Chicken Chronicles: An Update


Thanks to all of you who have asked about Lady Bird's condition after her horrible ordeal.  She spent the first day dozing and looking miserable, but by the next day she was eating, drinking, pooping, etc.  Her wound still looks terrible, but it is dry and clean.  We aren't sure what's going to eventually grow over this gaping hole in the back of her head—will she get back skin and feathers?  We don't know.  But at the moment we're just monitoring it for infection and keeping her away from the other chickens. She is more or less herself–and thank goodness she can't look in a mirror and see how awful she looks!

Our other chick, Ida, is now spending the days outside in the run, inside a wire enclosure that I built to keep her safe from our murderous adult hens.  I used a combination of chicken wire and a dog pen I bought at a pet store, with a tarp over the top to shelter her from rain.  She comes in at night because it's still pretty cold outside, but the idea is to let her get exposed to the chickens gradually through the bars of this enclosure. We have to keep her away from Lady Bird so she doesn't pick at the wound.

Of course, I only wish I'd done this in the first place–it cost maybe $75 in materials but I would have gladly paid that to avoid this terrible attack Lady Bird sustained. 


  1. I’m so relieved to hear she’s doing OK, Amy. I hope she grows some skin and feathers back…

    Thanks for the tip about the dog pen and chicken wire. I’ll remember that if I get new chicks and have to introduce them to the flock.

  2. I’m glad to hear she’s doing well. Don’t second guess yourself. It wasn’t your intention to hurt her.

  3. Thank you for your post. Being worried of the same thing and reading about Lady Bird, I constructed an introduction area this weekend for my 4 chicks. It’s a pen inside the more-adult hen pen. They can see each other and get used to each other, but no actual physical interaction until the 4 chicks are big enough. Since I didn’t want the 4 chicks in my laundry room for that long, I decided on the pen within the pen. Thanks for the motivation, Lady Bird. You may have saved some other hens from injury.

  4. Please don’t beat yourself up. I think that most of us have done something like this at one time or another, and you’ve saved others from doing the same.

    I’m glad that Lady Bird is recovering, though I worry that she might have a problem when you reintroduce her to Ida. Any chance you could get another dog crate so that they could watch each other?

    You may wish to get some anti-pick lotion and keep it handy. The best stuff I found was gooey and red. We’d squeeze some on the injured part,some on an undamaged area, and some on a few of the other birds. The chickens would peck at it, it would taste bad, and they’d quick pecking at bloody-looking stuff. It’s gross, but it worked.

  5. Yea for you and Lady Bird!Don’t beat yourself up, you didn’t know. Now YOU and WE know so other chicks will, hopefully, be spared the injuries. Life is a learning experience. ;>)

  6. Poor Lady Bird. It is amazing how they spring back from a near-death experience. We had even dug a hole for our rooster, T. Boone Chickens, about a year ago after an eagle (we think)pierced both his sides in an effort to carry him off. But after a long recovery, he’s a big, healthy looking rooster again–albeit with a bit of a limp.

  7. Since Lady Bird is a pet, I have sympathy for you and the poor animal. I do find your post enlightening about chickens. I had a friend who worked on her aunt’s chicken farm as a teenager (a small operation). She said that the chickens would peck at each other – even free range. So your story does not surprise me.

    It’s the realities of the species.

    I wish the woman who wrote this book, “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals” (by Ruby Roth) understood about chickens better before publishing her indoctrinating propaganda. On the cover, there are chickens, pigs, dogs, turkeys and cows. If I’m not mistaken, chickens gladly eat insects, worms, slugs, and snails. Don’t those count as animals?

    And pigs. Those certainly do not belong on the cover. Remember the movie, “Snatch”? Here’s the quote that comes to mind…

    “…They will go through bone like butter. You need at least sixteen pigs to finish the job in one sitting, so be wary of any man who keeps a pig farm. They will go through a body that weighs 200 pounds in about eight minutes. That means that a single pig can consume two pounds of uncooked flesh every minute. Hence the expression, “as greedy as a pig”….”

  8. Go Lady Bird! I’ve not had much success with chickens pulling through, I’m impress by your doctoring skills!!!

    I’m amazed at how mean the sweet chickens can be. Even though I keep mine in the coop constantly for 6 weeks before even considering allowing them to mix, they’ll still get chased.

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