by B ARielle
Chicken attacked: I live in southern California and the smallest of our young hens (she's about 1 1/2mo) (barred rock) was attacked by something yesterday.
We were not home, I believe she squeezed out of her enclosure and our older cat who was out (usually hunting gophers) attacked her.
We have coyotes among other predators out here but the wound wasn't large or deep, and it looked like a smaller animal tried to grab her right at the start of her leg and she got away with some small punctures and a broken or torn leg.
The only wounds she has are the small punctures, which weren't bleeding at all when I found her and she was dragging her leg.
Today there was a small part of her leg that appeared blue like it was bruised. I'm thinking it's bruising from the attack but worried it may be some internal bleeding.
We've been told we could try to set the leg to help it heal somewhat normal but I'm not sure how possible that is at the point. And we've been told we need to treat her with penicillin for 5 days.
We were told with her age it's best to give her something oral and mix it in her water. The feed store only had two types, Penicillin G Procaine injection and Penicillin G Benzathine.
I can't find any information on the second as far as use in chickens.
My question is do you know if either of these two can be given to her orally and if not should we just give her the first one? Can the second even be used for chickens?
Also our rooster (also young, almost 3 mo like the rest of the hens) seemed to be picking on her yesterday. I thought it could have been him but it doesn't seem like he could do that much damage.
Do you think when she's healed and able to go back in her coup he will continue to do this or things will resume to normal?
We're keeping her in a box with food and water and a towel inside the house with us. She seems fairly relaxed as long as we are nearby.
Do you have any other recommendations on how to deal with this situation? I hear many people lose chickens to these sort of things and I'd like not to be one of them. Any help is appreciated.Answer
Poor little pullet! I would question the NEED for antibiotics, unless you are seeing signs of infection.
When choosing an antibiotic, find the one that matches the problem best and check the label for proper poultry dosing.
I personally prefer injected antibiotics for birds due to the nature of their digestive system.
Oral antibiotics have a tendency to directly kill off all bacteria, good and bad, which can destroy the ability to break down foods properly in the crop and all through the digestive tract.
Even injected antibiotics can
destroy enough good bacteria to result in poor digestion, but go more directly into the blood stream being absorbed into a big muscle.
So, oral, or injected antibiotic, it's always a good idea to give Probiotics, too, available at most farm stores.
Cleaning the wounds can be the best thing, using hydrogen peroxide or iodine scrub. Keeping them clean and applying a triple antibiotic ointment may be all that is needed.
If she shows signs fever and infection, loss of appetite and lethargy, you should give an antibiotic. I've found that giving electrolytes and vitamins can really help boost the immune system.
There are very reasonable products for chickens. Helping her own immune system to be stronger and fight possible infection is better, in the long run, for her general health, than giving antibiotics unnecessarily.
Animals are pretty smart about setting their own broken or fractured bones, if possible. When given the opportunity, in isolation, they will pose their body in the most comfortable position, which will set a bone that isn't too badly shattered.
A box with food and water very close will allow her to rest quietly and not have to move around much.
It's very common for other chickens to pick on the wounded or weak, since the weak may attract the attention of predators, which can threaten other flock members.
This is natural chicken behavior that cannot be changed. The wounded, ill or weak in a flock should always be removed and protected from this aggressive flock behavior, and allowed to heal peacefully.
The flock will likely just add to the stress of a weaker flock member, which may slow or prevent healing.
Without seeing the extent of this injury, I can't be sure the best course of treatment for your little pullet.
The previous advice you got is good, but possibly not completely necessary. You will have to decide what's best for her and what you can manage.
Keep her as clean as possible, maybe using shredded news paper for lining in her box and changing it often.
Some friends had one of their mature hens torn up very seriously by a raccoon. They kept her in a box in the laundry room for about a month and she healed well and was able to walk again.
Keeping a chicken in the house for that long may be a stinky thing to do, so setting up a safe and secure cage outside can work just as well.
Hope this helps and she recovers. I would suggest giving her a conditioning feed and healthy foods, plenty of calcium for healing bone and muscle.
Hopefully she will recover enough that the flock will accept her again. Just make sure she is good and strong and watch the response when you put her back.
If that cockerel continues to bother her, you might just take him out for a few days while she settles back in to the flock.Return to Raising Chickens Home Page