Treating wounds, cuts and abrasions - first aid for organic poultry

As I had to deal with the aftermath of a cockfight today, I thought I'd share the treatment. In my experience 'the female of the species is more deadlier than the male' and whereas cockerels tend to fight in a non-contact ritualistic manner, hens tend to have quite violent and even bloody battles. There is however, one exception and that is when you have brothers fighting over the same hen.

The feathered femme fatale in question - Sugar Plum creating havoc in the Hen House.

Fortunately this doesn't happen very often, in fact the last time was almost a year ago and it was also two Cochin brothers albeit over a different hen. 

First Aid - Shock

First things first, remove either one or both cockerels from the field of tourney. Psychologically, it is better to make a very positive intervention, as in this way neither of them will feel they have either lost or won. The next step is to ascertain if either or both of the combatants are suffering from shock. In an extreme case symptoms will include, a loss of balance or an inability to stand, heavy breathing and/or shivering. It will do no harm to give both of them a home-made electrolyte, which you can find here. Without this essential 're-boot', a bad stress attack can be serious and the bird may die within 24 hours of onset. You may need to remove your bird into a quiet place to assess if he/she is suffering from stress. Most birds, like humans, are affected in the aftermath of the situation, whereas during its progression they often appear to be coping.

Déjà vu, this is Hastings after a fight with his brother Cuckoo in October last year...

..and this is Brandy Snaps today feeling sorry for himself after a bust up with Snowball.

First Aid - Cleaning Wounds

The whole area is firstly cleaned with pure warm water using a piece of organic cotton wool. In the case of Brandy Snaps his one eye is stuck closed so I open it by carefully applying a pad of cotton wool soaked in water.

Treating wounds with essential oils 

The treatment I use for all wounds, cuts and abrasions is a warm bowl of water containing the following essential oils: five drops of True Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) two drops of Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). Lavender oil has properties which include being a powerful skin healer and regenerator, relieving anxiety and is also an antiseptic. Tea tree's properties include being a very strong broad spectrum antibacterial as well as a great support for the immune system and it is also an anaesthetic.

As these are oils they naturally float on the top of water but I use my cotton bud to break up the drops and spread them across the surface.

I then gently pat the solution on to the affected areas, making sure to keep away from the eyes and ears. You will find that your bird should now be relaxed and probably close the eyes automatically. My birds are very tame, although Brandy Snaps is usually not this domesticated but he's in need of TLC and reacts accordingly.

Follow-up treatment

Organic pure virgin coconut oil is a magical substance, which contains lauric, capric and caprylic acids, these have wide ranging properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities. It is a great support for the immune system and has both healing properties for the skin and promotes the regrowth of feathers/hair. We use it in cooking as well as in making cosmetics and I always give it to the birds when they are off-colour or stressed. 

Brandy Snaps gets some to eat....

..and he gets some smoothed into his injuries.

...and a big hug! 

Now if you'd like to, sit back and watch how Hastings coped with his treatment.

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful then think about sharing it using the icons below and please feel free to ask questions, comment or share your own experiences of treating your flock.
Thanks for dropping by and all the best,

© 2013 Sue Cross


  1. I don’t have the True Lavender and Tea Tree oils, only coconut!

    1. Hi there Lili, sorry to be so late in replying, for some reason Blogger decides not to inform me of comments! If you have an urgent request, it is a good idea to put it on Youtube Pavlovafowl, as I get immediately informed. However, I do check on my site everyday and in future will make a point of checking incoming comments!
      Coconut oil is a good antiseptic but for potential future problems, I would try to get hold of these two Essential oils, they are my standard first aid kit. Furthermore, they also have pain killing properties, with lavender being a superb calming agent for humans and poultry. Hope everything went well and all the very best from Normandie, Sue