If Your Chicken is Wounded and You Don’t Know What to Do, READ THIS.

By Kelcie Paulis, Chickenlandia Presidential Advisor

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Wounds are bound to happen at some point in your chicken-keeping experience. Whether it’s from fighting, predators, something in the environment, or simply a mystery, chickens can be a bit thin-skinned. Luckily, chickens are also surprisingly resilient creatures. I’ve seen them heal from all manner of injuries and wounds. Most minor wounds can heal quickly with a little TLC and some savvy First Aid. If your chicken is wounded right now and you’re trying to decide what to do, let’s break it down in a few easy steps.

Note: In Chickenlandia, we aim to use natural products whenever possible. Some of the suggestions below aren’t totally natural, but in an emergency situation, it’s really important to have options. To see The President of Chickenlandia’s mostly natural first aid kit, click here.

First Aid Kit from myfavoritechicken.com

Step 1: Wash Your Hands

Recently, we’ve learned a lot about how germs spread. To prevent new or further infection to your chicken or you, make sure you wash your hands before and after treatment.

Step 2: Stop Bleeding

When you have discovered a wounded chicken, it’s important to assess the damage and clean the area. But you must stop any active bleeding first. Some wounds, like combs, waddles, and toenails, will bleed far more than others. I use Kwik Stop to stop the bleeding but any styptic powder will work. If you don’t have any styptic powder in your chicken first aid kit, don’t worry! Cornstarch or baking flour works as a good alternative. Sprinkle the powder over the area and press it into the point of bleeding. Allow time for it to clot and dry before cleaning the wound.

Step 3: Clean the Wound

Cleaning the wound and surrounding area is important for both preventing and healing infections. If you do nothing else, don’t skip this important step. It’s the best thing you can do to help a chicken with a surface injury. 

It’s not a completely natural product, but a good old soap and warm water rinse with classic Dawn Dish Soap is my first step in wound cleaning. It is safe and gentle, and for small surface wounds you can simply use it with a washcloth. For larger scraps, I rinse the area right in the sink, while being careful not to get the chicken completely drenched. You don’t want to give them a full bath and stress them out. Just get them wet enough to clean the dirt and germs away from the wound. 

Step 4: Apply a Topical Treatment

There are lots of good topical wound treatments that are safe for use on chickens. Here are my top recommendations for this step: 

VeterycinVeterycin is my number one go-to product for wound care and cleaning. It kills 99.9% of germs. Veterycin is incredibly safe and has amazing disinfecting and healing properties. It can be used for virtually anything, anywhere on the body. Veterycin is readily available for purchase at most pet or feed stores, as well as online. And don’t worry about which formula to buy; while they make many species specific labels, all Vetericyn Plus products are safe to use. Generously spray on and around the wound. Repeat daily throughout healing.  

Raw Honey – We like to lean natural in Chickenlandia whenever possible. Raw Honey has great antibacterial properties. It also helps things heal up faster. Any Raw honey will do. Drop on a glob and gently spread it across the wound. Make sure your chicken is separated from their flock when using honey topically.

Hydrogen Peroxide – Many people have this readily available in their home first aid kit. It is a mild antiseptic used on the skin to prevent infection. You can use this on chickens for minor cuts, scrapes, & burns. However, peroxide should not be used on puncture wounds or bites. I apply it to the wound area with a cotton ball. 

Neosporin – Just about everyone has a tube of Neosporin around the house. As long as it doesn’t have any painkiller in it, it’s perfectly safe to use on a chicken wound. Since it’s a triple antibiotic, it can help to prevent or treat infection during a critical time. Simply slather it on minor wounds and rub it in gently.

Blue KoteBlue Kote is another one of my go-to products. It is an antiseptic, germ-killing, fungicidal wound dressing and healing aid. It works to protect animals against common infections and pus-producing bacterias. Blue Kote is for surface wounds and abrasions, but is also effective for fungal infections and ringworm. Blue Kote contains Gentian Violet, which is an antiseptic dye that dyes the area a dark blue color. This dye is very helpful for “covering up” a wound and preventing picking from their flock mates. Anytime I notice a bird with a wound that is being picked, I apply a spray of Blue Kote to the area (be careful, it WILL dye your hands blue for a few days and it does stain clothes).

Step 5: Repeat

Depending on the severity of the wound, you will likely want to repeat the cleaning and topical treatment process for as many days as necessary. For larger wounds I treat 2x a day for the first 3 days and then once a day until they are on the mend. 

Little Stinker after surviving a Hawk Attack

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my chicken need stitches?

Most surface wounds do not need stitches, but some may be large or deep enough to require closure. I usually don’t worry about stitching wounds that are smaller than a US Quarter. If you feel your chicken may need stitches and the wound is still fresh, seek a veterinarian for sutures. The open edges of wounded skin will dry up in the first few days of healing, thus leaving the skin unable to be remedied by stitches. If this is the case, continue to clean and treat. Chicken skin has amazing healing powers and it may still heal up on its own.  

Should I use a bandage?

This really depends on the severity of the wound, but I generally do not bandage wounds. It often bothers the birds more than it helps, causing them to pick at it or scratch it off entirely. It’s also nearly impossible to effectively bandage some wound locations. I do use bandage wraps when dealing with Bumble Foot or Splay Leg. If you do feel the need to bandage a wound I recommend Vet Wrap self adhesive bandages

Should I separate my chicken?

Many wounds will require separation from the flock for a healing period. For small surface wounds I may just apply a layer of Blue Kote to dye the area and prevent flock members from picking at it, but for larger, more exposed wounds, I recommend temporarily separating. A smaller, quiet space will help the chicken destress and heal.  

Stress Management 

Most wounds will be caused by an event that was likely stressful for the chicken. Managing stress is an important part of wound care as well. I recommend following the R.E.S.T Method for situations where a chicken has been through trauma. You can also give your chicken some Rescue Remedy and/or the homeopathic remedy Aconite in a 30c potency to help calm them down. Click here for more on using homeopathic for chickens. For more information on the R.E.S.T. Method, click the play button below! 

A warm & quiet place to rest with some electrolytes and a tasty meal can do wonders for the body’s ability to heal. Once your chicken has successfully recovered they can be reintroduced to the flock and go on living a happy life. You may need to slowly integrate them, as illustrated in the video below.

Disclaimer Notice

The content of the Welcome to Chickenlandia website, blog, vlog, and all social media are for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Dependence on any information appearing on the Welcome to Chickenlandia website, blog, vlog, and social media sites is entirely at your own risk. Please do your own research and make your own informed decisions regarding the health of your chickens.

35 comments on “If Your Chicken is Wounded and You Don’t Know What to Do, READ THIS.”

  1. I have a hen with a dislocated leg from my rooster riding her to much. She’s in good spirits and striving to live. I tried to wrap it but nothing wouldn’t stay on. I’ve got her in a kennel by herself. She isn’t putting any weight on it. She trys but not good. It’s been three days. What can I do for her. I’m thinking if I can wrap her foot up maybe that would help her. Not sure. Or should I put her down???

    1. Hi, Charlotte! I’m sorry to hear about your hen. Poor thing. Have you tried getting the leg back in place? I’m wondering if there are any YouTube videos or other information online that would show you how to do that. If possible, your best course of action would be to take her to a licensed veterinarian. I would also be giving her Arnica 30c in her water daily until she shows improvement. It’s a homeopathic that you can find in a little blue vial at health food stores. https://welcometochickenlandia.com/blog/homeopathics-for-chickens/

  2. What to do when my chickens throat was injured and small intestine was also injured. Food which eat are getting into stomach. what to do please reply

  3. Great information. Do you know if the hen healer tastes bad if the hen or other hens were to try and peck? I have tried to find information on it. My hen was scratched by a hawk talon we believe. I heard the scream of my hens and ran outside just in enough time to see a hawk on the other side of the run trying to get away. All the hens had run and hid. I inspected them all and it looked like the hawk just ripped the skin. The wound was not even bleeding. Just wet from maybe the fat under the skin. The wound is between her wings and the middle of her back. I cleaned her up and then put vetericyn plus on it followed by hen healer and then tried vet tape but she got that off easily. She sleeps inside at night since the incident Saturday afternoon but I let her in the run during the day with them. Since this incident, I have not allowed them out of the run. We did perch an owl on one corner and another one is on the way that has flapping wings. Getting a scarecrow as well. I don’t want to lock them up forever in a 9′ x 27′ run because of this. I feel bad not letting them scrubble in the grass and find grubs and whatever else they like to nibble on. I hope the other hens don’t pick at the blue stuff and cause damage so I check on her several times a day to make sure. I will also take my lunch break and let them out for an hour to graze but I will stay out there. I don’t have a rooster. The girls are 14 months. I don’t have a dog. I am hopeful the crow and owls will keep the hawk away.

  4. You article gave me the courage to treat a horrible wound on the back of my hen. Almost 3 in in diameter.
    I washed it with warm water and regular soap, removed dead tissues and even applied the sutures (I am very good at sawing) to close the gash. My dear Baba Yaga did not mind at all, laying quietly all wrapped up in a towel. I might rename her Princess after she heals.
    I should of done it a long time ago, but was too afraid.
    Thank you!

  5. My chicken was attacked by 2 dogs because she flew out from her coops and one of her cuts is a bit deep. on back left side. i try to clean but she protests and looks back at me and gets up and moves. I’m scared to try again and help her. Taking her to vet tomorrow. First time chicken owner so I did try to clean with Peroxide but only sprayed that one time on only a small part. don’t know how i can hold her and wet her without her trying to fly and get up. 🙁

    1. Hi Lucy. Sounds like you did the right thing by making her a vet appointment, I hope everything turned out okay for her. The fact that she was resisting you cleaning her wound shows that she still had a lot of energy and fight left in her, which is a good sign. If a problem like this should arise for you again; I like to recommend gently wrapping the bird in a towel, lightly covering their face with it, as they tend to calm down more when they cant see. Another good trick with a feisty bird is to wait until after dark and sneak in to grab them off the roost; chickens are most subdued in the dark.

    2. Hi Lucy, how did your chicken do? Was she able to recover? My chicken got a dog attack today, and is in the same situation. I treated her with Veterincyn and is taking her to the vet tomorrow, but wondering about her chance to survive and recover since she’s lost most of the skin around her bottom. We’re quite worried about her.

  6. My hen got attacked by another and now her comb is all cut up and she has a bald spot on her head with 2 wounds (smaller but noticeable) since this has happened, 4 of my other girls keep going after her. Is this because they can see she is injured? It’s getting ridiculous and now she won’t leave the coop because she’s scared. I did purchase pinless blinders but still have a few days till they arrive. Currently the biggest bully is in jail… should I have seperated the bullied one instead?!?! Help!

    1. Hi Ann, Sorry that I didn’t get to this comment sooner. Yes, They were mostly likely picking at her because of the wound. Chickens can be so relentless when they see a weakness. For any future problems like this, I like to recommend Blue Kote spray to coat the wound. It will dye the wound area a dark blue color, making it less noticeable to the other birds in the flock. It can help a lot. You did the right thing by removing the bully for a bit, sometimes that can help reform the flocks pecking order. I hope they were able to work it out!

  7. Greetings, my hen recently got bit by my dog on accident and she is starting to develop an odor. I see no wound but under her wing, her skin is turning yellow and feathers are falling out. I use alcohol to clean it and apply some purple solution my mom had for pet wounds.

    1. Hello. I’m sorry I didn’t get to this sooner! Odor can be a sign of infection so I would have suggested keeping an eye on the wound area, cleaning it daily, and applying a wound solution. Sounds like you did all the right steps to help her heal. I hope she was able to heal.

  8. Hi a neighbor hood dog attacked my chickens this morning and bit some feathers off and tore some skin. Little bleeding what can I do for them they are still fairly young but really spooked and just laying down on their feet unless I move them

  9. Thank you! My pen was raided by a Wiesel, we lost two hens. One of the girls was still alive but was bitten on the neck, I’m glad I saw your instructions first they’re very clear and to the point. She’s doing good now about an hour later she has enough energy to stand on her own i currently have her in my arms on the couch wrapped in my boyfriends long johns for warmth lol.

  10. I have a an almost 3 month chick in my lap, sleeping with watery breathing after an older hen attacked her so badly that she’s practically a raw chicken ready to be cooked for dinner (aside from neck and head feathers). This raw injury is over her entire back, and most of both her wings. Because she’s so small, this is only three by 4 inches but for her it’s her whole body. I used neosporn and she’s about 12 hours post injury, but i worry if i should simply take her to the vet. She’s fighting hard! She even tried the small perch (only 2 cm off the ground) to sleep on, but she’s so wobbly and unstable that she can barely stay on it.

    1. Hi Tori. I’m so sorry to hear this happened to your chick! Poor little thing. You did right to bring her inside and treat with neosporin. Was she able to recover?

  11. Hello. We recently came home to find one of our hens near death with her head from the comb to the shoulders picked and void of skin. (I believe it was from the rooster) The blood had dried on her but she was cold and in severe shock barely able to hold her head up when roused but would drop her head and close her eyes shortly after. I have brought her into the house next to the fire place inside a pet carrier. Water and food inside. Its her 3rd day inside now. She was still not eating or drinking so I brought her outside to see if she would try to forage while being next to the other chickens. She did show interest in the feed I sprinkled out and to the water but it was as if she couldn’t get her head down to eat or drink and after 15 minutes she was exhausted. I brought her in and with a medicine dropper been giving her water which she gladly excepted but tired quickly. Tonight I mixed some of the chicken food in warm water for more nutrition. She seemed to enjoy it but still extremely weak. Only able to stay alert for a few minutes at a time. Im certain she was badly dehydrated and ive got some catching up to do to rehydrate her. Ive not washed her wound as I’m afraid it will shock her at this point and kill her. Hoping the dried blood will act as protection until she not so fragile. My question is.. is there anything I can add to the water besides the chicken feed to give her more nutrients? I seen pedialite was ok. Could I mix rice water for more starches? At this point she is struggling to eat solid foods so I’m not certain just how to go about getting her over this hump until she has the strength to eat and drink on her own. Also… she can’t live in a per carrier inside my house.. at some point she will go back to the chicken house in her own water tank to keep separated from the others. If she has no skin on her head……. im wondering how that stays clean?
    Any advice or tips would be appreciated.
    Thank you for your time..

    1. Hello Kim. I am so sorry I did not see this sooner. Sounds like you did everything you could to help her pull through. These are all the same step I would have recommended you take. Poor girl. Did she make it?

  12. I have a baby chicken that was recently attacked by a mongoose. I’d like to know what to do because it can’t walk at the moment.

  13. Came home to find our Rhoad Island Red out I’m yard. Wind blew open cage. A dog had several opened a large wound on her back. It is not bleeding but approx 6 inches around open to the meat with puncture wounds. Can not find any vet to help. She is indoors. With warm bedding and quiet. But it does not look promising? It has been cleaned best I could. Any suggestions? Thank you
    In meantime I’m still calling around for a bird vet.

  14. Advice? Please no hate! I’m heart broken. A dog got to my turkey, she mostly lost feathers but does have a gash on her shoulder. I cleaned with hydrogen peroxide then applied neosporin. She is such a sweet girl and I want to do what I can for her. Should i put a top bandage on it? Is there anything else I can do or just wait and hope for the best?

    1. Hi, Casey! I’m so sorry I didn’t get to this sooner. I hope your chicken is doing okay! I wouldn’t put a top bandage on it unless you could be sure she wouldn’t mess with it. How is she doing now?

  15. Hey , I have a baby chick and my brother ran a scooter over it he broke it’s leg and I’m literally crying what do I do for it pls help ASAP

  16. We just had a raccoon attack last night and one hen was stripped of her back feathers and skin, but is still alive and walking/eating/drinking. We’ve separated her and understand there is probably not a lot we can do, but thought it was worth asking about. Her entire back is open to her flesh, but there is no active bleeding. She’s in shock, but no other symptoms. Any chance of survival? Thank you

    1. Hello. Sorry to hear about your poor hen! For open flesh wounds it is most important to keep them clean and watch out for infection as it heals. No active bleeding is a good, I have seen hens heal from similar wounds. Survival can depend on her level of shock, the damage, and so many other factors. Good luck and I hope she is able to recover.

  17. Hello a young chick…6weeks or so old was attached by the other older hens and ran out. We have washed her a few times and put antibiotics in her water. She is eating drinking and 7 days on still not walking on her left leg. Shecan stand on it curl her toes but shakes and then sits down quickly after a few sips of water or food. She closes her eyes and rest we assume pain. Then goes back to eating, drinking and pruning. She churps all the time at me for company…what can I do about her leg? Just give her time…she’s I a birds cage but I put her on the grass for 30mins a couple of times a day.

    1. Hello. So sorry to hear about your injured chick. Sounds like you have taken all the right steps to give her the best chance at recovery. If you are able to take her to a veterinarian, they may be able to confirm if the leg is broken or not and treat as needed. But if you are unable to seek veterinary care I would recommend continuing as you are doing to give her more time to heal. If she is still eating and drinking that is a great sign. I hope she is able to recover!

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