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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
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Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Chicken has been attacked by fox two nights ago, survived,

Resolved Question:

Chicken has been attacked by fox two nights ago, survived, but can't lift the neck.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Daisy's inability to lift her neck will likely be due to extreme discomfort and is not uncommon to see after a fox attack. Even without obvious puncture wounds, the force in which the fox can grab their neck surely leaves significant internal soft tissue damage, bruising, and pain. Furthermore, it is quite likely that the weakness is part of the general discomfort we can see after an physical attack. And in regards XXXXX XXXXX runny feces, this can be a stress response as well as a possible secondary infectious agent taking advantage of her elevated immune dampening stress hormones.

Now I am very glad to see that you have been offering water and trying to feed her. Supportive care (food, water, warmth) is very important for the recovery of any attack victim. Still further to this, we do really need to think about addressing the pain angle for her as well. Now in regards XXXXX XXXXX hen safe pain relief for Daisy, this is where it would be highly advisable to get her vet involved. This is because they can dispense hen safe pain relief (ie metacam +/- surgical level analgesia). Furthermore, it is worth noting here that you must avoid using human pain medications for her. Some sources will advise aspirin use for hens, but while this drug is not as toxic as some it has the added risk of being a blood thinner (and as I am sure you can appreciate this hen safe pain relief (ie metacam +/- surgical level analgesia). It is worth noting here that you must avoid using human pain medications for her. Some sources will advise aspirin use for hens, but while this drug is not as toxic as some it has the added risk of being a blood thinner (and as I am sure you can appreciate this would NOT be the time to interfere with her ability to clot her blood and stop bleeding in case she has any internal damage). So, pain relief really needs to be from her vet to prevent doing more harm to her.

Once pain relief is on board, you may find her more keen to move her neck and take food. Otherwise, you will need to increase your nutritional supportive care. To start, I do want to note that her water intake should be around a ½ cup daily). If she is taking the water on her own, then do consider offering water with electrolytes as well as plain water. There are readily available electrolyte solutions available on the market (ie. Vi-tal) or you can use Pedialyte or diluted Gatorade (diluted 50/50 with water). These will just get a bit more sugar and electrolytes in while we are working on getting her eating for you.

Feeding wise, try her favorite foods. Since she is likely to struggle to eat from a bowl herself, do try handfeeding her. You can also get Nutrical paste to supplement her diet (either mixed in food, water, or via syringe) which will provide extra calories or nutrition. Offer fresh foods, high in nutrition and water content like cucumbers, Romaine, grapes, melon, oranges, etc. Hard boiled eggs mashed shell and all are extremely nutritious and delicious to birds. Cooked brown rice and cous cous is good for them too.

If you are comfortable hand feeding your bird, you can make a handfeeding paste with handfeeding powder (ie Nupreen Hand Feeding Formula) and your electrolyte solution. Ideally, if you haven’t hand fed a chicken before, you should have your vet show you how to do this safely (as aspiration is a serious risk that is best avoided). Do monitor the crop by gently palpating to make sure its emptying into the gut, (normally 2-3 hours post eating). If it feels more like a hard tennis ball, that is an indication of dehydration and crop impaction or crop stasis. Give fluids and massage crop.

Overall, Daisy's signs are very suggestive of severe neck pain and likely soft tissue trauma from the fox's attack. Therefore, in this situation, it would be ideal to have her vet dispense appropriate pain relief here and check her over to make sure there are no wounds or further damage that need addressing. Otherwise, it is a case of handfeeding and supportive care while keeping her somewhere warm and quiet to give her a chance to heal and recover from this terrible attack.

If you don't have a specialist avian vet, you can check where you can find one at near you at the RCVS Register (HERE), AAV (http://www.aav.org/search/), Avian web (LINK), andhttp://poultrykeeper.com/poultry-vets

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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