Lesson 765 – Violet is in trouble

Today’s post was meant to be a celebration. A way to announce that Violet has been fully integrated into our flock with little or minimal damage.  It was going to be a post celebrating the power and tolerance of the flock.

And up until last night, it certainly looked like that was how it would turn out.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and our family spent much of the afternoon in our backyard surrounded by our foraging chickens.

After several days of being kept caged in the hen house in order for her flock mates to get used to her, I thought it was time for Violet to join the flock. Oh sure, the larger and older birds would occasionally peck her but being the very clever bird that she is, she would run over to me and hide from the others behind my feet.  Violet knew that this mama hen was looking out for her.

Violet was so very sweet that one of our visiting neighbors even got down on the ground to play with her.

“That’s one nice bird,” he told me while gently stroking her chest.

As the afternoon wore on and the sun started to set, I felt very comfortable putting Violet in with the others to roost together for the night.

“How much damage can be done overnight?” I thought to myself.

I put her in the coop and I know I put her in because I remember her standing in a corner fending off what looked to me like very normal pecking behavior from the seniors.

But this morning, I couldn’t find Violet. I checked the rafters, I checked the corners, I overturned boxes and twigs.

No Violet.

I checked the exterior of the hen house to see if there was a tunnel and maybe a predator had gotten in last night.

No Violet.

I checked the yard for a suspicious clump of feathers.

No Violet.

It was like she had simply disappeared. Our little Violet was gone.

I turned the chickens out to the fenced-in yard for the day and I went back into the coop. Like you do when you misplace something in your house, I kept going back to the spot where I had last remembered seeing Violet.

“She’s got to be here,” I thought.

And then I saw it. A few black feathers poking out of a cinder block, this is a dramatic re-creation –

2013-05-13_09-32-47_734

No chickens were harmed in the taking of this photo.

I had found Violet. I scooped her up and held her against my chest. She was trembling and was not trying to get away.

That should have been my first clue.

After telling Marc that I had found her, I set up a safe area for her outside in her old play pen. But when I put her down, I realized that my arm was wet. I inspected Violet and that’s when I saw this.

My poor baby.

My poor baby.

Our Violet had most definitely not been accepted as a member of the flock.

All of the sudden, this little chick went from being what I thought was a very frightened chick to being a critically injured bird. Right now, Violet is in our chicken ICU with a severe, life threatening injury. She needs all the help we can give her.

 I found her wire cage and immediately put her inside it. She required more than just playpen protection, Violet needed 100% protection from the others until she has healed.

I filled her water dish and added a few crystals of electrolytes for added healing support. I then went to the Tractor Supply to get more medicated Chick feed (she’d been on regular chicken feed for about a week) and I’ve put her back on the medicated food until things get (much) better. I also got a concentrated seed cake, high in fat and vitamins, for her to pick at to ensure she gets a constant supply of  high value calories.

All of her lovely tail feathers are gone and the skin around her vent has been pecked open very deeply. If I can keep any infection under control she might have a chance. But if there is significant scaring around her vent, it might impact her ability to push put an egg. Only time will tell.

For now, Violet is isolated and has protected access to her own food and water. I’m going to let her wounds heal a bit and then will begin her on warm butt baths in an effort to clean the area. As soon as I put up this post, I’m going to go out and spend some time with her.

This should have been a happy Mother’s Day post where I talked about how all of my chicks are tolerating each other and are getting along.

Instead, it is not.

***
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two. 

35 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Charlie, Life Lessons, Personal, The Family, Uncategorized

35 responses to “Lesson 765 – Violet is in trouble

  1. Georgeanne

    Poor Violet.

  2. Mel

    I had a similar issue with one of my Cornish X hens. They are meat birds and she will not get to egg laying age but she healed quickly and infection free from very deep wounds around her vent. It has changed the way she evacuates a bit and if she wasn’t a meat bird I don’t think she would deal with egg laying well but do know that healing is possible.
    Wishing Violet an uncomplicated, full, and speedy recovery.

  3. Squidly

    I haven’t had to use it yet (fingers crossed), but everyone seems to swear by Verericyn to keep the infection away and help heal deep wounds. Good luck to you and Violet!

  4. June

    My chicken was attacked by my daughters dog, her whole back of her neck was torn and her waddle gone. I have been using vetemycin gel spray on her for a week and she is eating and almost back to her happy self. I swear this stuff saved her life !!

  5. Carla Barnes

    So sorry! Hoping for the best for you and little Violet.

  6. brenna

    I’m so sorry. 😦

  7. Mar

    Violet is in my prayers Wendy…😦

  8. Jeremy

    I found that Solarcaine worked for me. The other hens had opened up White hens wing, and were continuing to eat her until I sprayed her down with Solarcaine. It helped with infection and the Hens did not like the taste anymore. They would still mess with her but not in the same spot. It gave her the time she needed to heal and go through the rest of the initiation.

  9. I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to Violet! I’ll be thinking about you both and wishing her a full and speedy recovery!!

  10. Sonja Linman

    Hi There-
    So sorry to hear about Violet.:(
    Above, you have some great ideas for healing.

    For the future, the process for reintegration can be tough. I try to add at least 3 chickens at a time to the flock so they have buddies. I also ingrate during the day and give them respite at night for quite some time. Finally, if it is super rough for one or two, I will put them in a cat carrier or dog carrier at night in the coop for awhile so they can integrate but not get injured.

    And, truth be told, I have a sweet white silkie named Luna who will probably never integrate. She thinks she is a lap chicken, and her buddy Ginger tries her best to protect her. I just let the two of them sleep in a separate space in the larger coop. They’re kinda needy, but I guess I’m willing to be “co-dependent” in this case.🙂 This is where the farmer meets the mommy in me….

    Good luck- I love your blog.
    Sonja

  11. So sad . . . but I have an intuition that Violet will pull through. And scar tissue can stretch (tear & re-heal) to accomodate eggs, especially since they start out with teeny eggs.
    I sure would baby her though, even if the other chicks eventually accept her (as I’m sure you will!), just in case pushing out eggs causes a little bleeding . . .

  12. Poor Violet! Hope she recovers quickly. 😦

  13. We have a flock of Welsummer (35)pullets but I decided I wanted one rooster. He is about a month younger than his girlfriends so he started out in a cage with the rest of them. He stayed there day and night for three weeks. Then we started letting him out for a short time while we were there. His out time got longer until it was for the whole day while putting him back in at night. He did not want to go back in at night. After a months more time we let him stay with his flock but the big girls still chase after him. They have not drawn blood and he is growing quickly and soon will be bigger than they are and entering his manhood. Then the girls will run away from him. I think Violet will be OK and eventually be able to return to the flock. It just takes a long time.

  14. Laura C

    Sorry about your bird – our dog attacked one of our hens and we put neosporin on the wound, and she healed nicely and is recovered 3 days later.

  15. Sarah

    I have a hen we now call Baldy. At about 12 wks of age, Baldy and her rooster hatch mate went to roost one night and the next morning I found Baldy with her comb completely pecked off and skull exposed. We kept her isolated and the wound clean until it healed. She’s one of my best egg layers.

  16. Diane

    A couple of years ago the flock attacked a very young rooster and almost killed him. His head was open from right above his eyes to about half way down his neck, I could see his skull. He was in shock and didn’t move for about a day so I put water with a dropper in his mouth. I cleaned his giant wound with peroxide and water and put Neosporin on it to keep it moist and protected. It took about 2 months for him to recover and he never had feathers on his head again. He grew up very big and strong and the strangest part was the skin that grew back was dark red like his comb. The small part of his comb that was left draped over his eye like Elvis and he was a ladies man. He was killed protecting his girls about a year ago and I miss him every day. His name was Smegal.

  17. Danielle

    Sorry to hear about your little Violet. I had a hen that was spurred by a rooster that got a little too randy. She had a large tear right behind her wing. I put on a product called new skin (a spray on type of liquid bandage) and that helped heal her up nicely. website: http://newskinproducts.com/en/Products/Liquid_Bandage.aspx I found it at my local Target (they probably have it at Wal-Mart too). I also found that putting some Blue Kote on it will hide the redness that chickens like to peck. I found that at my local feed store in the section for horses. Be very careful with blue kote it stains very badly…worse that a sharpie to get out of clothes.

  18. mary beth putnam

    Oh my god Wendy! What a horrendous ordeal. I have only integrated singles as older girls – 8 mo. +. A lot of bickering but they were all big enough to make a stand and thank heavens there was no blood shed. Ill never understand why domestic chickens are so vicious. Healing vibes from Ann Arbor for violet – and you. Mary Beth

    Sent from my iPhone

  19. Oh Wendy – I am so sorry. I hope Violet will be okay.

  20. Debi

    So sorry to hear about your poor Violet. Well, you live, you learn. I have had chickens for about 5 years now and In that time I have lost chickens to predators, parasites, mean roosters, bees, old age (?) and my own foolish ideas. With all that, you learn how to cope with terrible situations that you can hopefully pass on the information to help others. Anyway, I have found that peroxide helps most wounds to heal quickly and prevent infection from developing. I also employ a mixture of coconut oil and tea tree oil as an ointment to help bald areas on a chicken to heal and re-grow feathers. The tea tree is antiseptic and cell-regenerative. You can also use it on scaling feet and legs to kill the mites that cause that problem (eventually they sap so much blood from the host chicken that she can die from anemia). Also try feeding her lots of green medicinal weeds (dandelion, nettle, cleavers, burdock, wild lettuce–you get the idea). They will help boost her blood and immune system so she can recuperate faster. I hope you employ some of these helps as they have maintained my chooks without having to spend a lot of money.

  21. My Maxine had a hole pecked in her back down by her tail that was so big and deep it looked like the others were trying to eat her. (I know, gross) I didn’t think she would make it. I brought her in the house, kept the wound clean and packed it with Neosporin (without pain reliever) for a few weeks and she healed up nicely. I thought she wouldn’t grow feathers back but she did and she gives me a lovely egg about every other day. Here’s hoping Violet makes a full recovery. Chickens can be very resilient.

  22. Rebecca Wood

    I used Bluekote on the wound and when I integrated her into the flock, I put Vapo-rub on the tips of the feathers around the wound. It didn’t touch the skin or wound ares but the other girls sure didn’t mess with her.

  23. Melanie Dunn

    So sorry! Hoping she will heal quickly and make a full recovery.

  24. Patricia Harris

    I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to Violet!

  25. I am so sorry for Violet and you her human mama—please keep up informed of how she is doing—-those of us who love our chickens like you do will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

  26. Norma, my black jersey giant hen, had her back torn open this spring by flock mates (altho she had been living with them peacefully for over a year, since she was a chick.) I tended the injury and made her an apron to cover the gaping wound, but that was not especially successful. She hid in the barn for weeks until she was somewhat healed and then they attacked her again, much worse, with a gaping wound. I treated her with bacitracin and kept her in the house for a couple weeks, then tried to reintegrate her by keeping her in a large wire dog kennel inside the coop until she was mostly healed. I sprayed her back with bluecote and now her back is healed and feathers are growing back. She kept away from the other hens for a few weeks but now has chosen to rejoin them and they aren’t bothering her. I greatly appreciate the tip about the Vicks Vaporub!

  27. Carmen Jones

    i got 2 small pullets around 2 months old all from the same group of about 30 i had them about 1 week then decided to get another one from the same group, well i put her in with them thinking they would remember her but they instantly started pecking at her we had to put her in the cage we keep inside the big pen until we could see how things would go, then i immediately called my friend that gave me the small hens and asked if i could get another so that way they would be 2 introduced and not only one which would get pecked on, so we got the other one and then let the two new ones in and then the original two were a little confused and didn’t know which one to pick on first, this worked and the 2 new ones stuck together, now every thing is good and the pecking order has been established. Better to introduce more than one .

  28. Barb

    Oh, poor you and Violet! I had been thinking about the chick and hoping all was going well for her while you were away. Praying for her poor little body to heal.

  29. Min

    oh, dear. kisses to wee V. xo

  30. jacqueline

    I am so sorry to hear about Violet…that poor little thing…please keep us posted

  31. Pam V.

    Hoping violet is better today. Some people never get it …. We love our “girls” !!

  32. diane foss

    Thinking about you and Violet. So sorry this happened. Let me know if there is anything I can get you. Love, Diane

  33. Would highly recommend Bag Balm on deep wounds. We have been using this product for generations on injuries and many of our fellow farmers do the same. The thickness of the product keeps it on wounds longer than most topical antiseptics. Hope she heals up well!

  34. Debbi

    I am just heartbroken at what has happened to Violet!!! Nature can be sooo cruel! will keep little Violet in my prayers….

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