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  #1  
Old 05-02-2019, 11:39 AM
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Default How Much to Tell DCKs?

One of my daughter's pet chickens didn't get locked up last night and got attacked by something (probably owl or hawk). She got a bunch of feathers ripped off, some cuts, and (the main concern) a chunk bitten out of a couple spots. Not bad enough to have to put her down, but she's going to have to be isolated inside for at least 3 weeks. The DCKs know the birds because their pen is in the backyard play area. They'll notice she's not there while we're outside. Debating on how much to tell the Pre-k & school agers or if I should just wait until someone asks about Ace.

DW's going to be a wreck when she gets home from school.
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:47 AM
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I would wait till someone asks, then just say Ace got hurt and is being taken care of, but will be back later.
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:57 AM
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Last year we gave our broody hen chicks twice. The first time, they all got sick and died (we got them from a backyard breeder--not going there again).

We said as little as possible to the kids until they asked about it, then we broke the news in stages--that they were getting sick then later that they had died.

But we kinda warned the older kids upfront that not all chicks make it.

So we told them the truth but softened it as much as possible.

I feel like with having animals around the kids, it is important for them to know how things go, but on the other hand, delving deep into matters of life and death is more the parents' job.

As we seasoned chicken owners know, predators are going to hang around chickens. We've had hawks just sit during the day and watch... And then there are the wild minks, descended from mink farm escapees long ago... And the foxes. And the raccoons. And the skunks. And the weasels. Okay, I gotta stop now.
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Old 05-02-2019, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveA View Post
One of my daughter's pet chickens didn't get locked up last night and got attacked by something (probably owl or hawk). She got a bunch of feathers ripped off, some cuts, and (the main concern) a chunk bitten out of a couple spots. Not bad enough to have to put her down, but she's going to have to be isolated inside for at least 3 weeks. The DCKs know the birds because their pen is in the backyard play area. They'll notice she's not there while we're outside. Debating on how much to tell the Pre-k & school agers or if I should just wait until someone asks about Ace.

DW's going to be a wreck when she gets home from school.
Oh poor Ace! Imagine how frightening that must have been!

I've been watching Hostile Planet on NatGeo and it's fairly 'hostile' during some of the predator/prey scenes so I can't help but picture the poor chicken being attacked and fearing for her life!
If she's an egg layer, I bet she won't be producing anything soon.

Hoping she heals swiftly and isn't left with too many emotional scars.
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Old 05-02-2019, 03:02 PM
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I hope your chicken heals quickly and uneventfully.

BC, I couldn't ever sit through any nature show where animals get attacked. I've tried. Even the rescue story where they show a before and after journey of a rescue dog makes me cry. I'm such a wuss. I remember seeing a neighborhood cat catch a bird many years ago, dragged it into the bushes and you could hear the poor thing squawking. Sent shivers; could not stand it.
I know that's life. It's what animals do. But dang I don't want to see it or know about it. I even hate to see dcks needlessly kill bugs.

Dave, probably a dumb question but do you bring a chicken to a vet for something like that or you just research what to do and hope for the best?
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Old 05-03-2019, 04:08 AM
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Dave, probably a dumb question but do you bring a chicken to a vet for something like that or you just research what to do and hope for the best?
Not much a vet could do for her- you really can't stich up the areas. Our dog's vet doesn't work with birds. If she was a farm animal she probably would get put down because the treatment would cost more than she was worth ag wise and render the meat & eggs unusable. So for right now it's electrolytes, antibiotics, and pain reliever in the water and Neosporin on the open areas a couple times a day. Checked on her a few minutes ago- she's alive and has ate and drank. She laid an egg overnight, so her body's not in shutdown mode.

If she doesn't die from shock in the next 48 hours or pick up an infection she should be ok. Honestly she'll be 50/50 for at least a week. After that is just letting her heal alone so the other birds don't pick at her wounds.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:48 AM
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Not much a vet could do for her- you really can't stich up the areas. Our dog's vet doesn't work with birds. If she was a farm animal she probably would get put down because the treatment would cost more than she was worth ag wise and render the meat & eggs unusable. So for right now it's electrolytes, antibiotics, and pain reliever in the water and Neosporin on the open areas a couple times a day. Checked on her a few minutes ago- she's alive and has ate and drank. She laid an egg overnight, so her body's not in shutdown mode.

If she doesn't die from shock in the next 48 hours or pick up an infection she should be ok. Honestly she'll be 50/50 for at least a week. After that is just letting her heal alone so the other birds don't pick at her wounds.
Glad she's hanging in there...

How did your DD take it when she got home from school?
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Old 05-03-2019, 07:45 AM
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Glad she's hanging in there...

How did your DD take it when she got home from school?
Fair. We’ve lost birds before, so it’s something she’s dealt with before. The wounds are nasty looking, so that freaks her out. The hard part was convincing her that the basement (instead of her room) was the safest place for Ace because the dogs don’t go down there and it would keep her calmer and help her heal quicker.
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:30 AM
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Thought I'd give a quick update- Ace is still with us. Ended up doing a vet consult because I needed to double check something. It's funny how different meds work on humans or animals- a 5 pound chicken is getting the same dose of a pain med in a pint of water as an adult human. She's out of danger from shock, so as long as she doesn't develop an infection she should be safe. Letting her out of her crate a couple times a day to walk around the basement. She can walk around for about 5 minutes before she goes back over to the box like "I'm tired- put me back in." She's also gone from sleeping on the floor to roosting on a 2x4 a few inches off the ground, so that's a positive.

It's going to be a few weeks till her skin heals enough to put her back outside. So she's not out of the woods yet, but it's more likely she'll survive. Tough little bird.
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:42 AM
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Thought I'd give a quick update- Ace is still with us. Ended up doing a vet consult because I needed to double check something. It's funny how different meds work on humans or animals- a 5 pound chicken is getting the same dose of a pain med in a pint of water as an adult human. She's out of danger from shock, so as long as she doesn't develop an infection she should be safe. Letting her out of her crate a couple times a day to walk around the basement. She can walk around for about 5 minutes before she goes back over to the box like "I'm tired- put me back in." She's also gone from sleeping on the floor to roosting on a 2x4 a few inches off the ground, so that's a positive.

It's going to be a few weeks till her skin heals enough to put her back outside. So she's not out of the woods yet, but it's more likely she'll survive. Tough little bird.
Oh good! I am glad she's improving!

I saw this thread at the top of new posts and I was reluctant to click into it....I was worried the update wouldn't be positive but yay!

She's definitely a tough little bird!

Go Ace!!!
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:04 AM
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I thought the same as BC. But so glad your hen is doing better! Is there a chance, when she's able to rejoin her group, that the others will pick on her?
I remember a friend of my dd had a bunch of chickens and they'd all pick on this 1 poor chicken. Had hardly any feathers when I saw her.

But it sounds like she'll stand up for herself.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:51 AM
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I thought the same as BC. But so glad your hen is doing better! Is there a chance, when she's able to rejoin her group, that the others will pick on her?
I remember a friend of my dd had a bunch of chickens and they'd all pick on this 1 poor chicken. Had hardly any feathers when I saw her.

But it sounds like she'll stand up for herself.
Reintroducing her to the flock is easier than putting a brand new bird in, but it takes a few days. Basically you start out in the day putting her in an pen next to the group's pen, then in the group's pen fenced off by herself, then let them run the entire area together but bring her in at night, and lastly take her away from the group before they bed down and put her in the coop after they've gone in and calmed down. While this is going on I'll throw some of her bedding in the coop so they remember her smell. Like I said- that's a few weeks off. She'll be fine missing some feathers, but any open wounds and they'll peck at her till she's done for. That's why most chick brooders are supposed to use red heat lamps- so that if a chick gets a wound the others can't tell it's bleeding.
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:00 PM
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Reintroducing her to the flock is easier than putting a brand new bird in, but it takes a few days. Basically you start out in the day putting her in an pen next to the group's pen, then in the group's pen fenced off by herself, then let them run the entire area together but bring her in at night, and lastly take her away from the group before they bed down and put her in the coop after they've gone in and calmed down. While this is going on I'll throw some of her bedding in the coop so they remember her smell. Like I said- that's a few weeks off. She'll be fine missing some feathers, but any open wounds and they'll peck at her till she's done for. That's why most chick brooders are supposed to use red heat lamps- so that if a chick gets a wound the others can't tell it's bleeding.
I hope Ace continues to improve!
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Old 05-10-2019, 08:46 PM
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We had a similar issue with a hamster. I said the hamster was sick and needed to be alone to heal. The kids would ask daily about the hammy. They wanted to throw the hamster a party when he came back.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:14 AM
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Keeping y'all updated- Ace is doing better. Her neck/ back is almost completely healed and is growing new feathers. I have one small area where I'm watching to make sure it doesn't form an abscess, but it's probably just the bird version of an ingrown hair. She has full range of motion in her neck. She still doesn't like turning her head/ neck to the right, but it's improving. Under her wing isn't healing as fast as I'd hoped. But it is healing up and the skin is regrowing. So barring a surprise infection she's out of the woods and in recovery mode.

Letting her run around the basement more and more. Hoping to catch a picture of her when she hops up on DW's treadmill. I call it chicken physical therapy. She's building up more and more strength. I'm going to start putting her in a superyard on the front porch for a couple hours a day to soak up some sun.

Until the area under her wing heals over I can't put her back outside, but she's pretty much out of danger. I'm actually pretty surprised by how well she did.
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:34 AM
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Great update!!

Go Ace!!!
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:42 AM
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So nice to hear and I bet your dd is happy too!!
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:12 AM
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We had a similar issue with a hamster. I said the hamster was sick and needed to be alone to heal. The kids would ask daily about the hammy. They wanted to throw the hamster a party when he came back.
That is adorable!
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:13 AM
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@DaveA. Such good news about your chicken! It sounds like you took great care of her.
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:13 PM
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Ace is a warrior! Good to hear he is doing well.
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:16 AM
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Realized I never gave a final update- Ace is back outside and back with the group. Aside from having a slight limp she is doing fine and back to normal. No problems putting her back into the group. I'll post a pic from my phone here in a minute.
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:21 AM
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Ace (on the right) out side with her sister Tawny. You can still see her “bald spot” on the base of her neck from where she got attacked, but it’s feathering over. All in all it’s going well.

8BF90701-6D2E-47B0-BD4D-F9BC359057F5.jpg
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:58 AM
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Oh my goodness she is really cute!
I never thought I'd say that about a chicken but she IS cute!!
Glad she's doing so well!
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:20 AM
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So glad for the happy update and that she's now socializing again.
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