Owners feared their beloved bird would not survive

Vets saved a chicken that had been savaged by a fox after a family decided they couldn’t bear to be parted from the hand-reared bird.

Four-year-old Davina had been nurtured from a chick by Kate and Gareth Henderson’s daughter Honey, now 14.

So, the couple decided it was well worth paying for the lifesaving skills of the Vets Now team in Guildford.

And they’ve hailed Davina for her resilience after she laid an egg just one day after coming back from the dead.

Kate and Gareth keep a few chickens and goats at their rural home in Peaslake, Guildford, and a fox struck when the birds were out.

“We have a fenced area where the chickens live and sleep in a little house,” explained mum-of-three Kate, 43.

“I used to just let them out to go where they liked, but I noticed quite a few foxes coming into the garden so I was keeping them in the compound for safety.

“On the day of the attack, though, Gareth had let them out as he was mowing the lawn. I was upstairs when I noticed the goats staring intently at something, which I knew wasn’t good, so I yelled at the children to go and see what was happening.

“A fox had got Davina and I’d say that in just another three seconds he’d have killed her. Pretty much all the feathers had been ripped off her tail and back and she looked like a chicken you’d buy in the supermarket. There was just nothing there and she had two huge, deep, gashes along her spine.”

Kate and Gareth initially feared the injuries were so severe she’d have to be put to sleep, but they decided they had to do whatever they could for the bird raised by Honey in an incubator in her bedroom when she just 10.

As it was a Saturday, they rushed her to the Vets Now pet emergency clinic in Woodbridge Road.

“There were lacerations on her dorsum and pelvis,” said our senior vet Carlo. “It was a nasty attack and, after speaking to the owners, we gave Davina a general anaesthetic and cleaned out and then stitched up the wounds.

“We then gave her medication to take for the next week and advised that she should wear a T-shirt to prevent her from removing the sutures.”

  1. Davina's ordeal

    Four-year-old Davina was milling around the garden when she was attacked by a fox.

    Image of Davina the chicken for Vets Now article on chicken fox attack
  2. Painful injuries

    The fox had ripped all the feathers off her tail and back she had two deep gashes along her spine.

    Image of Davina the chicken for Vets Now article on chicken fox attack
  3. Treatment

    The team at Vets Now in Guildford gave her a general anaesthetic and cleaned and stitched her wounds and she was able to go home that night.

    Image of Davina the chicken for Vets Now article on chicken fox attack
  4. Getting better

    Thankfully, she was well enough to go back in with the other chickens the next day.

    Image of Davina the chicken for Vets Now article on chicken fox attack
  5. Davina's ordeal

    Owner Kate tells her she’s like a phoenix and has come back from the dead.

    Image of Davina the chicken for Vets Now article on chicken fox attack

The family kept Davina in the house that night just to keep an eye on her after the anaesthetic. When she seemed to be up and moving freely the next day, they put her back in with the rest of the chickens.

“The first thing she did was go straight into the hen house and laid an egg,” said Kate. “It was just amazing. If a human had those kinds of injuries, I reckon they’d have been in hospital for months.

“When you look at her now, you’d never know anything had happened. She is an absolute miracle chicken and she really is very beautiful.”

Having had to call on their services for a pet cat a few years ago, Kate and Gareth know all about the invaluable work of Vets Now.

It operates a nationwide network of clinics and hospitals open through the night, seven days a week, and day and night at weekends and bank holidays. There is always a vet and veterinary nurse on site.

“It was so reassuring to know there was someone we could turn to,” said Kate. “They were so caring and seemed to be so fond of her. They even called to check how she was doing in the days after.

“The total bill came to about £500 and everyone we’ve told the story to found it highly amusing that we’d spend that much money on a chicken. But she was hand-raised, so she is more than a chicken to us and it was certainly money well-spent.

“And as it turned out, we went to Ascot the following week and won £500 so that sort of paid for it.”