New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Hen Pecking Herself

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I have a hen that keeps pecking herself to the point of bleeding. 

Story: Yesterday morning I checked on the girls first thing, and noticed some feathers missing and a small open wound on the wing of one of them. I had to go to work, so I filled a treat ball they have, and gave them some scraps, hoping they'd leave her alone. On my lunch break, I went to the local feed store and got some suet feeders and Blue-Kote. I went home and cleaned her woulds (the other side was picked open now) and sprayed her down with the Blue-Kote. When I came home after work it looked like they had left her alone and it wasn't any worse. Checked her again this morning and her beak was purple! It wasn't the other hens picking her, she was picking herself! I keep applying the Blue-Kote (I have purple hands to prove it!) and added another suet feeder with peanuts for protein. I don't see any fresh blood, but it could just be dyed blue, but it doesn't look like she is missing anymore feathers. I'm just not sure how to keep her from pecking herself! Any help is appreciated!!! 

post #2 of 3
Self-cannibalism is extremely rare. I'd say that more than likely the other birds caused the wound; when an anti-picking solution is applied to a bird, they will often try to preen at the area to clean their feathers (they quickly learn not to, once they realize it tastes nasty).

If your birds are picking to the point of blood, something is wrong with your flock dynamic. You'll want to take a look at your bird's housing, diet, and environment to see if they are crowded, protein-deficient, or stressed, as these are the three most common causes of feather picking and cannibalism. You might also take their breeds into account; Rhode Island Reds (Production Reds) in particular are prone to cannibalistic and aggressive behavior.

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

Reply

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

Reply
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thank you! That makes sense that she was just preening herself after the solution was applied. 

As far as the environment, its 4 hens (Red sex links) in an 8'x6' coop, with 3 nesting boxes and 8' of roost. The attached run is over 150 sq feet. They've been in this same environment since they were chicks. They get a 17% layer feed, same feed since they came off chick crumble. I did have a rooster recently die, and he was their protector. They were free ranging and it appeared he was hit in the head. Could the stress of losing him make her do this? It happened about 2 weeks ago.

Since he died, I haven't let them free range unsupervised, I know they're not happy about that, but we've been having snow storms every other day, and I would rather them stay in the coop/run. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying