When it comes to caring for backyard chickens, it’s important to be prepared for injuries that may occur. From chicken fights to predator attacks, there are many ways that your birds can become injured. To ensure that your chickens make a full recovery from their wounds, it’s essential to have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand. This should include items such as sterile gauze, adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers, a thermometer, antiseptic liquids, and other essentials. It’s also important to have a dedicated area for injured chickens, such as a dog crate or pet carrier, with soft litter material. This area should be away from the main coop and easily accessible for frequent observation. If an injury is severe or the chicken is unlikely to survive, it’s important to have a euthanasia plan in place. Cervical dislocation is the most humane method of euthanasia for chickens.
When an injured chicken is found, the first priority is to move it to a safe location away from the rest of the flock to prevent further injury. Any active bleeding should be stopped by applying gentle, firm pressure to the wound. Wounds should then be thoroughly cleaned with water, betadine, chlorhexadine 2% solution spray, or Vetericyn Wound Care Spray. Adding a vitamin/electrolyte supplement to the drinking water for a couple of days can help with any shock from the injury. It’s important to keep the injured chicken hydrated, even if that means offering water by spoon or dropper. If the chicken is not eating independently after a few days, they can be fed by spoon, dropper, syringe, or tube. Pain control is also important for chickens, and as long as there are no internal injuries, an aspirin drinking water solution can be offered for a maximum of three days.
Finally, keep the wound clean and dry, and watch for signs of infection such as swelling and redness in the area. If antibiotics are necessary, contact a veterinarian or state Agricultural Extension Service’s poultry agent. By understanding the basics of chicken wound care, backyard chicken keepers can be prepared for any injuries that may occur. With the proper preparation and care, an injured chicken can make a full recovery and be back to their happy, healthy self in no time.