Silver, the Silver Ameraucana cockerel, is anything but graceful with the ladies. In fact, he’s a downright bully. He’s great at calling out threats and is always the first to alert the crew of a cat or bird’s approach, but he doesn’t even lower a wing before jumping astride a passing lady and latching, almost viciously, on to the back of her head. He’s not allowed to touch Penelope or Rosie, the two highest ranked hens, but Phoenix is at the bottom of the totem pole. He must have grabbed onto her comb instead of the back of her head, and he tore a chunk right out of it.
We found her bloodied about a week before Christmas. I brought her inside, but she was almost shaking. She was purchased at the poultry sale, so she (and Little White) are not as comfortable with me as those who I brooded in the house. So, I tried to stress her as little as possible, assuming that she would probably heal up fine on her own. I just really wanted to make sure she was alright and keep her away from the rest of the flock for a bit.
I wiped her bloody little comb and face with sopping wet cotton balls. I was planning on putting her out after one night, so I decided to use Blue Kote to keep the others from pecking her comb. Thankfully, I had some which I purchased when creating a bit of a chicken first aid kit. I had purchased a spray bottle, but I didn’t want to get any in her eyes, so at the last moment, I covered her eyes with the thumb and forefinger of my left hand, with her comb between, and sprayed. Never again!!! (Blue Kote, as we know, dyes skin. Including the skin of your hand. I had to go to work the next day with a half-blue hand, and I use sign language most of the day at work! Not good.) Next time – gloves.
Anyway, I set her up for the night in a little cage with a cardboard box lined with an old hand towel as a nest, a hamster waterer, and a little bowl of food. Overnight, I noticed that she was wheezing a little. Turning on the light, I saw that she had some fluid around her nostrils. Her wound was running a bit with clear liquid which was running down her face. I wiped her up and used a q-tip to smear some Neosporin on her comb, which seemed to help.
I thought that the sudden change to warm, inside air was probably not good for her, so before work the next morning, I set her outside in one of the nest boxes in the coop to rest. When I got home, my husband was worried. She hadn’t been out of the little nest box all day, and he was worried that she had not eaten or drank. So, I went and scooped her up, and with something much more like relief, she came along back into the house.
After that, she was babied for about three more days. She ate like a queen, had twice daily smears of Neosporin, and was chatted up anytime someone had to use the bathroom, shower, or brush teeth. When she was all healed up, I put her back outside with her flock. Within five minutes, she was pecking and scratching about with her buddy, Little White, and she has been fine ever since.
And now, every time we come up to the flock while ranging, little Phoenix runs up to say hello, very much unlike the skittish little thing she was before. She’s earned a special little place in our hearts.