Any help, my hens are eating the siding off my house!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ivytwilight, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. Ivytwilight

    Ivytwilight Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello, here is the problem...
    I let my two Dominique Hens forage in the late afternoon everyday (after the threat of most the hawks is over with. So far so good with that problem). The last week or so they have realized we have wood siding and it is an older house, so there have been repairs made with caulking. They are causing damage almost like woodpeckers would! They have caused quiet a bit of damage actually and yesterday evening I saw the one girl running around with a huge thread of caulking in her mouth, the other girl chasing her as though it was the greatest treat in the world. I managed to get that piece away from them, but Furbush, the more mischievous of the two girls, just goes right back and finds some more. I don't know if she is eating it. We just moved in here and painted the house a nice new color of yellow. Now there are huge spots were the wood is exposed and as I said it looks like woodpeckers have attacked the siding, only much lower to the ground.
    Is there ANYTHING AT ALL I can do to prevent this? Just shooing them away, even spraying the hose in the hens general directions does nothing. It scares them away for a few minutes and they come right back! You can tell what they are up to, as you can hear them pecking away at the side of the house from inside. It is not just one spot either, they will peck anywhere along the whole back of the house. We got them for the purpose of pest control (we had a scorpion problem and haven't seen any since they started foraging) and they are doing a great job of it. I don't want to keep them in a run all day, because the whole purpose of getting them would be...pointless. They do this behavior even when I am standing outside. They look over their shoulders, see me there, start yapping to one another, and run right for the house! They are almost taunting me at this point I think.
    I give them all sorts of treat, heck they eat better than I do, healthier anyhow! They have a decent sized yard to forage in as well! Plenty of bugs and they have destroyed my flowers. It's not like there is a lack of activities for them! I hope someone has a suggestion, because this cannot continue.
    Any help would be most welcomed!!!
    Thank you very much and Happy Holidays!
    [​IMG]
    Plouffe the desert chicken!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    I'm afraid the only thing that will stop them from eating something is to keep them away from it with a fence.
     
  3. mcoleman12

    mcoleman12 Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been doing an enormous amount of reading this weekend about tons of other things and remember reading that a medication for cold like symptoms was also good to use if you have a chicken pecking any others bald spot or such because they didn't like the taste of the meds- I know this sounds like no help, but this is like the third time i've come across your post and it all finally registered. If you put something yucky tasting on the spot they peck then maybe they will stop? If I remember right the product I was reading about was Vet Rx, I wouldn't recommend this specific product because it would be kinda pricey but its an equivalent to vicks vapor rub for chickens. Maybe do some research on stuff chickens don't like or what to apply to chickens to keep other from pecking them? Ok this all sounds crazy but if its the only idea you get... its better than cooking them!!
     
  4. daoustaj

    daoustaj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try vaseline? Chickens hate oily beaks, lemon juice or hot sauce maybe? Or put up chicken wire along the side of the house they are pecking at, staked a couple inches away.
     
  5. TweeTea

    TweeTea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would give that a go!

    I had a similar problem with my cockatiels (small parrots) eating the inside of my house, they LOVE gyprock. I tried a 'stop pick' spray on the area which is supposed to be bitter tasting to deter birds from picking at their feathers, but it did nothing to deter them from the gyprock, and by the sounds of your girls obsession would probably do nothing for a caulking addiction. I ended up tapeing the area the birds would land on to access the attack zone. Tried everything else and this was the only thing to break their bad habit.
     
  6. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    When I as a kid we had a couple of cockatiels that loved to raid the bookcases and chew up the books. Had one for some years that would chew up just about anything. Now I have one that thankfully just sort of keeps to her own little area and doesn't do any of these things. But in all cases, the only fix is to put up a physical barrier. Same with the chickens, I'm afraid.
     
  7. Ivytwilight

    Ivytwilight Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 19, 2012
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    Thank you everyone very much for the suggestions!!
    I was hoping against hope that it wouldn't have to be a physical barrier, as it is a very long, one story house and it will be an expensive venture to get any kind of barrier that doesn't look "icky" (and since my husband and I have put months of work into making this house look nice I know he isn't going to want to put up ugly chicken wire along the whole of the house. Money is a little tight after all the repairs!). I already had him build their run and coop and he even painted it to look like the house and added a cute shingle roof! (So adorkable of him!) They don't eat their coop, no just our house. I guess I will try lemon or Vaseline in the really bad spot they are pecking. (We have a lemon tree in the front yard and far too many lemons to use anyway, so why not try.....)
    Maybe if I hope really hard it will work... [​IMG]
    I will let everyone know what solution we finally come up with, thanks again!
     
  8. Rustywreck

    Rustywreck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Is the caulking the same color as the wood? If not, you could try using caulking that is the same color, or caulking that can be painted or stained. My thought is that if the chickens can't see the difference between the caulking and the wood they may not mess with it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
  9. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Oh dear, silly things aren't they! I know it isn't funny to you but I did have to laugh at your description of them taunting you with this! [​IMG] The problem with chickens is that once they get something in their head it's very hard to get it out again! Just the same as when they start the habit of pecking each other, it can be very hard to change their ways. I am afraid that the only way to really break them of this is to keep them away from it for an extended period of time and hope that when you do take down the barrier they don't look at you over their shoulders and run right for it again! I suppose the vaseline might be worth a try although messy. I doubt the lemon will faze them at all. Good luck!
     
  10. TweeTea

    TweeTea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I sometimes use a cheap gutter guard to deter my girls from things, it is only a couple of dollars a role (heaps cheaper than chicken wire) and would probably work really well for your problem. It is a lot shorter so far less visible along the side of the house, the trick would be to get it close enough to the house that they don't jump over it, but far enough away that they can't just reach over and peck it anyway.

    It kind of helps with my girls who are big heavy and not so flighty, if I let it sit a bit floppy, it means if they want to get over they have to go all the way, they can't jump up and sit on it to investigate the merrits of the other side.

    best of luck![​IMG]we await your next update and hopefully some pictures (mmaybe a shot of the girls running around with caulking worms, he he he)
     

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