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Chicken with head injury from pecking - suggestions?  RSS feed

 
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My brahma chicken got attacked by the other members of the flock yesterday. They pecked her head down to the bone.  I was going to put her out of her misery, but the problem is she is acting fine.

We gave her her favorite treats of japanese beetles and meow mix as a goodbye snack. Since she scarfed them down and was looking for more, my husband convinced me we should give her a chance. She spent today roaming around the yard with her chick acting totally normal.  Usually with injuries, we have pulled together skin flaps and used super glue with great success.  Problem is there is not skin to pull together in her case.  If she was acting like she was suffering at all, I would have no problem with dispatching her.  She is also our best broody hen and has raised chicks the last four years and even at five years old still lays a couple eggs a week. A hard working hen!

I appreciate any suggestions.  I would like to give her whatever chance possible. Thank you.  




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Chicken with head injury
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Still eating with chick
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Let her be, it will heal over. I'd give her a 99.8% chance of survival.
I'm always amazed just how tough chickens are including the much maligned Cornish X.
 
Tina Hillel
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Thanks for the response Alley. That's what we are doing and so far she is still doing ok. She was hanging out with my husband while he was repairing an engine and went in his workshop when it started raining.  She is following us around way more which is out of character.

Chickens are tough. We have a survivor of a raccoon attack whose neck got superglued back together as well as one with a reattached wing.  Its just with so much skull exposed with no protection, I wasnt sure if I should try to come up with some kind of covering.
 
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Poor hen.

If she can eat, she will probably survive.  Biggest problem is avoiding depression on about day three.  Spend lots of time with her and encouragement with treats.  

Maybe some antibacterial cream on the wound if it's not too near the eye.
 
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The others are probably right about her being fine without interference.  

I don't have experience in this situation with chickens but this stuff has worked well for me with cracked/split skin:

https://www.amazon.com/Nexcare-Skin-Crack-Care-24fl/dp/B00DP644JE/ref=sr_1_13_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1532489216&sr=8-13&keywords=liquid%2Bbandage%2Bnexcare&th=1

There are other options that are spray-on that might be worth a shot and work better for your situation.
 
Tina Hillel
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Thanks for that advice R Ranson.  Sounds like I will be spending extra time getting her beetles tomorrow which will be day three.  We were concerned she might get lonely and depressed on her own which was one reason we have the chick roaming with her.  Plus he wouldnt shut up without her and I dont want the local hawks drawn here with an easy target.
 
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I'm not a chicken owner, but I've had success doctoring our cats, us too. I keep a salve on hand made of equal parts Yellow Dock, Plantain, Mullien, and Comfrey. It works well for us. Neosporin is a thing of the past in our home. You really don't have time to let that stuff infuse though... If you have some Comfrey, you may want to "tie" some to her head. Comfrey helps new cells to grow, speeding the healing process.

I repeat, I'm not a chicken owner, but what I imagine, is a small piece of Comfrey, roughed up (or chewed) so that it's kinda damp from it's own juices, slightly larger than the wound, held in place by a bit of Vetwrap. This stuff, trimmed to an appropriate size: https://www.amazon.com/Ever-Ready-First-Aid-Adherent/dp/B01LXXCK5K/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1532488036&sr=8-3&keywords=vet+wrap+3+inch It's self adherant, but it is NOT sticky.

If such a 'bandaid' could actually work, and you have no Comfrey, you could use Plantain instead, roughing up the leaf (or chewed) as described. Plantain is antibacterial. And MILD analgesic (pain killer).

An article with pictures of the most common Plantains for identification purposes.

https://wildmedicinal.wordpress.com/2015/09/06/plantain-plantago-spp-2/

Note that I've not used this site before, but the only new to me info on this single page is that "The leaves contain allantoin, which stimulates cellular growth and tissue repair..." Huh. I guess you don't need the Comfrey (which content of alletoin is the cell builder) after all! I did do a quick search, and other sites also confirm the allentoin content of Plantain. She also includes a quick heated method of making a salve. I infuse mine without heat, for several weeks. Just because that is how I learned to do it. A friend uses the heating method on the herbal salves that she sells, so it is an appropriate method.

Good luck!

Edit to add: I've found Vetwrap at farm supply type stores. I imagine a feed store would also carry it.


 
Tina Hillel
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Sonja, spray on is a great idea. I used a little cornstarch on a particularly goopy spot and she understandably didnt want it touched.  It is disconcerting to see tendons or whatever bits that are moving on her head so I have been afraid I would make a bad problem worse for her. Thanks!
 
Tina Hillel
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Joylynn - those are two things I do have - the vetwrap and plantain.  I was noticing earlier that she was eating it, but never even occurred to me to use the vetwrap at way.  Thank you much!
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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And assuming she is cooperative, changing the leaf daily would be good.

 
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We had this happen with three of our chickens (over aggressive rooster who is long gone). The first one we put down, thinking she'd never recover, the next two we just separated used vetericyn poultry spray for a few das and they've healed up! They're still not the prettiest, but they seem perfectly fine! Chickens are amazing.
 
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I keep aloe gel on hand for myself and squeezed some into my chicken's eye when it was apparently scratched while attempting to evade a hawk.   She couldn't keep her eye open.   She didn't seem to mind the treatment  so I repeated a couple times over an hour or so and she was like new within a few hours.
 
Alley Bate
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So Tina, how's she fairing?
 
Tina Hillel
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Alley, it's funny timing. I was typing an update and a storm knocked out the internet and your question appeared when I was able to get back online.

Susan, I definately have to add aloe to the critter care kit.  I used to have it for myself but ended up allergic to it and tossed it.  Pre-chicken days but would'nt of thought of using aloe for them.  

The hen is doing well. She killed and ate a snake the other day. Normally would have saved the snake, but in her case figured it probably has extra nutrients she needs.  She would not share any with her chick who was begging for a taste😀

She also laid an egg for the first time since going broody.  In my car.

Also has stopped following us around constantly, so all in all I think she will make it.

Jessica, you are so right, they are amazing!

Thanks so much for all the helpful suggestions. Hoping it's a while before I need to use any again!
 
Tina Hillel
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Just wanted to give a quick update.

My brahma recovered well. She has not reintegrated with the rest of the flock, except for when I let everyone out to free range.  She mostly avoids them, not that I can blame her!

After she got back to laying eggs for a couple weeks, she starting getting broody again.  She would even start randomly attacking other birds while they were out.  Decided to go ahead and give her seven eggs and let her set if she really wanted to.  Seven new chicks as of Sunday. She is a happy bird strutting with her little ones😀
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Bird with new chicks
 
Sonja Draven
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Thanks for the update!  So glad she is doing well!
 
We should throw him a surprise party. It will cheer him up. We can use this tiny ad:
Wildlife Web Kickstarter: Participate in the Web of Life
https://permies.com/t/100598/Wildlife-Web-Kickstarter-Participate-Web
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