Something (unsuccesfully) tried to eat my hen...help!

dancesWchickens

In the Brooder
11 Years
Aug 6, 2008
83
3
29
Davis, CA
I think a hawk or cat tried to snatch one of my free range hens early this morning, but was unsuccessful. The hen was in the neighbor's yard (over a tall fence) when I found her. She's injured and I'm not sure what I need to do to help her! Not really interested in spending $500 to take her to the only "exotic pet" emergency vet clinic in my city - there are no vets that deal with chickens here. Whatever got her pulled out half of her tail feathers, and the rest are loose (they just come out when I stroke the tail). Her wing has a bruise on the underside along with what looks like an incomplete puncture (claw mark?), but it's not broken. She's fluffed a bit and her wings are not tight to her back, but she's running around with the other hens scratching and eating. She very happy to be back with her sisters, but seems a bit subdued so I'm quite worried. Does anyone have experience with this? Should I wash her or smear her with antibiotics just in case her skin got punctured?
 
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Crest Acres Girl

Songster
11 Years
Mar 5, 2008
539
3
153
Southern California
eck, I would suggest not washing her...if there is no blood etc then shes fine with her sisters, just keep an eye on her for a day or two since shes weak now and the predator might come back...One of my chicken got attacked by a cat once, hawks dont try to mess with my chickens since half of them are mothers and ...mothers are scary when they are angry haha. I put the chicken in the house in the bathroom for a day to watch her and to not let her sores get infected. Then I let her out again when everything seemed alright. if its a noticeable scratch then you might want to clean it with a warm cloth once in a while. But other then that just keep an close eye out.
 

dancesWchickens

In the Brooder
11 Years
Aug 6, 2008
83
3
29
Davis, CA
Thanks Nyis, I appreciate your info. Any ideas about the loose tail feathers? Should I go ahead and take them out or just leave them in there?

I was beside myself losing a chicken a day to our 2 local hawks until I discovered kitchen string: the hawks won't swoop under it. I strung up a loose spiderweb of string between the trees in my yard and my girls have been completely safe running around underneath it for months, at least until today. I dunno, maybe it wasn't a hawk; their strike usually breaks the bird's back so even if I chase the hawk away immediately the poor chicken dies within minutes. This hen looks chewed on.
 

Crest Acres Girl

Songster
11 Years
Mar 5, 2008
539
3
153
Southern California
ouch chewed on O_O? yah the loose feathers if it comes off very very easily then take them off, if its still somewhat attached then leave it and it will molt off eventually. I would imagine pulling chicken feathers off chickens really hurts o_o. I mean...pulling leg hair hurts...with that tiny hair and that tiny hole...imagine that huge chicken feather !!
 

klf73

Mad Scientist
11 Years
Jun 1, 2008
6,080
13
251
Maine
any chance a dog got her? My dogs just got one of my daughters chickens and they plucked her (and ate her)
. Maybe it was a young/small dog that could have gotten frightened off?
edited to add that I would leave her be and keep an eye on her too
 
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dancesWchickens

In the Brooder
11 Years
Aug 6, 2008
83
3
29
Davis, CA
Hmmm a dog is a possibility. It would certainly explain the tail feathers being loose. My yard is enclosed completely so something would have to fly or climb over the walls and fences to get in; dogs can't get in and we don't have one. But, if the hen decided to explore the neighborhood on her own this morning, she could easily have flown over the fence. There are people who let their dogs run w/o leashes in my neighborhood all the time (grrr; not ok on an urban street I think anyway). Thanks, klf73; I'll patrol a bit and see if anyone saw their dog get a chicken.
 

Mom2Cool

Songster
11 Years
May 8, 2008
856
0
162
DancesWchickens 1st I don't think it would be a dog because even a little dog would kill first I believe. They may "pluck it" but that would come after. I watch my goldens *routinely* take their play stuffed animals & they *kill for sport* by giving it a sharp shake & that's just how dogs are they kill for sport & they'll shake to break a neck & it's dead. After that it depends on the dog i.e. hunger or if this is just play etc. In hunting dogs like spaniels, retrievers, setters & the like there is a place in their mouth where they can safely carry a bird or small animal without bitting into it. Any dog that's being taught to retrieve a small animal is not suppose to bite down which they'll do. Of course they're retriving a animal that's already been killed & so they're not going to stop to "shake it" but that would be a different sport or game for them. You know if I'm playing with my golden & I'm tossing a ball she's running to get it & bringing it back, but if I'm playing with a play dead animal & I give it a toss & she runs to get it & I say "hey give that thing a good shake & kill him good" she'll do that it's a different game we're playing... She knows the chickens are off limits & she's a real good girl but I don't know that I'd ever trust her on her own. If she was on her own & when after one I imagine the first thing she'd be doing is "playing with it" & she'd give it a good shake & "kill it good". It's a sport or a game for them & just something that comes natural... The small dogs like terriers & I think even the lap dogs were & still are used as ratting dogs & they "go in & kill" that's what they are meant for.

I once had a cocker spaniel that discovered a litter of baby bunnies under a bush & proud as a peacock brought one to hubby in her mouth lying right in that spot & careful "not to bite it"? Of course it still had teeth marks on it because it was in her mouth but she hadn't j punchured it as in biting she was just retrieving to hubby. Some times a "retriving type dog will just naturally do that but it's not normally the case & sshe was not trained to retrive.

Could it have been a hawk that tried to carry her off & dropped her? I thought birds of prey kill with their feet first though. Very odd, I hope you figure it out so that you can make sure the back yard is safe.
 

Mom2Cool

Songster
11 Years
May 8, 2008
856
0
162
oh I almost forgot

2nd I just LOVE your nickname &

3rd I love your profile picture! they are both just lovely....
 

dancesWchickens

In the Brooder
11 Years
Aug 6, 2008
83
3
29
Davis, CA
Thanks, everyone for your help and kind words! In retrospect think it was a hawk that ended up dropping her. I found a gap in my erzatz hawk-deterrent after another of my hens was attacked. Both of the hens ended up just fine; no harm apparently done. They are both pictured on my member page, https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=14142 (tail-gone = Antoinette, second hen = Babette).
 
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