Backyard Chicken Wound Care Readiness by Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

Whether you have one backyard chicken or many, accidents and injuries can happen to them at any time. Since most of us don’t have a veterinarian to turn to for help caring for the health of our flocks, being prepared for the unexpected can make a medical crisis less stressful. It’s important to keep first aid supplies on hand and have a plan for a recovery space before you need them. Here’s what I recommend:

 

Emergency Wound Care Supplies

Every chicken keeper should stock a few basic first aid supplies and store them in a cool, dry, easily accessible location. Don’t be tempted to keep first aid supplies inside the chicken coop where temperature fluctuations can cause degradation and reduce their effectiveness.  The essential supplies in my first aid kit include:

  • Vetericyn Plus Poultry Care wound spray
  • Self-sticking bandages (such as Vetrap)
  • Non-stick gauze pads
  • Old towels (for protecting and calming a frightened chicken)
  • Dog-nail clippers (for trimming injured beaks, spurs, and toenails)
  • LED headlamp or flashlight (for nighttime inspections)
  • Rubber or latex gloves (for handling a bleeding bird)
  • Phone numbers of veterinarian and state’s animal pathology lab

 

Injury Assessment and Treatment

Injured chickens should always be taken to a safe location away from other flock members who could cause further injury. If the injured chicken is in shock or frightened, when approached, wrap them securely in a large towel to prevent them from further injuring themselves and provide them with a measure of security.

Wounds often look much worse than they are before bleeding is controlled and the bird cleaned up. Since feathers tend to hide wounds, placing the bird in a tub of warm water can help in locating all wounds and assessing their extent. Use a clean towel, gauze, or paper towel to apply firm, even pressure to bleeding injuries until the bleeding stops.  I use Vetericyn Poultry Wound Care Spray for cleaning and treating wounds 2–3 times a day until wound have fully healed.


Safe Recovery Space

In addition to having a handle on wound care supplies and urgent care, plan where you’ll bring an injured chicken to recover after being assessed and treated. A chicken recovery space should be located in a warm, quiet, predator-proof area away from the flock where you can check on the bird often. The enclosure should be large enough for the chicken to stand up and turn around in, and have an area where the chicken can relieve itself away from its food and water. A small rabbit hutch or collapsible wire dog crate work great, but even a towel-lined bathtub can serve this purpose for a short time. Line the recovery space with litter such as pine shavings or soft towels.

 

No Colored Cover-up Products

I do not recommend alcohol-based antiseptics or those with blue, purple or red dyes for chicken wound care. Chickens have superior color vision and colored dyes draw unwanted attention from other flock members to wounds on injured birds. Color-staining ingredients conceal redness, which is one of the first signs of infection, which is not helpful in monitoring the progress of healing. Try gentler, more effective wound-care products approved for use on food-producing animals such as Vetericyn.

Chicken Chick Blog

Affectionately known internationally as The Chicken Chick®, Kathy Shea Mormino shares a fun-loving, informative style to raising backyard chickens. Kathy is the founder and one-woman creative force behind her blog, The Chicken Chick®, and her wildly popular Facebook page and social media network. 

Original Blog Post: Vetericyn Animal Wellness