Wounded Hen - Nasty Looking Skinned Spot

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Tytytytyler, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Tytytytyler

    Tytytytyler Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 26, 2009
    So, I found my hen, Betty, with this hole in her side on Thursday, and we do not know what caused it but we assume that one of the roosters was a bit too rough on accident while...doing their thing. I separated her and it looked like it was kind of scabbing over the next day, so I figured it was getting better even though it's ...really big. Now we're going into Tuesday and it still looks pretty gross, and I don't see it getting any smaller. It doesn't smell infected or anything, though. I just want to be sure if it is healing or if I need to do something to aide it along in the healing process.

    She doesn't seem to be in any pain and she doesn't pick at it or anything. She acts perfectly fine, to be honest, but I still don't feel safe putting her back with the rest of them.


    [Also, if anyone could help explain her missing feathers on her back, that would help, too. Her and our other sex link both have pretty bare backs, it seems like they just lost them all at once, too, and it wasn't gradual. Is it a mite problem?]
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    You can visually inspect them for lice and mites. Look especially around the vent area. I recommend you keep Betty seperated til she heals. You'll want to flush and clean the wound with a 50-50 mixture of water-betadine solution. Then put neosporin ointment (without pain reliever) on the wound. Continue with the neosporin til it heals. I do not recommend applying blu-kote in this situation. While she's seperated, provide her with feed and water, you can add scrambled egg with her feed for extra protein to help encourage feather regrowth.
    I can assure you that it is your roosters causing the feather loss as well as the injury(s). Your other sex link will be next in line with injuries from your roosters. The rooster to hen ratio should be around 1 rooster per 10 hens. I also recommend that you purchase chicken saddles for your hens to protect their backs and sides and allow eventual feather regrowth.
  3. Desert Rooster

    Desert Rooster El Gallo Del Desierto

    Sep 4, 2010
    Hesperia, Ca
    I have a 8 week old with a similar wound, its healing now with Neosporin and non stick gauzes
  4. stormylady

    stormylady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2008
    Hi, sure looks like a rooster cut her during mating, I had a roo do that to my White leghorn girl I isolated her from the others and washed the cut with saline solution and filled it with antibiotic ointment with no pain meds in it, and did that everyday for about two week til it was healed except for a small scab let her back in with the others and he ripped her open again same spot, so we did the process again only kept her locked up longer til even the scab was gone and she is doing fine to this day, the missing feathers on her back could be because she is one of your Roos favorite hens and over breeds her ripping out her feathers. how many roos do you have and how many hens? Most of my problem was that I had way too many Roos and they were extremely hard on the girls especially the favorites. Hope she is feeling better soon. Sandy
  5. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    She's barebacked because of over-mating. She is sliced open because of the same thing. You might try attending to trimming some spurs, or at least rounding them off a bit to prevent this from happening again. She will need to be separate until she heals. You can use Neosporin or Blukote on the wound to help it heal quicker and prevent infection. Some high protein foods will give her the resources she needs to re-grow that skin. I would also look at the ratio of roos to hens. The guideline is 1:10. Any more than that and you have problems. If you have a particularly rough roo, you may want to set him up some bachelor quarters and let him have conjugal visits under your supervision. A rough roo can do a lot of damage if given free-rein with the hens. I just removed a rough roo from my flock because he had more than half my hens with bare backs and feather damage. I had 18 hens, so it's not like mine didn't have plenty to choose from. He was just too rough with them.

    Good luck with her.
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Definitely rooster damage, I agree. A Dreml tool is great for taking off the tip of the spur -- look for the "quick," it's much like a fingernail, and don't cut into the quick, and it will be like cutting your nails, should not hurt or bleed. In a few weeks the quick will be shorter and you can trim more.

    You can make your own saddles if you prefer. Scroll way down the first link to see how:




    The last link talks about making one out of duct tape.
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    The feather loss and wound are caused by mating activity. You mention "roosters." It is possible that you have too many roosters to too few hens. Even with enough hens damage can occur if the roosters have developed the habit of gang breeding the hens.
  8. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    I would definitely keep her separated until that wound heals, which will be faster than you'd think. The important thing is to keep it clean to avoid infection. Neosporin slathered on it may help but let it stay open to the air, don't cover it. She'll be back in business in no time!
  9. Tytytytyler

    Tytytytyler Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 26, 2009
    Thanks you guys, flushing it out and Neosporin is the route I was planning to take. I just didn't know if there was anything else to do to speed it along [like the protein foods that were mentioned.]

    And we do have multiple roosters, but only one rooster has access to the hens at a time [And actually he's the only rooster that really mates with them anyways.] He's just a really big rooster, and I think he just doesn't realize he's too rough sometimes. He's the nicest rooster out of them all though. My hen probably is over-mating, because on top of getting jumped on by him randomly, she is often just laying down in front of him giving him permission.

    And I will be looking into the chicken saddles. I didn't find out about those until last night!
  10. chickenladyk

    chickenladyk Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 11, 2007
    We had a hen get attached by a small hawk, removing a patch of skin about 3" x 4". What was left looked just like a piece of chicken you've skinned before cooking. It was awful.

    Well, it took about three months, but she healed fully, growing back all of her skin (from the outer edges inward, since there was no longer any skin over the muscle tissue), including all of the feathers! Imagine if we could bottle the remarkable healing ability of chickens, what it would mean to burn victims, etc!

    But back to topic: Here's what we learned. Perhaps it will work for you:

    The wound was not bleeding. There was just this huge, gaping, open area. The wound was recent, so the area was still moist.

    We elected NOT to try to wash the wound (although there were a couple of specks of dirt on the surface of the open area). It would have been painful for the chicken. Plus, it might have spread infection bacteria. Most importantly, and it would have washed away the healing enzymes and cells that the hen's immune system had already sent to the area.

    We also chose not to apply any kind of antiseptic, Neosporin, etc. The area was too large, and antiseptics are, by their nature, strong stuff: In addition to killing bad bacteria, they kill good bacteria, too -- the ones that can help the wound heal. Most importantly, in addition to killing bacteria, antiseptics can also kill some cells of living tissue -- the same cells that the body sets up to begin the healing process. Antiseptics can be toxic on large wounds.

    What we have found is that isolation and rest, in a warm, dark, quiet area, works miracles. Here's what worked for us:

    Instead, we isolated the hen in our "hospital pen". It's a plastic travel crate for large dogs, the kind with a wire door in the front. We put the pen in a warm, quiet, darkened room, away from drafts. We cover it with a lightweight dark-colored blanket, for extra warmth and darkness, leaving an open area for air flow, of course. We put water in the little dish that attaches to the door.

    We put a heating pad, set to medium, on the floor of the crate and cover the floor (and heating pad) with old bath towels. We set a 4 x 4 on the floor, in case the chicken wants to "roost", but the back of the crate, where the heating pad is, is open, so if the hen wants more warmth, it can lay on the towels that cover the heating pad.

    We let the hen out (or bring her out, if she is weak), every few hours for food and to be sure she's drinking. Dehydration happens quickly, and it kills.

    We provide a smorgasbord of their favorite foods, including fresh, raw liver (from organically raised, pastured animals, so the liver isn't contaminated). Gently cooked eggs are popular, too. Both of these foods contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals needed for healing. They like chopped raw tomatoes, lettuce, various high-calorie seeds, like shelled sunflower seeds, etc. We also offer freshly thawed frozen corn as an energy food, especially for their last meal before "bedtime", so the chickens don't have to use the liver and eggs for energy production and can, instead, use those foods for healing. In short, we spoil them with wonderful, health-building foods. We've found this makes a huge difference, compared to providing just their normal chicken feed.

    After a day or two, the hen comes out on her own, when we open the door of the crate, and walks right out to our kitchen, where "lunch" will be. When she's finished, she walks right back into the crate on her own, and settles down again. Pretty amazing.

    While she's out, we replace the towels. Keeping the pen clean is very important to healing, of course.

    In the case of our injured hen, the open area dried out, just the way a piece of skinned chicken would, if you left it out on the counter. And it began the healing process from there. We observed the hen closely, and there was never any sign of infection at all.

    As usual, we were amazed at the healing power chickens have.

    We have had huge successes, saving chickens, with our hospital-pen technique. We don't save them all, of course, but probably 95%. The secret seems to be getting them into the "hospital"at the first sign something is wrong, watching closely, and providing minimum "medical" intervention. It's hard to restrain ourselves, because we all want to think we're "doing something" to help our beloved friends, but we've found that most often, refraining from "medical intervention", and allowing Mother Nature to do her miracles unimpeded, is the best thing to do.

    Hope this helps some one. Thanks for helping me with all your suggestions and ideas! I love this site!

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