Bad case of foot picking....

MsChickenMomma

Crowing
8 Years
Dec 2, 2012
22,933
137
391
Michigan
So I am having a pretty bad problem with picking in my flock of 6 hens. Foot picking, to be more precise. My hens are starting to pick at each other's feet, to the point where one of my hens can't even be outside without some kind of bandage, or they will pick at her feet so bad they are reaching the bone at one spot on her foot. This happened last year, and it took me 5 months to get one of my hens foot to the point where she could even be outside without a bandage. Just when I thought it was healed, or when it was almost healed, the girls would find a way to pull off her bandage and start picking, or they would tear open the freshly healed skin.

Well, after last years problem was taken care of, I thought they were done. But about a month ago they started picking open my blind hens feet, after she tore one of her scales and started bleeding. And it has been a constant problem ever since. Just when I think her foot is healed and the problem is done, they pick her back open again.

This morning I went out and they had pulled off both of her bandages (which I swear were on there really well), and picked open her feet again. Then when I was trying to get her out of the coop and away from them, I noticed that they have started picking at another hens foot.

What do I do about this? I don't think it's a problem with boredom. They don't seem bored. They get lots of treats, and they get to free range about once a week, and I always give them lots of grass clipping to pick at. So it's not boredom. It doesn't matter how much treats and things I give them to keep them busy, this problem still persists. What should I do? I can't get my hens feet to heal..... And I really can't deal with changing bandages on ANOTHER hens feet. So any ideas why they are doing this and what I can do to stop it? I'm going on a two week vacation in a month, and i really need to get this problem cleared up before I leave my hens in the care of someone else....

Thank you for any help and advice anyone is able to give.
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
59,116
50,663
1,302
southern Ohio
How much protein are they receiving in their diet? Most layer feeds are 16%, and if they are pecking each other, they may need more protein, more room, or they need to get outside more. Is one hen in particular doing this? Bad tasting ointments or creams such as Nustock, Vicks, or even pine tar will usually prevent pecking. Pine tar can be messy, but it has been used for generations.
 

MsChickenMomma

Crowing
8 Years
Dec 2, 2012
22,933
137
391
Michigan
I live in the city limits, and part of our ordinance is that their run can not be larger than 8x10, and they are not allowed outside of it. Which is why I don't let them out very often, because I could get my chickens confiscated if I were to get caught doing so.

I'm not sure if it's protein they are lacking. But I could try bumping up their protein a bit and see if that helps. I don't think just one hen is the culprit. I was under the impression that one of my Leghorns was doing it, but she is now getting her feet picked at as well.

I'll try some Vicks tomorrow. I tried blu-kote, thinking that would help. The purple just seemed to draw more attention and made matters worse, so I stopped using it.

Thank you for your help. :)
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
59,116
50,663
1,302
southern Ohio
I hope you can get it stopped. I have had good luck with BluKote, but others have had the same experience as you. Nustock is a pine oil and sulfur based cream that heals just about anything. It is thick, pale yellow, and it tastes bad, so if the Vicks doesn't help, that one is good.
 

MsChickenMomma

Crowing
8 Years
Dec 2, 2012
22,933
137
391
Michigan
I hope you can get it stopped. I have had good luck with BluKote, but others have had the same experience as you. Nustock is a pine oil and sulfur based cream that heals just about anything. It is thick, pale yellow, and it tastes bad, so if the Vicks doesn't help, that one is good.
Alright, thank you. I'll be sure to try that if the vicks doesn't work.
 

MsChickenMomma

Crowing
8 Years
Dec 2, 2012
22,933
137
391
Michigan
Update: Tried the Vicks. It worked really well. Until we got rain while I was not home, and the Vicks washed off. So I came home to find her feet picked open again....

My mother came up with an idea that I thought was pretty brilliant, and that was to spray all of my hens feet with blu-kote, so that nobody has any abnormalities on their feet to pick at. I just sprayed all of their feet an hour ago, so I have yet to see how it worked out. We shall see! They all look pretty silly right now, but if it fixes the problem with picking, I think it's worth it. :)
 

HappyHensFarmWV

In the Brooder
Jun 19, 2015
81
16
47
I don't now if your issue has been resolved. .but I bought these treat dispenser toys at Tractor Supply..they are yellow balls that open to put treats inside..you could get a couple of those and put kitten food inside..that would up the protein and give them something else to pick at (it will only release food when picked at or rolled).., I've heard of people hanging cabbage and other treats as a boredom buster too but I've never tried that myself.
For a medicine that will work fast..look up ISP ointment (best way to reach the girl is through facebook) but her dad was a vet and invented it..he recently passed and she has taken over but the medicine is AMAZING. .I worked on a horse farm and my first day a horse came off the hill will a severe wound on her back knee..I could fit almost my entire hand inside the wound (think she was tangled in barbed wire for a few days is my guess) but owners lived out of state and told me to have the vet put her down bc they didn't want to deal with it.. I put her in a small pasture, gave her a dose of penicillin and treated the wound with nothing but ISP and a little bit of Wonder dust to discourage flies. It took almost 2 months to heal, but by the time I was done treating , she only had a very thin hairline scar that showed she was ever wounded..it is a miracle med imo..
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom