Am I sure they are pecking?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by billmac, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. billmac

    billmac Songster

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boy these posts move down the board fast. I posted about my chickens pecking a few days ago. Before I take steps, I want to be sure. The chickens are not pecking flesh as far as I can tell. There is no blood, just bare skin. Their necks, and chests are getting bare. Does pecking sometimes stop at the feathers?

    On a related note: Does beak trimming work to correct this and is it easy to do? I assume it does not harm the chicken?
  2. Liana

    Liana Songster

    Mar 9, 2009
    Southern NH
    Feather pecking can be caused by a few things - crowding, boredom, and nutritional deficiency come to mind. I don't know what your situation is, but I would try other methods before trimming their beaks. Do you know if it is just one bird doing it or are they all pecking?
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    This site talks about feather loss in general. I don't know if it will help you or not.

    Kansas State feather loss

    Different things can cause feather loss. Are you sure it is feather pecking?

    Will feather pecking stop at feathers. Sometimes. The danger is that they draw blood when they are pecking feathers and then they really start pecking that raw wound. They can kill a chicken pretty quickly when that happens.

    There are different reasons they will peck feathers. Maybe a lack of protein. Sometimes you get one that just likes to peck feathers. Overcrowding or boredom can cause it. Mites or lice can cause it. It is a whole lot easier to treat if you know what is causing it.

    Will beak trimming stop it? Depends on what is causing it. It will reduce the chances that they draw blood. Many commercial places automatically beak trim to stop cannibalism due to their overcrowding so in some circumstances it works.

    Does it harm the chicken. That is where you get into what you consider harm. Many of the people on this site would be horrified to think anyone would even consider "mutilating" a chicken that way. I see it more as a measure of last resort. If you determine it is one chicken or a few chickens doing it and you have eliminated all possible causes such as overcrowding or lack of protein and they just won't stop, I think your choice comes down to beak trimming or getting rid of the chicken. I personally would eat the troublemaker instead of beak trim, but that is just me.

    If you beak trim and do it right, you might need to take care on what you feed the chicken. They may have trouble eating pellets and need mash for example. I honestly don't know but it is something you might want to consider.
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Have you seen them pecking or are they simply molting?
  5. billmac

    billmac Songster

    Apr 10, 2009
    I've only seen pecking once, but I don't think they are moulting. They have been bare around the neck and chest for months. I have treated them for parasites numerous times.

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