Chicken badly attacked please advise

beagler1776(z6MD)January 28, 2010

One of our 2 yo free range Buffs was badly attacked while I took my daughter to school this am. Not clear who started it... Now sharing blame among nasty young/hormonal attack guineas and young dog joining in on "game..." Needless to say I arrived home shocked to see what I thought was a dead chicken with serious holes and no skin over most of her back. I was very upset and after locking up dogs, sad and surprised to see her alive (suffering). I poured peroxide over her, wrapped her in layers of towel and put her in our "isolation" rabbit hutch in the sun w/other hens to keep her company in that area 'til my hubby could arrive home. Truthfully I was certain she was about to die any second.

When I realized she wasn't giving up yet I decided I couldn't either. I used dropper to give Pedialyte and applesauce, covered her in (non-steroidal) triple antibiotic and called a vet we used once for our hawk (DH is a licensed falconer). They "off the record" said I could give her some of the hawk's leftover meloxicam pain reliever, but wouldn't advise over the phone (yet agreed the trip there might kill her). I did give .10 cc meloxicam.

So now she's inside, padded/supported with towels, on my counter and I was amazed that she managed to stand up very briefly. Mostly she is still, eyes shut, but every once in a while she opens, moves a bit and "talks." I talk back and continue to try to give her drops of water/applesauce. Sometimes she perks up and swallows well, other times she wants to "sleep" thru it all. Clearly she is fighting death. Are there antibiotic drops I can get her w/out a vet? Please what can I do for her? Thanks in advance for any kind help!

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I'd take her to a vet.

Meanwhile, guard against shock, which can kill. Keep her warm and quiet, keep up with the antibiotic ointment, Pedialyte and applesauce. You need to keep her hydrated and some food energy in her until she is eating and drinking on her own. Live mealworms are a treat for chickens if you can get her to eat them, they are also a great source of protein which her body will need lots of to heal. Baby food is good also--the stuff for youngest babies with no chunks--get one meat and one green and one orange vegetable, mix them together with a bit of baby cereal--the stuff at the grocery store, it looks like a flaky powder. Get it warm (at least her body temp) and handfeed her with it, using what is called an 'irrigation syringe' you can get from any pharmacy (it's a plastic syringe with no needle, no prescription needed). Birds will eat warm food more readily than cold or room temp, and their body won't have to expend energy warming it up. Every little bit helps.

Are you sure it wasn't a raccoon? It sounds like classic raccoon attack injury to me--the back eaten out, basically. Keep an eye out for raccoons in case he comes back and brings friends, protect your other birds.

If she recovers, but the wound needs help healing, see this great article on cell migration:

Good for you for giving her a chance and helping out, hope she makes it!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 8:14PM
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Oh Velvet, THANK YOU!
You are exactly who I was hoping to hear from and had exactly the right information. Since my earliest days w/injured hens, you've given me the confidence and knowledge I needed to help.
Also, I told my DH about your raccoon theory and he admitted to having seen one for the first time yesterday... I'll keep a look out now! Still, as it was just outside my back door, w/dogs n guineas and feathers everywhere, I'm blaming the dog. :-(
I actually had another hen badly (but not this extensively) pecked and was astounded how quickly she bounced back w/similar treatment... Sadly I'm not expecting a happy ending for this poor girl.
Your support and website continue to be very much appreciated.
God Bless,

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 8:52PM
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The poor dear died shortly after my last post. At least I know she was warm and not alone and I hope the pain meds had helped a wee bit... sniff sniff

Today the chickens are in their pen with extra "toys" and the guineas are locked out, also w/treats. Will keep a sharp eye out for dog and raccoon and pray there'll be no more attacks!

Thanks again, the info was useful and will hopefully help another hen.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 8:47AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Aw, sorry you lost her. :( But good for you for trying, and sometimes all you can do is provide a warm, safe, loving place for them to pass on.

Thanks for the kind words, it sounded like you had already done most of what could be done.

Seriously, DO keep an eye out for raccoons, and make sure your hens don't sleep where the raccoons can reach through the wire and grab them. Raccoons are brutal like that, they just grab on with one paw and scoop out the chicken's back with the other, it's awful. And they do bring their friends with them. You may have to get alive trap and capture/relocate some of them.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 2:40PM
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