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Chicken Pecked and Torn Comb

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MonTXChickens, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. MonTXChickens

    MonTXChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2014
    Montgomery, TX
    Help Please! We have a 6 month old Brown Danish Leghorn that has been bullied. She has been pecked on her head until there is a quarter sized deep wound. Also, the bullies have torn her comb from the rear and it is darkened. Other than the wounds, she seems fine. She seems to be eating and drinking and moving around as normal. She does seem a little more skitish than normal but the leghorns are kind of flighty anyway so its hard to judge. We have isolated her in a small pen we had that is 2' by 2' we use to introduce baby chicks to grass. It is a temporary arrangement I hope! What can we do for her? How do we prevent infection? Can we expect her to survive? How do we reintroduce her back to the flock once she is better? Thanks for your help!
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Flush the area well with water or saline solution, then apply a good coating of Neosporin. They usually heal well from these kinds of injuries. The problem is going to be integrating her back into the flock. You need to find out who the instigator is. If there are one or two birds that start in on her and get the others going then those birds need to be pulled out for an extended time out, like a week. See how the others do and try putting them back in after their time out.

    Once your hen has started to heal up, apply a coating of Blu Kote to help hide the area from the others. I'd probably start by putting her out with the lowest bird on the pecking order and slowly add more birds and see how things go. This may be a problem you have to work on quite a bit, pecking can be very hard to break, especially if multiple birds in the flock have gotten into the habit and have it in their heads to go after this one bird. Free ranging with or near them may work to help things along, I certainly would not put her into a small coop/run with them for a long time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  3. MonTXChickens

    MonTXChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2014
    Montgomery, TX
    Thank you for the reply! I will clean it up with the saline and neosporion asap.

    What is Blu Kote, a name brand? We tried some peck stop stuff before but it was purple. It stained the white feather chicken and may have helped her some but not on the others. Do I get Blu Kote at a typical feedstore? There is a lot of pecking in this flock. I am afraid I left them in too small a space for too long or too many in the coop when I got them started. Currently, There are thirty in a coop and run. If I have read correctly, I think there should be adequate space. I hope so anyway. We live in a historic district of a small town. We don't have a fence around the place so I can't free range at this time. Previously there were 36 but I sold six chickens to thin things down some. That may have helped a little. Some of the chickens that did not have tails and naked butts have started to get feathers back. Some still have been getting plucked. I try to watch for bullies but there is so much pecking and plucking that I don't know who the instigator(s) is. I think there is a barred rock that could be the biggest offender but as soon as I focus on her to see, someone else is the instigator. The buff brahmas have no tail and completely naked butts, the rhode island red has no tail but has feathers on her butt, and many of the leghorns don't have either but some have tails and covered butts. All of the barred rocks have their tail, the light brahma is getting hers back, and the black and gold sex link have their tails. There is no rooster in the mix. This is the first major incident with such injury. I really would like to get a handle on the pecking but, like you said, this habit is hard to break. I don't even really know how to identify the pecking order. This is our first chick adventure. In the other pen of chickens with Ameracaunas, Black Jersey Giants, and a few other assorted chickens (faverolle, silver laced wyndotte, new hampshire), we have not had any of this behavior.

    I would appreciate any tips, tricks, or any solutions you have to offer.
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    You should be able to find Blu Kote at most feed stores or Tractor Supply. It is actually a deep purple color when applied.

    30 birds in one pen is an awful lot unless you have a seriously big pen. What are the measurements of your coop and run? Since you have a pecking problem in this flock you may have to really cut down on the numbers in that pen and get rid of the most aggressive birds that you see doing the most picking. It can often be almost impossible to stop a picking problem once it starts in a flock especially if they are confined.
     
  5. MonTXChickens

    MonTXChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2014
    Montgomery, TX
    the run it's over 210 square feet (can't remember the exact but it's close) and the coop is about 80 square feet. The coop is an adapted storage building. It was recommended 2 to 3 ft per chicken in the coop and 6 to 10 ft total on the coop and run together. I can expand the run this Fall if need be but I'm kind of locked in on the coop size.

    What is the best way to identify the bullies? They don't really peck each other while we watch them. We really only see the result.
     
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    In general the minimum space requirements for standard size birds are considered 4 square feet per bird in the coop and 10 square feet in the run. Those are minimum standards that *usually* keep most people out of trouble. I personally don't consider the stated minimums to be near enough space and have always either made my pens much bigger or kept fewer birds. There will always be people who say you can cram birds into minimum square footage, but when problems do arise they are often difficult to solve. Sometimes impossible. It's far easier to prevent problems then to try to solve them when they crop up.

    As for figuring out who your aggressive birds are? If it's not evident during the day maybe they are fighting over roost space at night? Are there any birds who do not show signs of pecking? Those may be your higher ranking and more aggressive birds.

    Good luck, hope you can sort them out, it's not an easy problem to solve. You might try adding some entertainment in their run, a few flakes of alfalfa and toss some scratch or meal worms on top for them to "forage" for. Anything to give them something to do and distract them from picking each other can help.
     
  7. MonTXChickens

    MonTXChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2014
    Montgomery, TX
    thank you! As a new chicken owner, I realize there are more things I don't know than do. There is a lot of information out there, some of it good and some bad. I think learning from a person with experience is more valuable than a hundred websites full of information. Thanks for your help!
     
  8. MonTXChickens

    MonTXChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    133
    6
    51
    May 28, 2014
    Montgomery, TX
    Update - The chicken healed okay but we had to keep her out of the pen for weeks... We reintroduced her back into her flock. She is so timid and hides. I don't think she is laying. She must be the lowest on the pecking order, and by a lot, because every time she gets near any of the other chickens, they peck her or lunge at her. They basically chase her off and make her run away. She seems to have no friends. However, she did survive a fairly ugly injury which means she is strong.
     

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