'm wondering if a little bit of non-motion standing is good for his leg circulation. We noticed his legs were somewhat darker in color. Sitting all day could be the culprit, but I'm not sure.

    This is kind of backwards, but after I applied more honey, I decided to use the tweezers to remove what I can from the numerous wounds. I also trimmed back more feathers.

    The big worry is his lung. I have nothing to reference for some guidance on what this means and what to expect. I noticed some very slight bubbling each time he took a breath. Again, no labored, beak open breathing. But I do see a small amount of fluid. I didn't feed him water. I let him make the decision to drink, and he did. Could he have somehow inhaled water into his lung? Tonight I also noticed a slight pink/red tinge to the fluid. I dabbed it with a cotton swab and there's definitely a pink tinge of what seems to be fresh blood.

    The wounds are already showing signs of healing. The lung puncture is lower on his body and under a wing, so fluids from above could have seeped into the opening. But surprisingly the honey only moderately drips. It seems to sink in and stay pretty local to where ever it's applied. So he may have internal bleeding, and that's a whole other animal in terms of treatment. Any thoughts on this?

    I applied honey on the lung puncture again. I figured it would benefit more than harm him, but I could be wrong. The thing is, he never shows any stress or changes when I apply it, so hopefully it's okay.

    The leg is probably lame due to deep tissue wounds. I don't see any cuts or feel any obvious breaks. The lung, however, that's got me worried.

    Again, thanks for the great suggestions. I'll be sure to adjust his diet with more protein. He's a Welsummer rooster. With his grotesque wounds and drastically cut feathers, he's looking half his usual size. I sure hope this darling boy makes a full recovery.
  6. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Crowing

    Sep 27, 2017
    Northern California
    I wanted to add he can't stand inside the carrier. This only happens when I take him out for a cleaning and honey treatment.
  7. CapricornFarm

    CapricornFarm Chicken Tender

    Feb 1, 2010
    Southern Virginia
    I have heard of putting saran wrap over chest punctures and then wrap with vet wrap. I would rather see antibiotic ointment on that wound.
    You are doing a great job and i hope he heals up quickly. Hugs.
  8. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Crowing

    Sep 27, 2017
    Northern California
    It's very late at night. I just checked on him and am now hearing a sound like snore from his throat or beak, not the hole in his lung. It's not constant, but it's a change in how he's been all day.

    I think he has fluid in his lungs. He drank a lot of water earlier. Or it could be the honey, but I'm thinking not. It could also be blood.

    Either way, I'm not sure he's going to survive. But I wanted to document this here for others to see and learn from.
  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    :hugs hoping for the best possible outcome
    biophiliac, The Angry Hen and Tlmcq like this.
  10. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Oh dear...this doesn't sound to good - especially the bubbling with each breath. I don't think it would be due to his drinking - I suspect you are right, could be a punctured air sac or lung.
    Hopefully the pink tinged fluid is just drainage, but unfortunately, with injuries from Coyote, fox, dog...a bird is usually squeezed/crushed so internal injuries and nerve damage can be common.

    I didn't realize you had not flushed/cleaned the wounds before applying the honey - watch them for infection. I understand you want to stay as natural as possible. Since you suspect a punctured lung, flushing that area I would not do, but if you find infection setting in on the other ones (or for future reference), you can use sterile or boiled water or saline (make your own - google it) to help flush out wounds.
    He may need antibiotics to fight infection - I do not know enough about herbal/natural treatments to recommend much of anything (I suspect you do). A few people recommend Colloidal Silver or Oregano to help with infection, but you would have to research that.

    I wish I had better answers for you - the only thing you can do is continue with supportive care and keep close watch on him - if he starts to struggle with his breathing, it would be kindest to put him down, hard to do sometimes, but you have to step away (in your heart) and consider what's best for them.

    Please keep us posted.
    It's not related to treatment, but I've always found this interesting and it may help you somewhat locate the air sacs.
    ronzxcvb, Cryss, biophiliac and 2 others like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: