Chicken pecking others

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cknsonthehill, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. cknsonthehill

    cknsonthehill New Egg

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    Dec 14, 2016
    Hi there,

    We inherited 12 chickens when we moved a while back. The chickens pecked each other then and the previous owners were divided on whether it was due to mites or rudeness. Over the last couple months, there are 2 or 3 chickens that have grown in full feathers with no sign of pecking. The other day as I was taking care of the birds, I noticed one looked funny and realized that it's tail was completely gone. Another has it's tail mostly gone. I observed and noticed one of the full feathered birds pecking at these two. I'm wondering what we should do. A couple possibly pertinent pieces of information....

    They have plenty of space to run.

    We had a couple cold days where they spent more time in the coop and it was a bit after this I noticed the missing tails.

    There is fresh poop behind the nesting boxes, like the picked on ones are roosting back there for protection.

    Any advice?
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome to BYC. Congrats on your new flock. Have you checked them over for mites? Do a thread search re: mites and lice for info on how to check them, and what to do if you find them. It might be helpful if you can put your general location in your profile to help folks connect with you and give geographically appropriate advice. I'm guessing the birds missing the feathers are going into a molt. They are most likely roosting in the nest box cause they are getting picked on. Molting is uncomfortable, and they all know it. The birds in molt will avoid confrontation, and the rest will use that fact to elevate their status in the pecking order. Exactly what are the dimensions of your coop? Minimum space recommendation, especially in the winter months is 4 s.f./bird in the coop (for a back yard flock). Do you have room in there to make opportunities for alternate perching sites, multiple height areas for birds to go during the day, places where the picked on can get out of sight from the pickers? Perhaps a pallet propped up on a couple of hay bales, or a stack of hay bales? I'd also block off the nest boxes in the late afternoon. Poopy boxes are yucky to deal with.
     
  3. cknsonthehill

    cknsonthehill New Egg

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    Dec 14, 2016
    Sorry for the late reply...the coop and yard are adequate and we have a large area for them to free range...after reading about it and watching, it seemed that it is pecking order thing, so we relocated her to a nearby farm. Hoping the ones she picked on can recover and be happier and healthier now :) thank you for the help and advice! I think we might adjust our yard and add some of the things you mentioned to improve things for our birds!
     
  4. cknsonthehill

    cknsonthehill New Egg

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    Dec 14, 2016
    Oh, and i think there might be mites as well - going to dist with diatomaceous earth on a non windy day soon
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    DE will not kill off a mite infestation..before you treat for bugs.....
    Have you checked them over real well for mites and/or lice?
    Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.
    Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).
    Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.
    Google images of lice/mites and their eggs before the inspection so you'll know what you're looking for.

    Here's a good product and advice to use in warmer weather/climates to get rid of lice and mites
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1134783/permethrin-spray
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
  6. cknsonthehill

    cknsonthehill New Egg

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    Dec 14, 2016
    Ah, thank you for the advice!!
     

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