There is nothing more devastating than finding one of your flock on the ground bleeding from an open wound. How you handle the situation will go far in determining a positive outcome for your bird.
Chickens are attacked in one of two ways. Males fight each other using spurs, feet or beaks and females will peck at another bird repeatedly, ultimately drawing blood. Predators will leave terrible wounds using teeth, claws, beaks and talons.
Wounds can either be on the surface or the worst could be puncture wounds that go into internal organs. Wounds close to the skins surface can be doctored at home but a deep wound will need the attention of a veterinarian.
If you find a bleeding chicken with a cut under the skin, it is important to act quickly. Wrap it up in a towel and remove it from the rest of the flock. Bleeding, red wounds are attractive to other chickens who will want to peck at it. If the puncture wounds are deep, keep the chicken quiet to prevent shock.
For shallow wounds, clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide. You can use styptic powder to help stop the bleeding or apply pressure with your hand. Wounds can also be cleaned with Betadine, Chlorhexadine 2% solution spray or Vetericyn wound care spray. Dakin’s solution is good for deep or dirty wounds. Dankin’s solution is made by adding one tablespoon of bleach plus one teaspoon of baking soda to one gallon of water. This needs to be made fresh daily.
After the wound has been cleaned out, you will want to use a a product like neosporin (don’t use the kind that contains pain relief) or triple antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. If infection does set in, clean the wound 2-3 times daily. Contact a vet for antibiotics. Redness, pus or heat indicates infection. If it is warm out, apply a wound dressing to prevent flies from laying eggs in the wound.
Keep your patient separated from the rest of the flock in a dog crate or dog kennel for better observation. Cage cups can be hung from the side for food and water. Always make sure that your bird is eating and drinking. Offer water on a spoon or dropper if they can’t drink on their own. Add electrolytes and vitamins to the drinking water to help with shock and recovery. Hand feed if necessary with spoon or dropper. Add water to food to make a mash or try a bird formula if needed.
Chickens do feel pain but will go to great lengths to not show it. If you feel that pain relief is needed an aspirin drinking solution can be offered. Add 5 aspirin (325 mg X 5) tablets to one gallon of water for up to 3 days. Only use if there are not internal injuries.
When scabs have healed over, you can consider returning her to the flock. Remember that any redness will cause other hens to peck at the wound so make sure that she is fully healed. Because she has been gone for more than a few days, you will need to reintroduce her back to the flock as if she is a stranger to them. How To Integrate New Chickens Into Your Flock is a good refresher.
For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at VJPPoultry.com . VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul. We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available. Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.
Victoria J. Peterson