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Intense pecking

post #1 of 2
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We have (had) 14 Wyandotte hens, 2 groups, that we inherited from a family member. The first group of 7 is 2 years old and the second of 7 is one year old. There were pecking problems when we got them and they are getting worse. One hen was pecked to death 2 days ago. They have more room now than they did before but the pecking has gotten worse. There are a few hens that seem to have adjusted OK. Feathers are coming back and they have learned to run away. However there are 4 hens that are really bad off. I have watched as one hen will hold down these severely pecked hens and let the others peck her. Forgive the language but it's like a gang rape. She just lays there and doesn't fight back while three others peck at her. We have recently aquired a young roo (7 months old) that we have brought in and are slowing introducing him to the group in hopes of stemming the constant pecking (based on information we found on the internet.) We are hoping he will keep the girls from pecking each other so much. He's terrified of them right now. Lots of dancing and wing flapping going on from the hens. He loves to hide behind me and stays close to me during our supervised get-togethers with the hens. He's still young so we are taking our time introducing him. I know there are experts that say that the dominate hens eat first too. But I have noticed that the dominate hens tend to wait in the background and watch the flock eat. How do we know they're dominate? They have all their feathers!!! They act more like a rooster than a hen. I'm confused about the hens holding down one of their own in order to allow the others to peck them. Any idea what's going on? They have ample space and plenty to eat and scratch at. We are even thinking about free ranging the weaker ones that are being pecked so much. It's heart breaking losing a hen. We wanted to start breeding them this spring but the damage that the one group is suffering has made me skeptical of raising them. Any advise would be so helpful!!!
post #2 of 2

:welcome  Feather pecking/plucking/eating is a very bad habit that can have a multitude of causes ranging from inadequate diet to not enough space.  It sounds as if they have enough space and their diet is adequate so it is time to break the habit.  Do an on site search on Pin Less Peepers.  They can be affixed to the major offenders, and frequently once feathers are regrown they can be removed.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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