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cannable attacks!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by squat, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. squat

    squat In the Brooder

    Aug 26, 2008
    Since we've had a ton of snow, our 6 chickens don't like to go outside the coop. We've had a few days that the temps were very cold and the wind was whirling inside the coop, so we blocked off the door to stop the wind. We opened it once the wind died down.

    There have been a few mornings that I go out to check the chickens and one of them, a Wellsummer, has been pecked so badly that the whole inside of the coop is spattered with bright red blood. The wood shavings had clumps of blood-soaked areas that were quite alarming. The pecked hen is missing most of her neck feathers now, and her comb below her beak has been pecked until it has a steady drip of blood. It's so upsetting, but I don't know how to stop it from happening. We have an herbal solution that we put on the wounds and it seems to help the healing and also keep the other chickens from pecking her, at least for a day or so.

    I'm afraid they will eventually kill her if they don't stop having these attacks. This has only happened about three times, usually in the early morning. We haven't closed off the door to the coop just in case that is what has caused the attacks, but it has still happened at least one other time for no apparent reason.

    Any suggestions or ideas of how to stop or avoid having this happen?

  2. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing Premium Member

    Poor girl!
    There are probably a few things happening. First- They are bored in the coop all day and picking is something they will start to do when bored or confined in a small space (and it sounds like you can't avoid that... the weather is the weather). Second- Once they get the taste of blood, they want it. The color of the blood is probably provoking them. Third- There may be diet issues, depending on what you feed them. Chickens will peck like that if they are lacking proteins.
    I would remove the injured bird because they will not stop as long as there are wounds on her. Bring her in the house, give her a break away from the others, and let her wounds heal. Give her some electrolytes in her water (or Pedialite, not grape flavored) and scrambled egg along with her normal feed. The scrambled egg has protein and will help her wounds heal and help with the feather regrowth.
    You'll probably have to reintroduce her very carefully after she is fully healed. When you're ready to do that, you can just repost and we'll walk you through that process. Good luck!
  3. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    some people get a small head of cabbage and hang it so the chickens can jump and peck at it..
    some just put it on the floor..
    it might help keep them busy and amused...

    hope the weather clears enough for them to get out some.
  4. If your bird is being pecked on you really need to isolate her until she heals. The girls can literally peck your baby to death. There is a product out ther called rooster booster and this stops cannabalism.
  5. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    I agree with the advise you've been given - definitely separate her until she heals. Also, try to come up with ways they can entertain themselves while in the coop. Add raked leaves to the coop floor and sprinkle black oil sunflower seeds over them, hide some fresh chunks of veggies under the leaves, hang a head of cabbage, anything to keep them occupied.

    Unfortunately, this can be a learned behavior and once one starts it, others join in. Even after separating the picked on hen, you really need to try to keep the others busy so they don't find another victim. From experience I can tell you this is a very difficult issue to resolve, but it can be done.

    Best of luck,
  6. PTSM

    PTSM In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2008
    Boulder, CO
    Hi there,

    This has also happened to me this winter. Last night, the chicken house was splattered in blood, and my NHR's foot was pecked down to the bone. We put iodine, Neosporin and band aids on there (topped by some masking tape to keep the bandage in place). Does anyone have a suggestion for bandaging up chickens? This seems to work for a little while, but she eventually picks at it and the band aids come off. I've separated her from the other 3 for the day (left her in the chicken house, the others in their run). Hopefully it will heal up..
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  7. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Quote:I've found VetWrap to be invaluable. You can buy it at the feed store. It is stretchy and sticks to itself like velcro but is easily removed. It comes in great colors but don't get the red or pink if you don't want the other chickens to peck at the one with the VetWrap on - get the black or dark colors. You can cut strips as long/short narrow/wide as you want and then stretch and wrap. I've wrapped chickens toes, whole foot, wings and even around the body since, with over 100 chickens, I always have a chicken in the chicken hospital.

    But, with most wounds, you don't want to cover them - they need to air out and dry out so isolating the chicken is the best way. I also find Furall to be invaluable. It's a yellow spray on antibacterial that repels flies and keeps the others from pecking at the wound and helps the wound to dry. Also bought at feed store. When I sew up an injured hen, I wash with Betadine scrub, apply Neosporin, then spray them yellow with Furall, then do not cover the wound, but isolate the chicken till it heals. They'll look like they've been spray painted but if you have to put an injured bird back with the flock it will keep others from pecking her and will keep the flies off (from laying maggots in wound).
  8. squat

    squat In the Brooder

    Aug 26, 2008
    Thank you so much! We will do these things asap!

  9. chutewoman

    chutewoman In the Brooder

    Dec 28, 2008
    Mid- Missouri
    I am dealing with canibalism at the moment. Lost two chickens so far but am now doing what I found in researching this site. Any wounds I see or even missing feathers, I spray blue kote on the area and put a good thick coat of pine tar on it. I did this to all the hens bottoms this morning, hurt or not (my hens are crazy). They all walked around checking each other for wounds and still pecked at it but shook their heads at the taste.(seems like a good sign to me, at least they are thinking twice before pecking again!) My plan is to keep a close eye for any new damage or bare spots and coat the area with both products. I have also increased their protein intake by adding a small amount of cat food to the feed, started adding vitamins to the water, and increase the green food intake with green beans or cabbage. Once this starts it does seem to lead to more so be sure and get the wounded bird out and start keeping an eye on the others. Good luck and if you find something that works please post it!!

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