©2010 Shanna Ohmes
Have you ever heard the term “hen-pecked”? If you’ve ever been around a flock of chickens, you know what it means. Chickens (and baby chicks too), are relentless in pecking at bugs, grubs and other insects. But they also go after anything with blood, including another of their own kind! Even if it is just a tiny spot of blood, one chick will peck at it, then another and another, and before you know it, that tiny wound can be a huge problem.
At the first sign of a wound on a chicken, it should be taken care of immediately by removing the chick from the flock. The sight and smell of fresh blood, even from a small wound, will cause the other chicks to start pecking.
Soon, the whole flock will be pecking on at the wound, making it bigger and the situation worse. I have seen cases where the wound had enlarged down to the bone when it wasn’t treated early. If the chick or hen is not removed from the flock and cared for until the feathers return, the flock will continue to peck.
After you’ve removed the chick, you need to clean the wound by rinsing it with fresh water. Put the chick or hen in her own cage with fresh water and regular food. Adding fresh dandelions, Lamb’s Quarters and crushed raw garlic to her feed will boost her immune system and fight infection.
Next, make up an herbal salve to apply to the wound. You can make your own salve using olive oil and beeswax as a base. Measurements aren’t really necessary, just mix up small batches that you can cover the wound with. Add a pinch of yarrow powder or a few drops of yarrow essential oil to the oil mixture. Then stir in a drop or 2 of lavender essential oil, until the salve is smooth. You can apply this salve a few times a day until the feathers return.
Remember, an open wound on a chicken is an invitation to not only cannibalism, but also infection. It is better to prevent it, than to treat a more serious condition afterwards.
Here is a source for those herbs to use to make the herbal salve.