Medic! Dealing with a Chicken Fight.


Recipe for a Blood Bath

1 part Cheez Whiz

1 part Walnut


Within 2-5 minutes you’ll have yourself a blood bath.


When I left the house to run and get groceries the other morning both Cheez Whiz and  Walnut were smashed into the nesting box.  When I got home the nesting box looked like a crime scene and Walnut looked like this …

Walnut 1


The blood was dripping down her little chicken face and she’d shake her head to get it off.  Other than the annoyance of it all, she seemed pretty unperturbed.  I, on the other hand started to shake uncontrollably and make weird squeaking sounds.

I become an emotional cripple when I can’t keep a strand of hair out of my eyes let alone chicken blood.  She was a stronger bird than I, that Walnut. Plus I named her after the size of her brain, so …

Now, chickens for those of you who don’t know … are attracted to blood the same way a shark is.  Or a UFC fighter.  So I knew I had to get the bleeding to stop before the other chickens pecked at her head until they killed her.  No joke.

I also knew it was so cold out that Walnut’s constantly wet comb would get frostbite.

The worst part was I had no idea where the blood was coming from.  I knew it was the general head/comb area but couldn’t pinpoint it.

So into the mudroom came Walnut.


Walnut 2


Then into the kitchen wandered Walnut.


Walnut 3


Then onto my lap  wandered Walnut.


Walnut 4


We hung out for a bit and I cleaned up her comb as best I could.  Turns out chickens don’t clot the way humans do.  How indescribably gross is that word by the way?  Clot.  Its grossness only surpassed by the mother of all gross words, “panties”.

So Walnut just kept bleeding and bleeding.  I had to be really careful when cleaning her comb so I didn’t wipe off any blood that had actually started to form a scab.  Yes.  I had to be acutely aware of clotty scabs.

For the record, this is indeed the sort of thing you’ll have to deal with if you get chickens.  You have been notified.

I dusted the injured area with a few shots of cornstarch to help stop the bleeding.  Again, it was the whole general area I dusted because I still couldn’t find the actual location of the bleeding.


Walnut 5
Then I sent her on her way before she pooped in the house.  I got her set up in the far end of the coop with her own water and food, separated from the lurking chicken zombies by a spare screen door.


Walnut 6


I had to go out a couple of more times over the course of the day to dry her comb and spray it with cornstarch.  I changed all the lights in my coop to red heat lamps to disguise the blood and let her go to bed with the rest of the chickens.  At around midnight I went out and gave her another poof of cornstarch and hoped for the best in the morning.

It’s been a week now and Walnut’s comb still has dried blood on it but none of the other chickens have bothered her.  She stopped bleeding and continues to live her normal chicken life.

If I could just get her to stop scratching at the back door things would be right back to normal.

So what did I take away from this frightening and eye opening health scare?

Chickens could TOTALLY be indoor pets.



  1. Janet says:

    I always thought it was me and that I must be so sexually naive that the word “panties” bothered me….thank you…I have now been relieved and set free! It bothers so many of you, thank goodness. Flem isn’t really great either…clotted flemmy panties pretty much is dibilitating..I am going for a glass of wine to celebrate my liberation and work on what type of chickens I am getting. Bloody combs I can handle! Karen you rock and so do your chickens!

  2. rktrixy says:

    Walnut is a lovely bird! Despite the size of her brain, she has a regal presence.

    Sorry about her wound, but I think the comb, with all of it’s fleshy wobbliness, is sorta asking for it. Like dangling a worm in front of another chicken. “Who’s a good chicken? Who’s a good chicken? Does you wanna worm?”

    Seriously, what is a comb for on a hen? Or – why do men have nipples? Ugh. I need more coffee for that one.

  3. Marti says:

    Ack! I know your blog is supposed to be educational and all, but it’s 11:25pm at night and… I’m a bit grossed out on today’s material. Gleet? Vent gleet? Chickens don’t clot?

    Note to self: don’t read the comments on the chicken posts! Blech!

      • Marti says:

        Yeah, I guess I’m just a naive American… I grew up on a farm with chickens and never saw any of them fighting except for the roosters. Gleet? Clotting issues? Impacted croup???

        I’m not bothered by “panties.” But I’ll be sure to ask the next Canadian I see for some ummm, “clarification.” Still scratching my little farm-girl head on that one.

  4. Debbie says:

    Loved your story. Loved watch the video that Alisa sent in. Wonder what the kitchen snack was?
    And it used to be called All Stock my parents were never with out a bottle for our pets

  5. Jenn says:

    I have 6 backyard chickens and the girls always come scratching at the back door for treats, figure they must have learned it from the dog :)

  6. Melissa says:

    Hi Karen,
    My sister keeps chickens, and for gifts I try to find obscure poultry-related to give her. This past Christmas I gave her a pair of chicken glasses–not for her, for the chickens. The lenses were tinted red and they actually had a bridge that fit across the beak with a odd-looking pin that was supposed to pierce the wholes in their beaks to keep the glasses on. Theory being, I guess, if everything thing looks red to the chicken it won’t peck at bloody bits on its coop mates.

  7. Jcrn says:

    And I’m so glad your chicken is well. They don’t deserve enough credit for being lovable.

  8. Jcrn says:

    When my sister had chickens, one of them got an infected or impacted croup (you can know how much I know about chickens). Anyway, she and the kids drove to the vet who charged $500! to give her meds to give the chicken 3 times a day. All the other people at the vet’s exotic bird specializing business had exotic birds and looked at her chicken like it was a very lowly bird.

    She didn’t care. But every day, she had to hold it swaddled in her arms, eye to eye (they really bonded) and take a syringe (no needle) and get the chicken to swallow some vile medication. I know it was vile because sometimes it tried to resist and she accidentally swallowed a few drops.

    It was not easy on her or the chicken. But all turned out well. They were Aracuna (not sure I spelled that right) chickens and their eggs were like Easter Egg colors.

  9. Shauna says:

    Just got my new Easter Eggers yesterday. They’re only 13 weeks old compared to my RIR’s at a year and a half. They’re small and sweet and Coco (one of the OG’s) decided to give her a good solid peck on her head which also drew some blood. They’re officially quarantined from each other by a separation in the coop. I don’t think I remembered they couldn’t clot, but I have a memory of cornstarch used on cuts. Mine seems fine, but now I will make sure to give her head a double check tonight if it’s not too dark when I get home.

    Anyway, they’re so cute and pretty and even have a bit different of a coo/cackle.

  10. Patti says:

    Aww, poor Walnut. For a minute I’m already to hear about how you combined cheez wiz and walnuts together for a lil chicken treat and they went crazy trying to get at it. And yes to Panties … can’t even say the word. But the grossest word ever in my opinion is “cluster”. A cluster of anything is usually very gross, hence “cluster”.

  11. Betsy says:

    Hey Karen- Go to Crazy K Farm online. They sell Hen Holsters. It’s a diaper for chickens.

  12. Sebrah says:

    I’ve got a bottle of ‘purple’ spray for my girls and fortunately I’ve only had to use it once. And she ran whilst I tried to spray her and she ended up with big purple patches all over her bottom, but it’s a disinfectant spray and the colour disguises the blood. Funky chicken!

  13. toekneetoni says:

    Poor Walnut the Warrior. You are a very good “Mom.” Cornstarch was an excellent idea.
    *dead* @ undergrunders & vulva. ROFLOL.

  14. Maggie says:

    Just an FYI…anyone owning any animals of any sort ought to always have on hand a bottle of blood clotting powder, available at your local Tractor Supply or the equivalent.

    And as for the grossest word ever…vulva…that is just disgusting. Are the things disgusting and then we give them naming words that fit? Or are the words themselves disgusting and the words become contaminated through association?

    I tell you, it is a question for the ages.

  15. Sue says:

    Absolutely – panties is on the top 10 grossest words list. Around our house, we say undergrunders. Why? I have no idea.

  16. Jeff Walker says:

    Karen you have a sweet soul. Your chickens are lucky to have you.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Jeff. As my meditation instructor says There’s a difference between acting nice and being nice. My chickens know which one I am. :) ~ karen

  17. My brother-in-law just went through interviews for med school residency, and one of the questions he was asked was, “What’s your least favourite word.” He didn’t have one! I’m going to send this to him to study for future reference.

    One of our barn cats spent an hour outside in the snowstorm on Friday cowering under my husband’s car because the snow was too deep to get back to the barn (her brain is walnut-sized too). As soon as we noticed her and opened the window, she too became an indoor pet–for a few minutes before husband got bundled up and carried her back to the barn.

    Glad to hear that Walnut seems to be alright. Hope you and the girls made it through the snowstorm.

  18. karol says:

    phlegm… grossest word ever. Can’t say it or hear it without gagging. Panties? nah.
    BTW, what I took away from this is chickens are best kept at someone else’s house besides mine. Thank you for confirming my girlie, city lifestyle.

  19. Carole McGinnis says:

    You are such a good Mommy. Those chickens hit the jackpot.

  20. Jeannie B says:

    I just love your blogs Karen. And I love all the comments from your readers. I almost got myself a “kitchen chicken”, years ago, from an antique shop. They had a taxidermied stuffed chicken, sitting in a nest. It was beautiful. The feathers were glossy, the glass eyes looked realistic and I thought it would be so decorative. My husband vetoed the idea. Plus, I couldn’t figure out how I would keep it cleaned and dusted.I still think about that chicken. Anyhow, iI learn so much from you and your readers. Loved the video of Alisa’s chicken Ellie. Seems to me that a live chicken in the kitchen could clean up a lot of crumbs, fast.I’ve also sort of yearned for a pet pig.George Clooney had one.

  21. Katie King says:

    Chickens canNOT be house pets unless they are wearing the dreaded word…PANTIES. We had to bring a chicken into our kitchen for a month after she decided that she needed to eat a fistful of gravel and got an impacted crop. My husband still talks about when we took Atilla the Hen on vacation in a gigantic Rubbermaid bin (I maintain that we had to or she would’ve starved to death!). Anyways, you don’t want to know about the condition of our kitchen floor. Grossness incarnate. So…panties.

  22. Barbie says:

    Oh poor chicky! So glad she has you! I should say Lucky chicky!

  23. Terry Sears says:

    This story gives a whole new meaning to dinner out at Swiss Chalet.
    Amazing I did not know these facts about chickens.
    Karen you are an entire book of knowledge for us city folk.

  24. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I’m getting kind of nauseous here people..It will take me all day to get the images of those nasty words out of my head..maybe I should just lie down and take it easy today..yeah..I think that will help..Glad Walnut is better..

  25. karen says:

    I happened upon your blog after finding a picture of your gorgeous chicken penthouse on Pinterest. Thanks for the entertainment and education. I truly enjoy the good reads :).

  26. ev says:

    Sorry about your bird. Hope all is well now. I would have freaked too if one of my critters had such an injury. But–PANTIES? Seems pretty innocuous to me! The usage of “ain’t”, etc., is much more offensive to these old ears, as is “don’t”, as “He don’t got no chickens”. Shudder….

  27. julie says:

    Re: possible chicken grossness. Ever heard of ‘prolapse?’ This was a medical condition that, sadly, couldn’t be cured….poor Isolina had to be gently and humanely dispatched by my neighbor. And IT WAS SO GROSS. But just in case of something more fixable, I’m getting out the cornstarch. [ps wonder if styptic powder that you can use for dogs would work too?]

    • Karen says:

      Julie – Yes, the styptic powder would work too. I just didn’t have any on hand. And yes. I’ve never had to deal with but certainly know about the dreaded prolapse. ~ karen!

      • Patti says:

        Styptic powder will work like a charm, and also, a styptic pencil is a handy dandy tool. I don’t have chickens, but I have a parakeet, and these are handy to have on hand. But, that being said, when you don’t know where the blood is coming from, cornstarch’ll do!

        Sorry you had to go through that, Karen. It’s so not fun when our feather babies are hurt! You were a good mom, looking after her, changing the bulbs and everything!

        Also, thinking about panties in generally is just something I try to stay away from.

  28. AmieM says:

    Heehee, panties. My family just says gitch.

  29. Brenda J. M says:

    Here …the two worst words in a row = Grandma panties.
    Sorry your chicky had a head wound. You could rename her Headwound Harriet? Has a real ring to it. I hope she remains non-henpecked in the future. No matter what the pet, a pet is still part of the family.

  30. MelissaM says:

    You think the size of her brain is a walnut, eh? I wouldn’t go larger than Filbert, which would actually be a great name for your next wee chickie.

  31. Gail says:

    My sister had a ‘pet turkey’, TEAKY. He lived in the house and sat on her lap. He never grew much and then he died. He is in the cemetery across the street. She gave up the chickens and turkeys because she made friends with all of them. Moral of the story- never name your bird.

  32. Lynn says:

    Worst word ever – mucus. Blech! BTW, if you don’t
    use the word “panties”, what do you call them?

    • Karen says:

      Lynn – Underwear. Underpants. Gauchies. Anything but “panties”. Panties sounds like something a little girl wears but it also has sexual connotations, making the whole mix incredibly bad! Ew. ~ karen

  33. marilyn says:

    really ? panties? so funny ..clot yes,

  34. Debbie from Illinois says:

    Ugh, this post brings back horrific memories of the mass chicken slaughter of 1972. I was visiting my Grandparent’s farm and we had left the farm to go blueberry picking only to come back to chicken carnage. The 20 chickens went nutso when we were gone and we had to slaughter most of them. I was totally a city kid and the process scarred me for life. The mix of 95 degree temps, a house with no air conditioning and prepping chickens for canning nearly did me in at the tender age of twelve. :-(

    P.S. I didn’t eat chicken for years!

    • Pati Gulat says:

      Debbie, been there, done that ! My dad decided to kill 20 of our non-laying hens and us four kids had to pick 5 each ! The smell of the chickens after he dipped them in boiling water to loosen the feathers is nauseating to me even today, 45 yrs later. You couldn’t go into the house to escape the stench cos Momma was gutting them in the sink !! AAAARGGH !!!No thanks for the memory… GRIN

  35. arlene says:

    I am with you on the
    PANTIES = most pathetic word ever
    not acceptable use for anyone over the age of 4.

    Are they breathless?

  36. CBuffy says:

    One word. Nu-Stock. You can get it at your local tack/feed store. It’s an ointment (get it in the jar NOT the tube, the tube is a royal pain in the you-know-what) that is a mix of sulfer powder, pine tar and an oil to make it a salve. This stuff is MAGIC. Keep it on hand. It’s amazing for chicken gleet (look it up), and all sorts of blood involved booboos. Not just for chickens. It’s one of those old timey remedies that no self-respecting farmer’s barn was without. Horses, dogs, cows, chickens, pigs, you name it. *wear gloves. sulfer/pine tar. YUM. (not)

  37. caroline says:

    Poor Walnut…i hope she feels better by now. have a great week xoxo

  38. Mary says:

    Ok, I was totally on board with getting my own chickens someday because yours are so darn cute. But now that I know about the zombie streak they have, I will have to reconsider.
    My dogs do this when one is hurt or seems weak. It’s an instinct I’d rather they didn’t have. (But I love the picture of her on your lap).

  39. Sue T. says:

    Oh Karen…don’t know if I feel worse for you or poor Walnut, what an evening you had. I didn’t know that chickens did that sort of thing until a few years ago. I went to the hardware/feed store for dog food and saw a big metal tub with hundreds of chicks for sale in it. Now being the lover of any thing ‘baby’, I had to have a closer look. OMG (I know all you experienced chicken people already know what I saw), soooo many dead, bleeding, pecking, dying babies, I was horrified !! I tried to get someone to do something but was told that’s the life of a chicken. I left nauseous and almost in tears. Waited a day and went to another store for dog food. That experience won’t be forgotten.

  40. Jessica C says:

    My Rottweiler decided one December morning that my chicken Rhody would look better without feathers. Unfortunately chickens aren’t meant to be plucked while alive and considerable damage was done to her skin. Rhody came to live in the garage for s couple of weeks while I treated her wounds with hydrogen peroxide twice a day and all is well. Unfortunately she hasn’t gotten any smarter and constantly sticks her head into the dogs cage and steals her food. I guess I can only do so much if she is a daredevil.

  41. Marie-Louise says:

    I know this works for humans, think it will do the trick for chickens as well – cayenne pepper (powder of tincture) is a wonderful clotting medicine. Stops bleeding in seconds. Also, cayenne pepper under the tongue is a natural first aid remedy for heart attacks. I always keep a bottle in my bag.

  42. Violet says:

    I know the grossest of gross words ever. It’s not a word that people use, but a combination of two common words put together that I came across about 15 years ago [as the name of a band, of all things] and never forgot. Alone, neither word is particularly awful — it’s putting them together that makes them so horrific. And the magic word is … bloodfart.

    Let us give thanks that the band never got a record deal.

  43. Alisa says:

    One of my chickens, Ellie, loves to come ‘visit’ in the house. She has a snack in the kitchen, then cuddles with me on the couch for a few minutes before she goes back out to the coop. Here’s a video of her:

  44. Lesley says:

    I suspect getting into the house was Walnut’s plan all along. Chickens be crafty.

  45. gloria says:

    I will be 60 years old in just 2 months and I still can’t say the word *panties*.

    • ~gloria says:

      Yep, 60 here as well and have never said *panties* either. Moist and clot also get my votes. But one of my all-time most disgusting words is *phlegm*. It somehow sounds like what it is.

  46. Allison says:

    WTF Cheez Whiz? Did you figure out why it happened?

    Poor Walnut. I’m sorry. xoxo

  47. Alisha says:

    Poor chicken baby. I’m happy this story has a happy ending. I’m also happy that I’m not the only one that thinks ‘panties’ is a mortifying word.

  48. shawn says:

    My friend does have a chicken as an indoor pet. She even has chicken “panties” she puts on her to keep her from pooping in the house. I will email you the picture. Hilarious.

  49. Audrey says:

    I have a friend who has a couple of geese as indoor/outdoor pets. They wear diapers when they are inside. Maybe they can make them for chickens :-)

  50. jamie lynn says:

    Moist = worst word ever.

    • randi says:

      Yes m o i s t ewww.

      • Lisa says:

        Third vote for moist!

        • Suzanne in Austin, Texas says:

          Gotta go with Moist. Combined with clot and panties and you could have a serious issue. Hope that Walnut is much better!

        • Pat says:

          My 17 year old daughter does not do “panties”. When I asked to to straighten our her underwear/sock drawer so the giant stack of ‘panties’ will fit in there, she fell on the floor and started writhing around. “What?!” “DON’T USE THE WORD PANTIES!” I’ve warned my husband, if you see her undies in the washer or dryer, back away and don’t say a word.

          Karen is a good farmer looking after her flock so well.

    • Pati Gulat says:

      Here’s five for MOIST ! YUCK !!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *