Chickens

Drama in the Hen House + How to Care for Wounded Chickens

Drama in the Hen House

Hey there! Today I’d like to share with you the bit of drama that occured here on our city homestead just before Thanksgiving.

Justin went out to close up the chickens (which involves shutting the door between their coop and run), and discovered that one of our chickens had been attacked and killed. We were shocked! What had gotten into the run, and how did it fit in there? We couldn’t see any obvious openings.

The next day, he discovered three wounded chickens. Again, we asked ourselves, what is attacking them? Justin then noticed a gap between the coop and the run of about three inches. He patched it right away to prevent any future attacks.

Patching the gap between the run and the coop

Separating Wounded Chickens

We did some research to figure out how to treat their wounds. The first step was to isolate the wounded chickens. We set up a dog crate in the run, loaded it with extra hay as well as food, water, and a nest box, and quarantined the wounded chickens.

Why did we isolate the wounded chickens? When chickens see blood, they can go a little crazy and peck at it. We didn’t want our wounded chickens getting pecked to death.

We only had one crate for the three wounded chickens, so we had to put them together. Thankfully, they did not peck at each others wounds. Perhaps they all had a sense of self-preservation? Perhaps it’s because their breed (Golden Comet) is a little more chill? I’m not sure of the reasons, but I’m glad they looked out for one another.

Quarantining the wounded chickens prevents healthy chickens from pecking them.

Treating Wounded Chickens

Once we had the gap patched and the chickens quarantined, we next turned our attention to treating the wounds. We knew that if we could keep them separate and their wounds clean, they would have a good chance at surviving.

We treated the wounds with warm soapy water and hydrogen peroxide. For beginners, it’s easiest to treat the wounds with two people: one person holds the wounded chicken and the other treats the wound. To start out, Justin gently picked up a chicken and held its wings firmly down against its body. I treated the wound with warm soapy water, followed by hydrogen peroxide, followed by drying it with a towel.

Given our busy schedules, however, we quickly learned how to do wound care with just one person. I picked up a chicken and held it close against my body with one arm. Its wings were pinned down between my thumb and my body. My fingers wrapped around its feet, keep them tucked up. Sometimes it took a few tries to get everything in position, and the chicken would flap its wings. But with practice it became easier.

Eventually, Justin picked up Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Poultry Care, which is a wound spray that makes treating wounds much simpler and faster. We would just pick up a chicken, tuck it against our body, and spray the antimicrobial directly on the wound.

Identifying Chicken Predators

I did some research online, and found this helpful article and chart that taught us how to identify the predator based on clues. Based on what I found, it was either a weasel or possum that attacked them. I learned that they can fit through an opening under one inch! Amazing.

Knowing which types of predators are in your area is useful information. It can help you ensure that the coop and run are secure by making necessary changes to protect the brood.

Learning From Our Mistakes

All in all, it was a good learning experience for us. We learned about being extra careful about any openings to the chicken coop and run. We learned how to treat wounds. And we learned that we could take our city homesteading to the next level when called upon to do so.

I hope you found this post helpful! Let me know in the comments if you have discovered a predator that attacked your chickens, and what you did about it.

Take care, and see you next time.

Rebekah

“Thanks!”, says the now-healed chicken