Constantly pecking at each other

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by COgeorge, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. COgeorge

    COgeorge In the Brooder

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    I introduced 4 new chicks to a flock of 3 hens earlier this spring. Initially, the hens were slow to accept the new chicks and would not let them in the coop at night. Being in a colder environment, I would manually place them in the coop at night to keep them out of the cold at night. As the chicks became of age to start laying eggs, the dominant hen would let them in the coop to lay eggs. It became a hide and seek game and the newer hens would eventually get into the coop to lay eggs. But this is when the fighting started. Eventually, one of the older hens, found herself at the bottom of the pecking order (no pun intended). Initially, the older two hens would leave or alone and sometimes defend her. But now she has nearly no feathers left on her back near the base of her tail. Nearly the entire flock shows some signs of battle, but this one particular just can't seem to be left alone. She is constantly being chased around the pen during the day and she eventually just lays down and protects her head. But even the older hens peck at her back now and often cause bleeding which only increases the pecking at her. Really worried about this. One, what can I do about the fighting and two, what can be done to protect or change the behavior toward this one hen. I was thinking of putting some of that sour spray used to stop dogs from chewing on things? Should I put some of that on her back? I do have antiseptic wound cleaner and no more pecking lotion (which does not work at all. PLEASE tell me someone knows how to address this issue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
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  2. imnukensc

    imnukensc Crowing

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    The only thing I've been able to find that helps is pinless peepers. My 2 older hens were mercilessly pecking one of my 4 younger pullets. I tried putting the older hens in chicken jail (large dog crate) for 2 weeks. The moment they were let out they immediately attacked the pullet. I put pinless peepers on both of the older hens. It hasn't completely stopped the pecking, but it has greatly reduced it.
     
  3. COgeorge

    COgeorge In the Brooder

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    Thank you for the advice. How long do you leave the pinless peepers on?
     
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  4. andreanar

    andreanar Crowing

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    You can try pinless peepers, BluKote, jailing the peckers for a few weeks or get the poor hen a saddle for her back. If chickens see a wound, they will all start pecking at it.
    Honestly tho, if it were my hen, I would rehome the poor thing.
     
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  5. COgeorge

    COgeorge In the Brooder

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    I just love this hen too. She is so sweet. makes me sad.
     
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  6. andreanar

    andreanar Crowing

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    Its always the favorite! Ugh. I don't like the pinless peepers, my flock free ranges all day and I need them to be able to at least see any dangerous predators.
     
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  7. Evelyn's Mom

    Evelyn's Mom Songster

    I read somewhere that separating the "picked on" in a cage that is visible or within the main run may give her time to heal and may actually boost her confidence so that when you let her out, she can stand up for herself... I don't know where the thread is or if I read it somewhere else... just a thought..
     
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  8. COgeorge

    COgeorge In the Brooder

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    I ordered some saddles and peepers. I am also going to separate her for awile
     
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  9. AGirlAndHerChickens03

    AGirlAndHerChickens03 Songster

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    Unfortunately, I'm not going to be much help for the pecking problem. I've never had to deal with it THAT bad before. Usually for me, they peck each other once in a while to maintain dominance, but your case seems like they do it for fun.

    You said that they cause her to bleed and have bare spots which leads to more pecking and more bleeding and more bare spots. I suggest you buy some Blue Coat. It's an antiseptic spray that will turn the affected area blue for a while to make it less visible to the other chickens. Their eyes are attracted to red, but blue draws less attention. Blue Coat has been AMAZING for me when I've needed to apply it to injuries or bald spots. Be careful when applying, though. It will stain you for days.
     
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  10. imnukensc

    imnukensc Crowing

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    The peepers are still on. It's been about 2 weeks. I should also mention that when I introduced the pullets they were 3 weeks old and in a see/no touch situation for over a month. The pullets are now about 5 months old and are all laying. The one that was pecked terribly was the first to lay. I've also used Blu Kote. It helped with the healing of the pecked pullet, but did nothing to stop the pecking. If you do use Blu Kote, be sure to wear gloves while applying it. It stains badly and for quite a long time.
     

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