How to Treat your Chicken's Wounds
By: Harper Slusher
Hawks have always been a major predator, especially in the winter when the pickings are scarce. Summers tend to be less eventful when mice and frogs are plentiful. Though, in the winter, a week seldom went by without a hawk attack or the disappearance of a chicken. Fortunately, quite a few chickens managed to survive the attacks, but all of them where wounded to some extent.
Chickens heal surprisingly quickly. I've treated a chicken that was attacked by a hawk and dropped. She barely managed to stay alive, with a broken leg and deep wounds across her back and legs. We didn’t even know she was injured because she was hiding in the coop for a few days before we found her. Though, after a few months, she recovered to health with only a limp. They seem to recover from even the deepest wounds. Their biggest threat is infection.
Before beginning to treat anything, I examine the chicken, checking for wounds. I find that with hawks, the wounds are normally on the neck, back and the sides of their legs. Other predators many target different locations.
Once I find all of the wounds, I remove any lost feathers that may be stuck to their wounds to make the area easier to clean. They tend to be a bit tricky to remove if they're stuck. Using a wet paper towel to soak the area seems to help alleviate this issue.
After this is complete, wash out the wounds with water using a cotton ball to wipe over the gashes. Next, I usually use contact cleaning formula to clean out the wounds. This works extremely well, especially on the dirtier cuts.
To finish off, I use Tea Tree oil to reduce the chance of infection. I apply this using an ear swab or cotton ball, depending on the size of the wounds.
If a chicken is severely injured, I separate them from the flock until they are healed enough to move around and not re-injure themselves and the wound is well protected with feathers. This is done to protect them from predators and the rest of the flock, which will peck at other's wounds. Within a month, most wounds are nearly healed!