Badly torn skin around neck

Posted by: Hennie Mavis

Badly torn skin around neck - 12/27/08 09:19 AM

I have a pidgeon-sized chicken who returned to the coop last night with most of the skin on her neck torn loose (back of neck mostly). It was still attached by about 25%, but was dangling in front like a bib. We believe the damage to have been done by a large rooster, as all other hens are heavy-breed & showed no damage.

I brought her inside, examined carefully -- miraculously, there appeared to be no damage to the thin membrane or actual muscle of her neck. She was barely bleeding, only a little bit. The skin seemed to be all there, just badly detached.

Wasn't sure what to do, so I did this: Put her in sink, carefully cleared sticky feathers from the inner side of skin using tweezers (did not pluck, just moved them out of wound); used a big eyedropper to flush skin flap & her exposed neck muscles w/lukewarm salt water (had a splash of hyrogen peroxide in water, too); carefully wrapped her skin back around neck as it should be; wrapped her neck securely but not too tightly in a gauze bandage, sealed w/tape. I was tempted to try a stitch or two skin-to-skin, as I think she would have stood for it even without anesthetic, poor thing, but I didn't.

Short of buying chicken medicine(s) or going to vet, are there any other home treatments I could perform that may increase her chances of survival? Using things I may have here in my kitchen or medicine chest? She is a favorite of a 6 yr. old boy, who is interested in her recovery.

She is in a "hospital box" in my office, so she's warm, has pellets & water. I gave her a slurry of yogurt, milk, & scrambled egg this morning, to see if she would eat, and she did -- 6 or more slow but large beakfuls. Based on this, can anyone hazard a guess to her chances? The 6 yr. old is a reasonable young man (understands these things happen), but is eager to know if she stands a chance. I would normally dispatch a bird with this grave an injury, so I'm not sure what to tell him, frankly.
Posted by: Chickie Mom

Re: Badly torn skin around neck - 12/27/08 09:56 AM

Super glue. I swear it! See the topic under "Saved a chicken from a possum". I wrote a pretty lengthy note about our hen who was torn onen from neck to legs, guts hanging out and all! Our vet told us super glue, and it worked.
Rest, water, good food when hungry.
Posted by: Jocelyn

Re: Badly torn skin around neck - 12/27/08 10:17 AM

Super glue is the non sterile version of surgical glue and works well. A few dots here and there, as chickiemom said, and she should heal fine. You could gently wash the torn skin if any matter (exudate) collects and smear with honey twice a day. You probably won't need the bandage after 2 or 3 days. I had a young hen, an older pullet, attacked by something, all the top of her head with no skin and the top third of her neck bare, but with the skin hanging, still there, just not really attached. I stuck it up in place and kept it washed once a day just with clean water. She will have some white feathers where she was injured, but it will be hard to see without looking closely. Her odds are good, so tell your son she will probably make it. smile
Posted by: Uno

Re: Badly torn skin around neck - 12/27/08 03:41 PM

Just to emphasis Jocelyn's point...HONEY!

I know a guy who had a hiking accident and glued a hunk of his scalp back down with superglue. The superglue would very likely secure the skin in place. Dab it on, do not smear it on. But honey will do the job of preventing infection.

Honey and glue. Who needs veterinary school? :rolleyes:
Posted by: Chickie Mom

Re: Badly torn skin around neck - 12/27/08 04:04 PM

And you know what else? It works for people too. Don't think I am abusive or negectful, but it works on kids too. Alot easier than holding a kid down for stitches or shots. Of course, if the blood is pulsing out, I would recommend the ER.
The negative part of chicken antibiotics is it makes the eggs a no-no if you sell them. The antibiotics are carried in the egg, so they technically can't be sold as au natural or antibiotic free if you medicate the hens.
Posted by: Hennie Mavis

Re: Badly torn skin around neck - 12/27/08 07:16 PM

Thanks, all! Honey as an ointment, like Bacitracin or Neosporin? How on earth does honey reduce risk of infection? But hey, what have we got to lose at this point. I have honey at home, so why not?

I don't have super glue, but I do have some (finger)nail glue somewhere, which I believe is basically the same thing. I could surely use it to patch along the seam where I was tempted to sew her. Excellent idea, since nail glue is certainly used against human skin. It's late and she's sleeping now, so I will unwrap her gauze tomorrow, clean her again gently and apply the glue to patch her. Then the honey. Hope I can be neat about it! The glue seems a great idea, since I did observe that her "gauze turtleneck" is certainly worrisome to her.

The 6 yr. old is my friend's son. He will be happy to know that she has a good chance. I hoped she might, despite the severity of the injury. Midwinter last year, I had 2 pullets who were picked in the haunches, thru the skin and well into the meat, before I noticed. I had them in a big "hospital box" for a month, after which I gradually reintroduced them to the flock. With the onset of spring, my usual free-range practice resumed and the picking stopped completely. The two birds are fully recovered. But it was not their necks, and oh my, this was/is quite severe.

Yes, I am very reluctant to medicate. I do occasionally sell eggs as overflow to neighbors, but mostly, I personally don't wish to be ingesting eggs or meat from medicated birds. I buy organic feed & free range them also, so it seems counter-productive to medicate. Besides, we have other pets to run up our vet bill -- and they have spending caps, since they don't have health insurance, ha!
Posted by: Uno

Re: Badly torn skin around neck - 12/27/08 10:08 PM

If you find the honey is too stiff or thick, warm it a little in the microwave, just a little, until it's runny then drizzle it on the wound. Rubbing in thick honey will only damage any new, delicate tissue.

Honey is antibacterial. It will not cure an infection once one has started, but it will prevent one to a great extent. In the future, honey is the first line of defense. And like you said, you have it in the house! And yes, fingernal glue will do the trick.
Posted by: Hennie Mavis

Re: Badly torn skin around neck - 12/28/08 07:41 AM

OK, so I examined my patient this morning, and turns out, I don't need the glue... she has already pasted together, just from my repositioning loose skin & bandaging on the night of the attack, so that's that. I did a warm saline-water wash, coated any scabbing or ooze with honey, and applied a fresh collar of gauze around her neck (which she hates). That's the best I can do. I will remove the gauze in a day or so, and go from there. She did eat again today, pellets mixed into some yogurt to entice her.

The 6 yr. old has been told that I've done my best for her, and now the rest is in God's hands. He is praying for no infections (so am I!!). Thanks, everyone for the advice!
Posted by: Shoofly

Re: Badly torn skin around neck - 11/27/12 07:19 PM

I have had similar injuries due to predator attacks and have always used honey and super-glue as my first defense. It really works. I would also put her on a round of antibiotics however. I had a hen we got all back together and a week later, she developed a terrible infection. Such a shame, we ended up losing her to that rather than the severity of her injury. Good luck! M