Chicken "pecking order"

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mporter80, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. mporter80

    mporter80 New Egg

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    May 6, 2013
    We have an issue with our backyard chickens and I need advice. We have four chickens of varying breeds. At the bottom of the pecking order is our Buff Orpington, Peep. In the past couple of months two of our chickens have started picking on her literally. They also jump on her back and peck at her (as if they were a rooster). As a result, the feathers on the tops of her wings have all sheared off. This is a problem both because it is probably painful for her, but also because she needs those feathers during Colorado winters. I have also started to see blood and am worried about canibalism. Before you ask, yes, our chickens have plenty of space and enough access to food and water that they do not fight over it.
    My question is this- do we get rid of the two bird that are picking on Peep, or do we get rid of Peep (by "rid" I mean try to rehome her)? The hard part is that we love Peep. In typical Orpington fashion, she is as sweet as can be, but she is in pain and her personality has changed. She wont even eat out of my hands anymore, but hand back because she is scared of the repercussions of the other chickens.
    Any guidance would be appreciated.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I would separate the 2 bullies for a week in a separate pen or a large dog crate with food and water--if you have a separate building or a basement or garage, that would be best. I would put some anti-pick lotion or some bad-tasting ointment on her picked areas--Nustock, Bag Balm, and Vicks. Oldtimers used pine tar, but it is pretty messy. Make sure that they are getting at least 16-20% protein in their feed by limiting treats. Then after putting the bullies back in, I think you will need to decide which ones to get rid of. Peep may always get picked on if she is too docile, but I would also check her to make sure she is not sick in some way, and that is why they are picking at her. Chickens will get along much better if they are allowed out to free range. I once gave away 4 beautiful well laying wyandotte to a friend because they bullied everyone in the flock.
     
  3. mporter80

    mporter80 New Egg

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    May 6, 2013
    Thank you. We are running home over lunch to do all of this. It is just breaking my heart.
     

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