A Vet’s Guide To Investigating Blood On The Chicken Feeder Or Water

If you own a chicken coop, blood on the chicken feeder or in the water can cause concern. You may immediately think that one of your pet chickens may have been harmed in some way. This vet’s guide to investigating blood in these areas will help you to find the source of the problem.

Expert Insight From My Vet

When noticing blood on chicken feeders or water, it’s crucial to first assess the amount and check for injuries on the chickens, including feet, beaks, or combs.

Blood can result from fights among chickens, especially during pecking order disputes or from accidental cuts on feeder hooks. Injuries to the beak or comb should be treated with a powdered clotting agent or antimicrobial sprays like Vetericyn to prevent infection.

Additionally, environmental factors or interactions with other pets or wildlife can cause injuries. For significant injuries or unusual symptoms like misshapen beaks or excessive bleeding, immediate veterinary care is advised.

Monitoring and possibly separating injured chickens from the flock can aid in their recovery while ensuring they continue to eat properly post-injury.

Here’s a comprehensive table outlining the possible reasons for blood on chicken feeders or water, along with suggested actions and considerations:

Possible ReasonsSuggested ActionsConsiderations
Accidental cuts from hooks or metal partsCheck feeder for sharp edges; assess and treat injuriesRegularly inspect and maintain feeder to prevent accidents
Regular checks for sharp objects, secure environment from predators, behavioural managementObserve flock dynamics; apply clotting agent or antimicrobial spray to injuriesUnderstanding flock dynamics can help minimize fighting; ensure adequate food access
Direct trauma, fights, picking at feathers of other chickensTreat with antimicrobial spray; separate aggressive birds if necessaryMonitor for underlying behavioral issues; provide enrichment to reduce boredom
Fights, especially among roosters determining the hierarchyApply antimicrobial spray or protective wound dressing; consider separating birds if injuries are severeCombs are prone to injury during fights; treatment prevents infection
Torn in fights or by environmental hazardsTreat injuries, consider vet visit if severe for temperature regulation and healingWattles play a role in cooling; injuries may affect temperature regulation
Picking due to new flock dynamics, ear mites, or liceTreat with Neosporin or appropriate medication; separate if due to flock dynamicsEarlobe injuries may indicate parasites or bullying within the flock
Blunt force trauma, interactions with wildlife or pets, environmental hazardsProvide immediate care for visible injuries; vet visit for severe or unusual casesEnsure chicken coop and environment are safe from predators and hazards; monitor interactions with other pets
Abnormal beak appearance, excessive bleeding, misshapen combVet check for potential underlying issues like liver disease, cancer, or fungal infectionsEarly detection of abnormalities can prevent serious health issues
Regular checks for sharp objects, secure environment from predators, behavioral managementRegular coop maintenance, secure fencing, provide enrichment activities to reduce boredom-induced behaviorsCreating a safe and stimulating environment reduces the risk of injuries and promotes healthy flock dynamics
This table combines the potential causes of blood found in areas frequented by chickens, the recommended immediate actions to address these issues, and broader considerations for ensuring the ongoing health and safety of the flock.

Blood On The Chicken Feeder

If you notice blood on the chicken feeder, the first thing that you should do is assess how much blood is there. Do you see one or two drops of blood or does it look like a lot? You can check the hook or any other metal parts on the feeder to make sure the birds have not cut themselves accidentally on it.

Check your pets for any injuries. If you see blood on their feet or any other part of their body, check those areas carefully after gently cleaning off the blood. Don’t make assumptions about where the blood is coming from. A powdered clotting agent should always be kept at the ready if you have pet chickens and this can be applied to any injuries they sustain on their beak or comb during a fight.

Reasons for Blood On The Chicken Feeder

There are different reasons why you could be seeing blood. In some cases, it could be due to fighting. Sometimes if you have young birds, they could be trying to figure out their pecking order. When they get to the feeder, there could be a bit of fighting and in a fight, the comb of a chicken is one of the easiest parts of the body for another chicken to grab.

A rooster that’s trying to show he’s the boss could also be pecking at the other chickens when they get to the feeder. You don’t usually need to interfere with the pecking order. This is something that your pet chickens will need to sort out on their own.

The strongest chickens will be on top and the weaker ones will be at the bottom, getting beat up. You’ll also observe this in other areas of life, such as which chickens take the treats and take up their positions on the roost.

Chicken with Bloody Beak

A chicken with a bloody beak may be injured as a result of direct trauma to the beak or have caused injuries to other chickens. If you notice that one chicken is bleeding from their beak, there may be others injured if they were in a fight. Check the others for signs such as bleeding combs or missing feathers, which may have been dragged out during a fight.

Even the legs of other chickens may be used to cause injuries to the beak of the one that’s bleeding. If you only have one chicken in your yard, examine the other animals in your household, which may also have gotten into a fight with your chicken. Ensure that your chicken is protected from wild animals that may live in the environment around your home, such as raccoons.

Occasionally, your chicken may also have suffered blunt force trauma to its beak after impact with an inanimate object. They may have fallen off their favourite tree or crashed into a wall while running. They may have even bruised their beak while reaching for something exciting in the dirt. If there are stones in your yard, in the area where your chickens like to pick, this can be a possibility.

Treating A Chicken with A Bloody Beak

Birds that have been in a fight may also have part of their comb ripped away. Vetericyn can be applied to the damaged areas to help with healing. This or any other antimicrobial spray that is designed for poultry will help to keep the injured areas from becoming infected. You can also use this for pecking sores on other parts of your chicken’s face. While it is antimicrobial, Vetericyn does not rely on antibiotics.

A chicken’s beak may also be bloody because they have been picking at the feathers of younger birds for other reasons. They may not try to do this with older, more established birds that can defend themselves, but you may notice that the younger birds in your flock have feathers missing.

In that case, you could try separating the picker from the other young birds. They may curtail their behaviour if they are only among the older birds. You could also give them an activity to relieve boredom. This may help if they are picking out the feathers solely because they are bored.

After you have dressed the beak and your bird’s comb, give them some time to rest. You can separate them from the other birds so that if they are being attacked, they have time to recuperate. The next day, check that they are able to use their beak properly. You can do this by watching them as they try to eat a little food. If they seem to be having problems, you can carry them into their vet to be checked for any underlying injuries that you may not have observed.

Monitor A Chicken with A Bloody Beak

Your chicken’s beak contains a lot of blood vessels. This means that sometimes you will see a fair amount of blood if their beak is injured. Beak injuries can sometimes make it difficult or uncomfortable for your chicken to eat, so you should always observe your chicken closely for a few days after this type of injury has occurred, to ensure that they are eating as they should.

Ensure that your chicken’s beak is only bleeding and that dislocation has not occurred. If your pet’s beak obviously has broken bone, take them to the vet immediately. If there is a large open wound on their beak or comb, take them to the vet to have it treated. It is better to treat those problems as quickly as possible, so try to keep supplies on hand at home in the event of a fight.

Sometimes blood may be accompanied by an abnormal appearance. In this situation, you may have an underlying issue, such as liver disease or even cancer. You may notice that the beak seems misshapen and this may cause concern. Carry your pet to the veterinarian to have them checked thoroughly. Fungal infections can also cause overgrowth and bleeding.

Blood from Chicken Comb

Blood from a chicken’s comb will usually be evident with roosters that are fighting in order to determine who is on top. They may be your little babies to you, but to each other, they are competitors who need to be vanquished. They are not going to automatically get along and will sometimes get vicious in their attacks as one tries to be on top of all the others.

As with bleeding from the wattles and other areas that are sustained during a fight, these injuries should be treated to prevent infection. You can briefly separate your birds as needed if they are injured badly. Use an antimicrobial spray that is designed for chickens to help the comb heal.

If some of your chickens really appear bruised, you can separate them for a while to let their combs heal. You could also apply Blue-Kote to the area, in order to help the comb heal. You can also use any other protective wound dressing that does not limit your bird’s mobility, so it can move freely and recover quickly.

Blood from Chicken Wattles

Blood from chicken wattles can be a cause for concern, especially if you are seeing more than a few drops of blood. If the wattles are torn, it may be that they were grabbed by another chicken during a fight. Your chicken may also have torn their wattles while doing their regular activities around your yard.

Fights can be triggered by a number of factors. Most of the time, fights are over food or establishing the pecking order in your yard. If your birds don’t usually fight but you suddenly see signs of bleeding among several chickens, something may have changed. For example, you may have had to keep them cooped up for longer than usual due to bad weather and that could have caused them to get irritated and annoyed with each other.

If the wattles were injured during a fight, you may see blood on the feet or beaks of other chickens in the yard. Both roosters and hens have chickens, so while it is more likely that the roosters will fight then the hens, you may also see your female chickens with bleeding from their wattles.

Wattles Damage Can Cause Overheating

If the bleeding is significant, or if the wattles are badly torn, you may need to carry your chicken to the veterinarian. The wattles have an important role to play in temperature regulation and help to keep your chicken cool in hot weather.

If the wattles are injured and cannot perform the role that they were designed to, your chicken won’t only feel uncomfortable because of the bleeding and injuries. They will also feel hotter than usual. It is a good idea to give them water with little electrolytes and keep them separated from the other chickens for a while until they heal.

There’s an additional factor to consider. The size of a rooster’s wattles and their firmness can make them more attractive to the hens in your yard. Cleaning bruised or bleeding wattles and ensuring that they are cared for properly so that they heal and retain their original attractive shape, will help your rooster to keep up a positive sense of his appearance and standing in the pecking order.

If the bleeding wattles have other signs on them, such as excessive scabs or bluish discolouration, the bleeding may be resulting from another factor. The same applies to wattles that have lesions or warts. Chickens that display such signs should be taken to the veterinarian, as the bleeding may not be the result of fighting.

Always check your chicken’s wattles regularly, as any discolouration or paleness can be a sign of illness. The wattles should not be pale, shrunken or have signs of blemishes or bleeding. Scabs, hardened skin and discolouration should be taken as a sign of illness and if you see those signs in several birds, you should take them to the veterinarian immediately. These could be signs of illness that could spread to your other birds if left untreated.

Blood from Chicken Earlobes

Blood from chicken earlobes may be accompanied by scabs. If this is severe, some chickens may keep on picking at your injured chicken, because some of them are triggered by the sight of blood. Other chickens may have picked at your bird if they were recently introduced to the flock, as the birds try to figure out the new pecking order.

If several of your chickens only appear to have injuries around their ear lobes, there could be another problem, such as ear mites or lice. If the chickens are scratching at their ears, this could cause bleeding. Carry them to the vet if you suspect that this may be the case and treat it quickly so that your whole flock does not end up scratching constantly.

You can gently wipe away the blood and apply a little Neosporin to the earlobes to help them heal. If necessary, you can separate your chicken from the other birds during this time as well. If the bleeding is caused when the bird scratches their own lobes, you’ll need to address the cause of the itching, as recommended by your veterinarian.

If you suspect that the earlobes, comb, beak or wattles on your chicken are bleeding because of an encounter with larger pets in your home, you should take precautions to ensure that your chickens are kept away from those pets. Sometimes you may have had a pet that didn’t display a hunt drive towards your chicken. When you get a new cat or another pet, they may see your chickens as food and you’ll need to take steps to keep them separated from the chickens.