Stuffed animal friends for chickens in medical isolation?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Noble Rooster, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. Noble Rooster

    Noble Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2009
    NY
    I have a hen who is in a hospital coop recovering from a coyote attack back in August. Her wound has healed but it's taking some time for the feathers around it to grow back in. I thought she was ready for reintegration with the rest of the flock but the other girls are too interested in her bald spot and pecked it bloody the other day. Luckily the injury wasn't serious (just to the top layer of skin), but I have her back in the hospital coop to let that heal and give the feathers more time to grow in and cover it. The poor thing has been in the hospital coop for 6 weeks now and is holding up well (it's next to the main coop so she can see/hear everyone else and free ranges with them under supervision), but I can tell she's lonely and bored in there. I've been giving her treats that require her to peck and work a little for them to keep her entertained, plus let her out to hang out with me by herself, but I can't have her out all the time, obviously. I've read on here about folks using stuffed toys as surrogate "friends" for young chicks who are by themselves; has anyone tried this with adult chickens? Does it seem to help? Not that it's the same as being back to having a normal chicken life, but at least she'd have another something to snuggle against at night since she's not on the roost with everyone.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. TC_BokBok

    TC_BokBok Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Traverse City, MI
    I'd highly suggest a stuffed animal around the same size of your hen to snuggle with. I'd also suggest a large mirror and a parakeet toy that hangs down like a bell or something along those lines for those occasionally stimulating/interested moments she can have.

    Good luck! Sick chickies makes me sad. Glad to hear she's getting better though.
     
  3. DDRanch

    DDRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2008
    California
    What a great idea. Do let us know how it is working for her.

    I have a suggestion for the bald spot. I use a product called "Rooster Peck No More" which is a topical brown, messy cream specifically to smear on a chickens wound. It has aloe and tea tree oil, among other things to stop bleeding, treat a wound AND it tastes so terrible the other chickens take one tiny taste and leave the chicken alone. Not for a serious injury, but perhaps it woulc work for your situation. Beware, the cream stains everything it comes in contact with.....and works very well.
     
  4. Noble Rooster

    Noble Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2009
    NY
    Thank you, both! The suggestion about the Peck-No-More is great. I had been wondering about possibly applying something that would be foul tasting to the other chickens but not irritate her skin at the same time. I was also thinking that when I try reintegration again I might put a hen saddle on her at first just to give the old wound area some extra protection during the inevitable pecking order scuffles.

    I put two bird toys in this morning and will pick up a suitable stuffed animal for her this afternoon. Hopefully she'll find it helpful, and at the very least I'll get some super-cute shots of her cuddling with it! She really has been such a brave girl throughout this whole ordeal.
     
  5. Noble Rooster

    Noble Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2009
    NY
    So here she is with the stuffed toy (fleece dog toy). Can't tell whether it's helped yet but I was encouraged to see that she actually slept near it instead of thinking some fuzzy alien had invaded her sleeping area!

    [​IMG]
     

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