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Chicken Problems - Need Advise Please...Thank You!

post #1 of 2
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Hello everyone, my name is Cassie and I am a new member on BackYard Chickens.  I am having some issues with my chickens and was referred to the website and forum by another current member. I am new to owning and caring for chickens and thought all was going well until the last week.  I started with three chickens, now I have two.  Last August, I rescued a Peacock from a less than ideal situation.  I spent time researching how to get Peacocks to bond to me and my property with the intent to be able to free range.  Within a month or so, he seemed to be lonely and depressed. I was told to get chickens to keep with him; having chickens would be beneficial to his happiness and also keep him close to home.   I had always wanted chickens, so a little ahead of schedule, I found a farmer that gave me three chickens to start with.  I didn’t know anything about the chickens aside from they were at least two years old maybe older.  I figured this would give me the opportunity to get used to having chickens as well as seeing if keeping them with the Peacock would be successful.  Everything seemed to be going well, the Peacock was happier and the chickens were doing well.  I feed them layer pellets, was feeding cracked corn and recently switched to scratch grains mixed in with the pellets, they also get fruits and vegetables and canned cat food because the Peacock loves the canned cat food.  Fast forward seven months later, everyone seemed happy and healthy and I thought everything was going well up until a week ago.  I went to check and feed the chickens and found one lying on the ground not moving and barely breathing.  I took her out of the coop and checked her over and didn’t see anything visibly wrong such as wounds or any evidence of fighting except for a messy rear end.  By this time, there was nothing I could do and she passed away.   After some research and talking to other chicken owners I found she possibly had a broken egg inside or vent gleet and was told to watch for this and clean right away.  During this time, I did notice what appeared to be more feathers lying around the coop then normal but didn’t think much about it.  After removing her from the coop, it seemed the other chickens started acting abnormal.  Not moving around or eating as much.  I just starting monitoring them a little more, keeping a closer eye on what they were eating and how they were acting and checking multiple times a day.  There was one particular chicken that seemed less active and seemed to be eating less; every time I went in to check on them she was on the perch.  I went to examine her and realized she has wounds on top and under her wings and well as missing feathers and losing weight.  I checked the other chicken and found she only had one wound under a wing.  After speaking with friends and family about this, their immediate reaction was the Peacock.  I dismissed the idea because everyone had been doing well, they had been together for seven months with no problems, and the chickens shadow him, rub against him, lean into him, and follow him.  So after some research I came to the conclusion that my problem was probably mites or parasites.  However, this morning I went into the coop to check and feed everyone, she was once again on the perch so I removed her from the perch and put her on the ground hoping to see her eat.  This is when I witnessed the peacock get on top of her and start pulling on her comb.  I thought okay, I was wrong; it is the Peacock, so I removed both remaining chickens from the enclosure and separated them.  I was staying close, keeping an eye on them when I noticed this chicken seemed scared or distraught over the other chicken when she came close and then witnessed the other chicken chase and peck at her.   I know there are many animal species including chickens that will attack and peck the other sick or injured animals and am just hoping this is the case and I can get this chicken healed and back to normal and then not have to worry about the other chicken or Peacock being a threat.  I have separated her, purchased Vetericyn Poultry Care to apply to the wounds in hopes it will help heal quicker.  I also started doing research on how to get rid of mites and parasites in case that is the issue.  I was told Sevin Dust could be used, but feel it could be dangerous to the chickens or other animals.  I have also found food chemical codex grade powder I have considered trying but have yet to find out what exactly it does or how to use it.  Any ideas on what is wrong with my chickens and what I can do or need to do different to take care of this problem?Thank You, Cassie

post #2 of 2

As long as there are wounds or any blood on her, the chickens will *pick/peck* at them and make the problem worse.  You need to separate the one who is injured until there are no visible wounds, at least.    Did you see if there were mites/lice?   That could have been the original problem.   Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I will chime in also, but I think stopping the wet cat food would be a good idea.  We keep their scratch separate from the laying pellets also because they will eat all the scratch out of it(like kids with candy).   

I don't know anything about peafowl, but I do see them coexisting with chickens here in one of our neighbors yards.    

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