chicken rescued from hawk

wana_b_farmerFebruary 14, 2009

Me and my wife are pretty new to raising chickens. We bought three NewHampshire Red (hens). One of them got abducted by a hawk just as my wife went out to check on the hens. So my wife being the animal lover that she is ran after the hawk yelling, and it dropped the hen. The hen fell from about 6 or 7 ft., and is fine with the exception of some kind of leg injury. It can limp around to get food and water, but pretty much rests most of the time. The hens are one month old. Should I do anything or just wait to see what happens.

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I would keep the hen quiet, allowing the leg to heal if it is going to and it will help with possible shock. Maybe it's just bruised, obviously you've looked at it already, but is anything out of the ordinary this morning? Swelling maybe, broken bone? Anything out of the ordinary? Did this happen yesterday?

It's a good sign shes going for food & water, maybe putting some near her would help her in being quiet/resting. Watch the other two don't pick on her.

Here hurt birds get supportive treatment:quiet area, food&water, maybe some kelp or fresh greens, generally they either make it or they don't.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 7:46AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Good advice from brendasue. :) Like she said, you need to keep the bird warm and quiet to guard against shock, which can kill.

I'd be willing to bet there as puncture wounds from the hawk's talons, though. Either the hawk's grip or the fall may have broken or bruised her leg(s) if she is limping. If taking the bird to the vet is out, it might be a good idea to get some over-the-counter bird antibiotic such as Ornacyn (at the pet store in the bird/reptile section) and add it to the hens' water. Use the doseage for parrots and follow label directions, and if it comes in tablet form crush it up first (the tablets take forever to dissolve). Keep her warm and quiet, and you can give her unflavored Pedialyte (at the grocery store, in the baby aisle) to drink to boost her electrolytes--good for injured or sick birds.

You can get an idea of what is going on with her leg by starting at the top, GENTLY but firmly grasp her leg between your thumb and forefinger and squeeze, working your way down the leg. If she jumps or sqwauks at a certain point, you've found an injury. Get another hen and compare how it feels between the two hens' legs. You might be able to feel a serious enough break with your fingers. Also, test her--does she grasp with the injured leg's foot? Hold her up and tip her back and forth a bit, watching the foot--does it move or grasp? Anything that can help you diagnose her will help you. Feel up into her thigh area as well.

Offer her goodies to keep her eating, such as live mealworms, cooked ground beef, scrambled eggs, diced grapes, raw corn on the cob, etc. Anything that keeps her eating and hydrated is good, and extra protein from things like mealworms will help her heal.

I've got a chicken info site here that may help, this is the section of health:

Good luck with her, and congrats to your wife for battling a hawk to save her! :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 7:11PM
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Thanks a lot for your help brendasue & velvet_sparrow. We've had Pop-tart (the hawk fightin' hen) inside in a bird cage covered up to get some peace and quiet. She has been getting better little by little everyday. Tonight after Church my wife noticed Pop-tart walking on her leg more, so she got her out while I read your suggestions. Her leg does look a litlle bruised but she walks on it a lot better than she used to, and reaches out with it to step up. I think she'll make it without intervention now, I just didn't know what to do because she didn't look like she was improving too fast. Thanks for the treat ideas, we just gave her some grape pieces and she loves them.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 9:59PM
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I hope she is okay now. I was wondering if there is a time when hawks are NOT a threat for this very thing happening? Meaning specifically when the chickens get to a certain size or are they always a threat?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 10:23PM
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