cannibalism?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jeremy, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. jeremy

    jeremy CA Royal Blues

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    Oakland, CA
    Due to the weather being rainy and quite cold here lately, my hens have been spending a lot more time in their coop. I've noticed that my Delaware hens have started to peck the Silver Laced I have more and more so often. They've always been the more dominant breed, asserting themselves to the top of the pecking order from when we introduced the two flocks. But now it's getting to a point of where I think the Silver Laced may be getting injured.

    Some of them are missing feathers on their backs where their tail feathers start, and the skin has obviously been picked, looking raised and inflamed. I've heard of chickens becoming cannibalistic due to space confinements and lack of food. But for the past 5 months they've free ranged all over the back yard, and we feed them more than enough food. (They're honestly fat birds.) So why the hostile behavior? Is there anything I can do to stop it?

    I've heard of anti-peck powders? Does anybody have any experience with these?

    Thanks,
    Jeremy
     
  2. Dr.Doorlock

    Dr.Doorlock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For me and my pullets, the answer was "Pinless Peepers" from eggcartons.com. They hens seemed to adjust to these blinders after one minute or less. They would shake their head and tried scratching for just a moment and then carry on like nothing was different. Now they are almost full-feathered and ready to have them off.

    BTW, they don't come with the wiggle eyes. That was my idea to turn lemons into lemonade.

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  3. Chic Chick

    Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    lol I thought those peepers looked hilarious! I found them at our local hatchery also so I'm going to try them. But how does it effect the way they eat? How long can you safely leave them on for?
     
  4. FarmerDenise

    FarmerDenise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love the decor. [​IMG]
     
  5. Zahboo

    Zahboo Simply Stated

    Feb 3, 2009
    Hope Mills, NC
    It doesn't interrupt them. Until you get something, I'd seperate them. If they peck to the blood, they'll go crazy.
     
  6. jeremy

    jeremy CA Royal Blues

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    Dr.Doorlock :

    For me and my pullets, the answer was "Pinless Peepers" from eggcartons.com. They hens seemed to adjust to these blinders after one minute or less. They would shake their head and tried scratching for just a moment and then carry on like nothing was different. Now they are almost full-feathered and ready to have them off.

    dr.doorlock,

    first, thanks for the idea! the hens sure do look funny, but i guess if it works in the long run then a little humor never hurt anyone. i just have one more question.

    i bolded the section in your response that kind of raised a red flag for me above. from that i'm assuming that your pullets weren't full grown, or as old as mine are now. my chickens are a fully grown laying pullets, who'll be a year in april-may. so they are feathered, have already est. the pecking order, etc.

    so! as much as i like the pinless peepers idea i don't know if that's the solution to my hens problem. were your girls still maturing when this behavior started happening? or did you mean the feathers were growing back from the injuries due to the pecking? any feedback?

    jeremy.​
     
  7. Delta2 23

    Delta2 23 Flock Master

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    I think you could maybe hand a cabbage from the coop roof so they'll have something to peck at that doesn't involve each other. Chickens get bored too, just like us.

    For the moment you'd better separate them, the pecking will continue and if she starts bleeding, that'll be the end of them, poor things. Blood absolutely makes them go crazy!

    I let my chickens out in the rain. They love the rain and it's so cute to see them soaking wet and they shake themselves! A bit o' rain never did do any harm....
     
  8. cwc362

    cwc362 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never understood exactly how those peepers worked. Do you stick it throught their comb or what?

    Wayne
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  9. jeremy

    jeremy CA Royal Blues

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    a lot of you are saying that if one of the hens draws blood "she'll go crazy".

    what do you mean?

    thanks!
     
  10. hensonly

    hensonly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:The short answer is that chickens are carnivorous. If you want more detail, it means they will eat each other alive - I lost one that way this winter, everyone fine at morning feeding, two hours later I had a dead hen. It's not pretty. They do love the taste of blood. Twice this winter I've found them fighting over the carcass of a mouse that was so foolish as to venture into their run. Aren't you glad you asked?!![​IMG]
     

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