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  • Writer's pictureChristina Swaan

Mink Vs Chicken

On February 15th a mink managed to get into the chicken run during the day, chasing and attacking the flock. Our neighbor who heard the ruckus was able to quickly make it across the yard to intervene, saving the lives of my chickens.

Unfortunately the incident was not without some hardship. In the flurry of feathers and chaos that ensued, our black cochin/polish hen "Maleficent" had been the primary victim and suffered severe injuries. On initial inspection it was obvious that she had lost an eye, and her left wing hung limp and bleeding at her side. She had deep abrasions to one leg, but despite this she was able to make her way into the coop to perch in safety until I was able to get home to inspect her. It was only after taking her to the vet that we discovered the true extent of her injured wing.

"Completely smashed" was the description I was given to how severe the fracture to her wing was. While we had initially hoped to save the wing with a splint it was obvious that the chance for it to heal correctly and without putting the bird through a long process of pain and discomfort was very slim. We made the decision to have the wing amputated.

The surgery was a success. Within only a few days of the incident this tough bird was showing signs of a full recovery - happily scratching and pecking at her food, and getting used to the changed depth perception that goes along with being a cyclops. Despite her little wing nub, she didn't seem to be thrown off balance too severely.

Maleficent tolerated her after-care well, which included daily oral administration of pain meds & antibiotics, as well as tending to her surgery site & other surface injuries. A good sign that an animal is doing well is when they begin to fight you against the treatment - she pecked me good a few times before we were done with the rounds of medication.

Maleficent made it clear that she was ready to get back out into the coop with the rest of the flock - by her constant complaining, and tossing of all her bedding out of her quarantine cage. With the warm weather upon us, and a few days of me around to supervise the happenings I did a "soft introduction" of her back to the flock, placing her in a kennel next to the rest of the flock. The others showed very little concern or worry for her, but she definitely wanted to get back with them... so after only 2 days of seeing how she interacted with the others through the bars, I let her loose into the yard with the others. She shuffled her way right back to her previous rank and there was no drama from the rest of the flock... Success!

Mal is now happily reintegrated with her flockmates, and you would have to look pretty hard to even notice that she is missing a wing and an eye. Shear proof to the toughness and will to survive of chickens!

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