Seeking advice for care of pathetic stray hens...3 questions.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by StPaulieGirls, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. StPaulieGirls

    StPaulieGirls Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 14, 2007
    Oakland, CA
    Hello friends,

    We're in East Oakland, CA, and have a backyard flock of our own. A few days ago, every one of the neighbors on our block came ringing our doorbell to ask if we'd lost chickens (we hadn't). Finally, after dark, tearful older lady came and said that the two stray hens were huddled between her garbage bins on the curb and could I come get them. I did, and they spent the night in the back of the pickup. We put out an email to neighbors, but we know all the nearby chicken keepers and figure that these got dumped on our dead-end block (like all kinds of other animals get dumped around here -- if you ever need an extra cat, or chihuahua, or pitbull, please let me know...there's a steady stream).

    Now they're set up in a jury-rigged dog-crate situation, apart from our own coop. Not as far away as I'd like, but it's a city lot and we can't get much farther.

    My three questions are:
    1. Do these look like pullets to you all? We think they're youngish. They have no roosting instinct. It's going to be 39 degrees out tonight and I want them to be okay inside a dog crate filled with straw and covered by a beach towel and a tarp overnight.
    2. What might be up with their having, like, six feathers to their names? Lots of broken-off feathers and few pinfeathers coming in. Do you think it's wear and tear from the streets? Could they have been confined and eaten each other's feathers? They've got decent weight on them, overall. Their nakedness is what makes me worry about them being outdoors. I've got asthma, though, and don't want poorly birds in our small house. Are they feathered enough be be out in 40 degrees overnight?
    3. There are specks on their combs. I'm worried about pox, but hope that maybe they might just be scabs from cats and fences? How do you tell the difference between a pox scab and a wound scab? Sorry, I can't get better photos right now.

    If anyone in Oakland or the Bay Area wants more birds, please let me know. I'll get these as healthy as I can, but not sure I'll ever feel safe integrating them with our flock.

    Thanks, y'all!

    - Kerri in Oakland
  2. shober

    shober Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2011
    Poor things!! They look like battery hens? Chickens raised solely for eggs. Brought up in little cages. They definitely look like girls, how old I can't be sure! They will need each other and the tarp over them for the night! Thanks for helping them! :yesss:
  3. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal True BYC Addict

    May 4, 2016
    Somewhere in the Universe
    Wow, they are in awful condition.

    Yes, they do appear to be pullets. I don't know why they don't have feathers; all the things you mentioned are possible. Mites? They should be ok outside, if you didn't have problems I would say bring them in overnight.

    As for the wounds vs. pox, better pics when you can get them would be good.

    With some TLC I think these girls can get healthy. It'll probably take a bit to get their feathers back, but they should be ok. Good job!
  4. shober

    shober Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2011
    Also, I don't really see the scabs! They could have also gotten this way by being in an overcrowded situation and being the low guys in the pecking order! I've had it happen to me and had to downsize!
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    They may be in the middle of molts, but they also have probably been feather-picked and possibly overbred by a rooster. I would try to make them hen saddles with a 7x9 inch piece of polarfleece with 2 slits cut for the wings. These are easy to make, no sewing, and you can then trim any excess. If you Google polar fleece hen saddle, you should be able to see images of them. Do you have a garage or a basement that you can keep them in for quarantine for at least 30 days? Give them some extra protein, and a vitamin supplement for a few weeks to nuild them up. A few ignorant people will dump their hens when they go into a molt, and then get new chicks. Or as precious posted they may have been in overcrowded conditions , were dumped. Look for any lice, mites, respiratory symptoms that may be indications of sickness. If you don't want to add them to your flock, you could use the time to rehome them after they look a little better.BluKote spray can be used on bare spots if they start pecking each other, and it fades after a few weeks.
  6. room onthebroom

    room onthebroom Flock Master

    May 4, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017

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