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Injured hen
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Zenia    Posted 02-13-2005 at 08:04:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
After two days/ nights of working 14 hours, starting at 2:30 AM I was kind of spacey and left the chickens out, and out the dog out when I took my son to a drs. appointment (he has been sick all week, off & on coming from both ends,mostly at night, and all of us have colds, so I have not slept much in a week!)

Anyhow, the dog got one of my hens, tore out all of her tail feathers and a good number of her back feathers. She doesn't seem to have any puncture wounds, just a very raw and bloody tail. She had just filled back out from moulting, and I was expecting she would start laying again any day now. She is almost two years old. She was in shock when I got home yesterday. By the time I got some peroxide from the store, it was late & I didn't douse her because I did not want her to get cold in the night. This morning she is hiding under the hen house, cooing when I call her, but not coming out. She is walking fine now, though. Questions:

Should I treat her raw areas with peroxide? Or iodine? Or anything else? I am not going to take her to the vet. I cannot afford veterinary treatment for chickens, if she were suffering to the point of not making it I would put her out of her misery. But I think she'll make it, with home care.

Will this trauma make her eggbound, if she was getting ready to lay? How will I know? She has just recently plumped up quite a bit, after moulting.

She's an arucuana, normally healthy & happy hen.

The dog is in the dog house, but I can't blame him for my mistake. He lays off the chickens when I am around, I say no when he ventures near them so he doesn't. I put the dog on the other side of the cyclone fence & he was watching me care for the hen after. My friend said he thought the dog looked sorrowful and contrite, I doubt that, I think if anything the dog may be tempted to finish the job next time. I don't want to get to the point of tying a dead chicken around his neck, I am going to assume if he can get at them he will get them - but anyone have ideas for training him not to? He's still a pup, almost 6 months old. On his best behavior when I am around, on his worst when I am not.


Bkeepr    Posted 02-13-2005 at 12:45:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
Your hen should be ok. I'd suggest you could probably just leave her alone. If you really want to treat: We had a similar case, but with actual wounds, and treated with an antibiotic ointment like neosporin...that'll protect the wound and allow it to heal.

About the dog: he'll most likely continue chasing hens as soon as he sees you're not around. Keep an eye on him, catch him when you can. We trained our cats to stay away from the chicks using squirt soon as they'd get near a chick, they'd get squirted with water. After awhile, our cats just give the chickens a wide berth because I guess they figure they squirt water.

good luck,
Tom A

KellyGa    Posted 02-13-2005 at 08:16:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
I just use a foaming antibiotic (BandAid makes it) for animal boo boos, less messy than neosporin. When something got a hold of one of my buffs neck, she had some puncture wounds, and all her feathers missing from her neck, but I just kept that on her, and she is fine, getting those feathers back in nicely. I also used it on my dogs feet. One time she paced back and forth on a deck worrying herself over the kids being in the pool to the point it tore her pads off. I had to treat and bandage them, and I used that.

I have trained Tip early on not to bother the chickens. They can all be standing, crowded on the steps when she comes back from using the bathroom, and she will avert her eyes and nose through them. The only time, and I mean the only time she is allowed to herd them is when I say. She had to help me get them in when we had some bad flooding, she did a fine job. If they need to get in the house early, she will round them up and put them in for me. One thing though, my dog is a border collie, and they are herding dogs. A lab is used for retrieving and hunting a lot, so, it may be that his breeding won't allow him to be left alone with them. Tip is exposed to them from the time they are little, to get her used to the idea that she is supposed to be good to them.

Zenia    Posted 02-13-2005 at 08:38:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks - I'll go to Target or the feed store & see what they have. I have some antiseptic spray with grapseed oil but I think that might sting.

My dog is an Australian Cattle Dog, also a herding dog, but tough. They are bred to herd cattle, and nip at the heels whereas if a sheep herding dog did that she would hamstring a sheep, right? I think Border Collies have much better control. They are smarter, too, I think - although ACDs are pretty smart. My dog is a very predatious (sp?) type. He has all manner of nasty habits, loves rolling in dead things, eating poo of every species... He's a mouthy thing. He obeys me well, but no one else, so when I am not around he gets into mischief. Sigh. He has been around the chickens since I got him at 8 weeks, and he doesn't bother them when I am around - ditto the cats. But when I am not, it's another story. He's a rascal! He's almost 6 months old now.

PS Eggbound info    Posted 02-13-2005 at 08:19:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
Eggbound is when your hen can't pass or lay an egg. The pressure of the egg there at the vent may stop her from passing manure as well. It is bad news, undetected or left untreated it has a high fatality rate and the complications can lead to the hen having to be put down even if the egg is passed. I don’t mean to scare you but it is important that an eggbound hen is recognised early and treated so here is a bit of information on the problem.

Factors that can lead up to eggbinding and their prevention are:

*Pullets starting to lay too young - Try and avoid exposing pullets to more than 14 hours of light per day or lengthening hours of light prior to 20 weeks of age. Obviously not possible at some times of the year for those who have their flocks in natural light.

*Laying hens too fat – Watch the hens weight and reduce or remove high calorie treats like corn if necessary. Keep them fit, the more exercise they get the better.

*Hypocalcemia - The lack of free calcium in the blood. Free calcium is needed for proper smooth muscle contraction and the lack of it can mean that she does not have the muscle power to expel the egg. Don’t confuse this with the calcium that she needs to create the egg shell. Hens with fine egg shell quality can still have a hypocalcemic crisis.

*Egg shell too rough or egg too large – Hens that have not rested from laying can get chronic big rough eggs and have problems with them. Inducing a molt (see treatment) may help them as would extra calcium supplementation. All hens occasionally lay big or rough eggs and those can’t be prevented.

*Injury or swelling at the vent or in the reproductive tract – Sometimes a hen ‘works up’ to being fully eggbound by having a bit of trouble passing an egg each day. Pain and swelling increases each time. Noticing the hen is in distress would be difficult but if you catch it before she gets fully eggbound treat her with ASA in her water and Preperation H in her vent.

Recognition is very important, the earlier the better. The hen often stands or moves in an odd way, usually with her tail held very low and her rear end tucked between her legs. Sometimes they just sit around looking ruffled, but often it is obvious the bird is straining to pass an egg. If you feel her abdomen you may be able to palpate the egg and she may let you know that is the painful area.

Treatment begins with separating the hen to a quiet warm area. Sometimes a heat lamp over a makeshift nest box is all they need. Warmth relaxes the hen so that the vent can dilate more allowing the egg to pass. A warm water bath is a great option. Hens that are egg bound and placed in a sink of water will immerse themselves squatting down and look like they are nesting. This is helpful in diagnosis as an ill hen will usually stand in the water wondering why you put her there or get out. Often the hen will pass the egg into the water bath. Make the water as hot as you would like to take a long soak in if you were sore from overwork the day before.

The hen can be given Calcium Sandoz. It is a liquid calcium supplement that most drug stores carry. Give 1 cc to a standard and half to a bantam by mouth. Add 1 cc to each quart or litre of water that she has while in treatment. Even if the cause is not hypocalcemia in this hen’s case it will not hurt her to have more calcium.

If in doubt as to if the hen is eggbound a few vet sites recommend separation, warmth, warm bath and calcium to all hens in lay that seem distressed. Since treatment is only successful if done early and none of these thing can harm her even if she is not eggbound up to this point it is better safe than sorry.

If treatment so far has not helped her out you need to get some oil, mineral oil or vegetable oil, or a personal lubricant like KY jelly and liberally apply it to her vent and your finger and put the finger into her vent very gently and upward in direction. Downward would get you into the digestive tract. If you reach an egg try to get some of the lubricant into the area and sweep your finger past the egg and help the lubricant get all around the egg. Give the hen a rest and perhaps another chance to pass the egg herself depending on her condition. Hens go into profound cardiovascular collapse over being eggbound and she may not be able to put in the effort to try anymore. If not place your well lubed finger in there again and if you can get past the egg and sweep or traction it gently out. If you can’t do that the last resort is to gently break the end of the egg and allow the contents to pass and the shell to collapse. It is vital that all of the shell be removed from the hen. Be very gentle as she will get internal cuts from the egg shell. If you have to do this place the hen on antibiotics following removal if she survives.

Following passing or removal of the egg keep the hen in a warm quiet area separate until she is out of shock and back eating and drinking well.

Complications from being eggbound can be swelling, bleeding or prolapse of the oviduct. Some swelling is normal and the hen can be given ASA (Aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid) at the rate of 5 of the 5grain ASA tablets to each gallon of water. Preperation H can be placed in the vent as well. If the oviduct prolapsed gently wash it off and lube it up well with oil or KY and very gently place it back pushing inward and upward. There will be a lot of swelling after so add Preperation H to her vent and ASA to her water. Bleeding that continues past that day should be treated with antibiotics.

Reoccurrence is common. Hens that have been eggbound often take a rest from laying and that healing time is important. If she does not take time off and seems to have continued problems you can induce a molt by keeping her in only dim light for less than 10 hours a day and darkness for the rest. Laying will shut down after 4 or 5 days and a molt in another 2 weeks. If you put her back in regular lighting conditions after the laying stops she may not go into a full molt and resume laying in a week or 2. I have done that to give a hen some healing time and it was successful.

(taken from

Wendy    Posted 05-16-2005 at 11:35:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I did a stupid thing. I believe my hen had prolapsed oviduct yesterday. It was white and long and slimy, and thinking that it was part of an egg, I pulled it out of her. She was sitting in a nest on top of a raw egg, but I did not see a shell. This is the first time I had seen something like this, so I regret I may have harmed her. Will she survive? There was no bleeding. I will check inside of her and see if shell is there and lube her up if need be to get it out. What else can I do?

Zenia    Posted 02-13-2005 at 08:41:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
Excellent information! I am going to keep this handy! My Barred Rock has been laying huge, rough but fragile eggs. Got to keep an eye on her, too.

Dell (WA)    Posted 02-13-2005 at 15:34:49       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Zenia..........fragle eggshells NOT ENUFF CALCIUM. Feeder MORE OYSTER shells (free choice) besides what is automatically included in complete layer ration..........Dell

Zenia    Posted 02-13-2005 at 18:07:19       [Reply]  [No Email]
they have a huge tray of oyster shell, plus more on the ground. I give them laying pellets, I forgot the brand. Plus they forage, and I had been giving them lots of corn & safflower. I think she really liked the corn too much and was not eating the pellets so I have stopped giving corn for awhile. She has been foraging more, lately.

My injured hen is still in hiding, but I gave her a pile of live earthworms and she gobbled them up. I think she'll be OK.

KellyGa    Posted 02-13-2005 at 17:40:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yeah, forgot about you mentioning that. Dell is right. What kind of feed are you giving. I always have used the Purina Laying Feed for 6 months or older hens. It has always been a good old time feed. Oyster shells can be found at the feed store too.

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