We have some new, temporary residents on our little urban homestead: bantam chickens! Bantams are nicknamed “banties” for short and they are most certainly the cutest chickens I have ever seen. Just like standard chickens, there is a large variety of bantam chicken breeds. Bantams are typically about half the size of standard chickens and lay eggs about half the size as well. Due to their small size, they can live comfortably in a smaller coop.
I picked up this little flock from a farm down in Roseburg, Oregon. The three girls were on a farm with probably a hundred other chickens, so putting these three together meant they needed to work out a new pecking order. They were transported together in a cat carrier. At some points in the drive I heard a lot of squawking, but the majority of the drive was filled with quiet, calm clucking.
Unfortunately, when I got home I discovered one of the girls had been attacked by another during the trip. Her head had been pecked bald and she had a hole in the back of her neck! This bloody hole was so deep that I could actually SEE the neck muscle. Chicken skin can be pretty thick, but she had been pecked right through it. My stomach still turns to think about it…
First things first, I separated the injured girl from the rest of the flock and kept her inside my house where it was warmer. I thoroughly cleaned the wound with a simple saline solution (warm salt water). Then I thickly applied neosporin to her poor little bald head – in the actual hole (stomach turning…) and thickly on top of the exposed area. At one point I tried putting a bandage around her head, which was comical but drove her nuts. The bandage eventually came off, but I kept close watch to ensure the area staying clean.
She spent about 24 hours with me in the house, in the cat carrier, with food and water. I was shocked that she really seemed fine, eating and drinking, despite having a hole in her head. The next day her wound had scabbed over and the neosporin had dried into a thick paste on her head. My biggest worry was over, as nothing appeared infected.
I was concerned that keeping her separated from the other two girls for too long may mean they would bond as a flock without her. I really didn’t want TWO girls picking on her, so I carefully introduced her back into the flock. She was terrorized by the same hen for about a day. After that time, everyone seemed to know where they were on in the pecking order and peace was restored.
Look for a post in a couple days that introduces the girls and their respective breeds. Here is the healthy and healed little bantam!