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HELP!!! Overpecking

post #1 of 4
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Hi. I have 26 chickens, 2 are roosters (one being a silkie and the other a standard cochin) and various breeds of hens. My chicken coop is 8x10 with two runs running north and south both runs are also approximately 8x10 each, I have 6 nesting boxes, 2 water feeders indoors, one outdoor water feeder, and 4 pipe crumble dispensers. Those are the specifics anyway I have a HUGE pecking problem in my flock. About half of my hens are going bald by their back end. First I was blaming the rooster and maybe the winter boredom. However, I came home after a errand today and found my cochin rooster was bleeding and half of his feathers were gone of his legs and feet. I don't know what to do anymore. I have provided enrichment such as throw straw in there runs and throwing dried worms and scratch in it, I let them free range along my property when I am able to supervise, and I even made toys where I cut holes in plastic bottles and fill them with scratch and dried worms. I think the problem is getting worse. I also switched their crumble feed from a tractor supply diet to a more protein and calcium laiden diet that I can get at the grain elevator. My husband thinks I am stressing them out more because today I separated the chickens. I split them into two groups ones with the huge feather loss and the ones who aren't losing feathers as badly or not at all. Myy coop has a divider where I can do this. Thoughts? Should I have not separated them?  Should I process my cochin rooster? Should I invest in anti feather pecking spray? Ugh.... Help!!!

post #2 of 4

Welcome!  Sorry you're having this problem, but things can improve.  Several issues are possible here.  Overcrowding in the coop, maybe.  Lice or mites (look at the birds at night with a flashlight).  Diet; consider a Flock Raiser type diet with oyster shell on the side, and fewer treats.  A few bad birds;  I've had a few hens who just had to peck their flockmates, and needed to leave.  Those birds will probably look great!  Some breed types are worse than others too.  I no longer have red sex links, or hatchery RIRs, for that reason.  Mary

post #3 of 4
You don't have enough room to support that many birds mentally. Either make things bigger, especially the run or decrease your population. I wouldn't keep more than 15 in the coop. Your birds are bored and stressed. Sorry it's probably not what you want to hear, but crowding causes aggressive behavior problems. Chickens are meant to scratch, peck and forage all day.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #4 of 4

My coop has about five sq. ft. per bird, and many are bantams.  Also, my run is now roofed and predator proof, so their space has over doubled, without free ranging.  Mary

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