Buff has been pecked horribly bad! Need advise on what to do - PLEASE

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by macliff, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. macliff

    macliff Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2012
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    Help! I am new to chicken raising and I am not sure what to do. I have 11 girls and I have a pecking probem going on in my coop!! I don't know who is the ringleader. My smallest Ameraucana girl has been harrassed for a while. She has been missing feathers on her back and tail but never had an open woond. There are a few others that I can tell have been feather pecked on their backs but not down to skin. A few days ago one of my favorite Buffs was pecked badly, she had a good size wound and was bleeding. I took her right out and set up a dog crate in the garage. I treated her with a spray antiseptic and gave her some time away. She would free range during the day. The others were in the run but they could see her. I have read countless blogs and have tried many suggestions to try to curb the pecking I have hung things in the coop to help keep them from being bored, hung a red light in the coop, added more protein to their diet, I put straw in the run for them to scratch at since the ground is frozen to help keep them busy. Their run is 18x8 and coop is 8x6. I am going CRAZY trying to solve this problem! She spent 3 nights in the garage. Today I put the Buff back in the coop/run. BIG MISTAKE! All seemed fine. Until I went into the coop tonight to close them up for the night. She was on the floor in a corner of the coop while all the others where on their roosts. She was bleeding and her wounds are worse. She is opened up on both sides of her back. Horrible really! I hate knowing that she is hurt so badly. I know they aren't suppose to be considered pets but I do care about them! Except I am pretty mad at what they have done to her. I sprayed her again with the antiseptic and put cornstarch on the wounds to help stop the bleeding. She is acting fine (she is really very sweet) but looks pitiful! I plan to treat her wounds in the morning with peroxide. Will she heal? How long will it take? What else do I need to do for her? Should I put another girl in with her? When is the best time to do that? How long should I keep her away from the flock? Will she ever be able to be reunited with the others safely? How do I stop the pecking? Any and all advise is appreciated!!
     
  2. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like more than one hen is pecking your Ameraucana and your Buff Orpington. Have you tried watching them all together in the run? Maybe you could learn the culprit or culprits responsible. You may have to decide to remove the attackers out or the hens being attacked.
     
  3. macliff

    macliff Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2012
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    I have tried to watch them. I don't see it happening! It is SO frustrating. I see the occasional peck but nothing that would cause what happened tonight. I guess I need to spend a lot more time out there with them to try to determine who they are.
     
  4. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, which one in the flock is missing No feathers anywhere? That is probably the ringleader, that said if they see any blood they all will pick at it. I wouldn't put peroxide on wounds as it kills good tissue. You can use Neosporin but before you put her back with the flock Cover the wound - I use Blu Kote and make sure to cover bare skin, all wounds and feathers around the area w/it too. They don't like the taste of it.
    I have read how some find taking the ringleader out of coop for a few days, changes flock picking order.
     
  5. poultrypalacewhidbey

    poultrypalacewhidbey Out Of The Brooder

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    Whidbey Island, WA
    It sounds like your pen/coop space provides enough square footage for each bird and you have addressed issues of boredom and inadequete ration. Perhaps it is inherent agressiveness by one or more of the hens. Are any of the birds in your flock recent additions? Or are any much younger or older than the rest of the flock? If not I am not sure what is going on. If you can figure out which hen or hens is doing most of the pecking remove them from the coop. Removing the hens that are being pecked usually wont solve the problem because the next lowest hen on the pecking order generally ends up getting picked on. when you are watching the hens to try to find the perpetrator try to make it so they cant see you. Often aggressive hens will act normal when you are around and only try to peck the others when they are no longer distracted by your presence.
    edit: You can also look for blood on the beaks of any of your hens. this will tell you who is pecking, but remember that hens other than the one that started the pecking will often join in once a bird is injured (flock logic is not very nice to the individual who is hurt).
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    If you sit there long enough you are going to see some aggression towards each other....if not, have you considered you may have a small predator attacking these chickens? Awhile back someone was having a similar problem that escalated...found out rats were attacking her chickens.
     
  7. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had this problem with the pecking. It started with a roo I introduced to them. He would peck their feathers & feed them back to the girls. The girls caught on & started a pecking party. This went on forever I finally culled the roo. Then I isolated one that was pecked on to know end. It took over a month for her to grow her feathers back she went through a molt at the same time.Her feathers came back & I put her back with her flock.Another girl was also pecked to know end. I now have her isolated & she's healing as I type. Once, she's grown her feathers back she will go back to the flock as well.The other 9 members of the flock now all have fluffy butts & look great & are laying good. It was quite an experience. I was told to cull them but never gave up on them.
    I tried everything to stop the behaviour. I would suggest uping their protein. I fed mine GBS mixed with 20 % laying pellets & some boss every now and again. I mixed it half & half. They needed the extra protein to grow their feathers back. The flock has done a complete turn around. Don't give up you can fixs them. It takes forever but it can be done. Be careful with this mixture feed it for about a month than stop. To much protein can be bad for them. Good luck !!
     
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    You might also hang a couple of suet cakes in your coop for extra animal fats and occupation of bored hens.
     
  9. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I once had a problem that only happened on the roosts - one hen had a hole pecked in her at dusk. So, make sure you have enough roosting space - several levels helps. Also, outside roosts reduce pecking. Or, give them a straw bale for some to stand on. It sounds like you are doing a lot right, but sometimes you need more space. I've found that Wyandottes, Barred Rocks and RIRs get aggressive in mixed flocks unless given more space. Hang a second feeder.
    As far as wound care goes, once you have exposed skin you have to keep the hen out of the flock until healed. Use blu-kote to darken the skin. Don't overdo the peroxide, or the skin won't heal. In a couple of cases I've actually made duct-tape bandages (hats for picked-on Polish.) Look here:
    http://www.hencam.com/henblog/2009/10/punk-rock-hens/
     
  10. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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