Before moving to an area with frigidly cold winters and an extended cold season, I kept turkens. Turkens are a breed of chicken that lack feathering on their head and necks. I love turkens, they’re fantastic, and I wish I could raise them here on the mountain but that would be cruel to the half-naked birds.
So one day I head out into my bird yard to put the birds up for the night and I notice something amiss with one of my turken cockerels. Upon inspection I find a large L-shaped slice on his neck. His skin was totally peeled back, leaving a one-inch patch of exposed neck muscle. This was probably the first gnarly livestock injury I’d encountered.
Horrified, I called a friend who was far more seasoned in chickens than I was. I brought the cockerel to her home. She calmly procured a needle and thread, and with me holding the bird she artfully stitched the neck skin back into place. The cockerel hardly flinched. I was impressed by both of them and their relative level of tranquility about the situation. I was a nervous wreck!
My friend sent me off with a small glob of an herbal healing salve (which was probably the first salve I ever used on anything, actually) to apply to Stitches’ (as he was now called) neck each day. After just 3 or 4 days, Stitches’ wound healed wonderfully. With some dainty nippers I snipped his stitches and pulled the threads free of his skin. I continued to apply the salve until it looked like he was well healed.
I have since stitched several chickens back up. Most of them turkens. It seems having a nude neck isn’t the most adventitious thing when you’re a paper-skinned chicken. One bird I stitched up was mauled by a skunk and had the skin around his wings torn badly in several places. I think the skunk had attempted to drag the young bird by the wing. In each case the birds healed up rapidly and without complication.