Difference between rooster damage and picking injuries? (Emergency?)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Uzuri, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. Uzuri

    Uzuri Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    I had a hen with a bare back a couple weeks ago who is now in hospital. The day I brought her in I noticed that she was red on the bare spot, but not bloodied. I thought it was picking at the time.

    Now I have another hen who I just noticed was going bare today -- clearly, though, whatever is causing it has been happening for a bit, because she has what looked to be scabbing-over scratches. Now I'm thinking more in the line of rooster damage, because obviously nobody's picking her wounds open (or they wouldn't look like they did, which is nasty, but at least closed up).

    So how do I tell if it's picking as opposed to Rooster? Are there any signatures of either? He's not even old enough to have real spurs, but his nails are sharp. He doesn't appear to be real nasty about mating like I was afraid he was going to be, but he is big, and heavy, and awkward. He doesn't appear to be ripping their heads or combs any more -- I think he's figured out his balance better.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  2. farmin'chick

    farmin'chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    Rocky Mount VA
    I can't tell with mine, except by watching them. I had a new roo come in that got feather picked as nekkid as an overused hen -- and I got a few hens in that were badly rooster worn. They looked the same! The roo's feathers grew back in quicker, though. I use BluKote on them -- to help discourage picking by other hens in case of bloody spots.
  3. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    Our silkies are in a separate coop. When I have a particularly pecked egglayer I will put her in with the silkies for a few weeks and wait for improvement in the feathering. Often it is the hens at the bottom of the hierarchy that get picked clean. But sometimes they are just molting or being over-used by the rooster. Sometimes things improve for those hens when they are re-introduced, sometimes not.

    Separating the hens also lets me know their egglaying status, good or slacker, since the silkie eggs are easy to tell apart from an RIR or EE. The one I have in the A-frame now is giving me an egg per day. And considering that I have 17 egglayers and we are only getting 2-5 eggs per day...she's a keeper even if she looks like she went through a wind tunnel. [​IMG]
  4. Uzuri

    Uzuri Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    To clarify, there are actual cuts I know that just missing feathers can be just about anything, and you can't tell one from another without actually seeing it happen. I'm more concerned about whether the actual injuries are rooster-caused or picking-caused and whether there's a way to tell.
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I would seperate the rooster for a few days and see if any more bare spots appear. If not, then I think you've got your culprit. If so, then you'll know it was picking.

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