I knew immediately that she'd played a game of tag with Pip and lost. Her tail feathers were all pulled out, as were some wing feathers, and she had some obvious puncture wounds on her back (above). I brought her in but didn't quite know what to do. I called some friends (BIG thank you to Annie and Terri!) and posted a pic on a chicken group that I'm a part of on Facebook. Here's what I did:
- My friend and neighbor, Terri, gently cleaned off Minnie's back while I held her. Terri used some gentle liquid soap and a soft wash cloth.
- Minnie appeared to be fairly stunned. How do I know this? Usually the hens will let us hold them for maybe 5 minutes, some much less. Minnie snuggled up in my arms on the couch for 3 HOURS.
- We kept her inside at night only, in our little dog's crate, so we could keep an eye on her.
- Every morning, we took her out to the coop. We kept the other hens in the chicken run with the trap door closed, so that Minnie and the girls could still be "together but separate." Why? Because hens will go after a chicken that is hurt or appears weak, sometimes pecking them to death.
- We did this for 3 days, each day gently cleaning Minnie off and watching for any signs of infection.
- On the fourth day, we let Minnie mingle with the other girls while we kept a watchful eye on any bullying behavior. A couple of the other hens did chase her around and would try to peck at her backside where she was injured, but we shooed them away.
- 5th day -- everyone is back to normal, no weird behavior at all.