Bumpa Bits - has anyone used them and do they work?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Getaway Farms, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. Getaway Farms

    Getaway Farms Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2014
    I have had trouble with feather pecking in my flock of hens for almost 8 months. I have 23 Black Star hens and 3 Orpington hens in the same coop. Almost half my hens have at least a small bald patch around their vent and/or back. Some have large bald patches. The feather pecking started last winter when we had a long Manitoba, Canada cold spell of minus 30 and colder and the hens were locked in a coop. Initially I thought the problem was having 3 roosters in the same coop which were constantly pouncing on the hens. I removed the roosters expecting the feathers to grow back, but they did not.

    I suspected that they may have mites, I have looked for mites on several occasions during the day and night and have not found any.

    Since spring the hens are allowed to free range for several hours a day. I only allow 1 rooster to free range with the hens at a time and I keep the roosters in a separate pen when the hens are not free ranging. I moved the hens to a new 10`x 12`coop to give them more room. I have tried keeping badly de-feathered hens in a separate pen and feeding them a boosted protein diet to grow their feathers back before returning them to the flock. I have tried separating suspect feather pecking hens. I have tried using anti-feather pecking gel products on the pecked hens. Everything that I have tried has had a minimal impact on the problem.

    Winter is coming and I want to add some new spring hens to the flock, but I am hesitant until the feather pecking problem has stopped.

    I have considered several steel bit type products and peepers which are kind of like blinders which attach to the beak by clipping into the nostrils, but these seem a little cruel.

    I am really curious about the Bumpa Bits. I see that they are available on amazon in the UK, but they will not ship to Canada.

    Has anyone used these Bumpa Bits?

    Are they available in Canada or the United States? If so from where?

    I have read that with these bits the hens will not be able to preen themselves. Is this a problem?

    Any other suggestions on how to stop the feather pecking?

    Thank you from Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada
     
  2. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 10, 2014
    How big is the coop?
     
  3. Getaway Farms

    Getaway Farms Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2014
    The current coop: The coop that they have been in for the last 5 months is 10 feet x 12 feet (120 square foot floor space) with a 7 foot ceiling. I have enough roost space for all birds. I have 8 nesting boxes as well as shelving for additional space. I have a light on a timer in the coop so that they get 16-17 hours of light daily.

    Prior to 5 months ago: Prior to the new coop 5 months ago, the chickens were in an 8 feet x 8 feet (64 square foot floor space) with a 7 foot ceiling, roosts and 4 nesting boxes (too few nesting boxes which may have caused stress in the coop). The old coop was a little tight and I had a few more hens last winter. I sold a couple hens and a few died, none died from cannibalism. Another issue with my old coop is that it was not insulated and with our cold winter I had a heat lamp on 24 hours a day so that the chickens stayed relatively warm. Too much light can cause stress as well.

    I have trimmed the very tips of the beaks of most of my hens with nail clippers as well, hoping that this would stop the feather pecking, but it hasn't really helped.

    I thought it could possibly be diet related. The hens always have hen ration and water available. They always have a small bin of crushed limestone and crushed oyster shells to pick at. I feed them whole grain wheat daily. I feed them vegetable and fruit scraps from the house almost daily.

    I think I have a few hens that just have developed a habit to feather peck and I have to find a way to make them stop.
     

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