Do I need to get pinless peepers or other "blinders"?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CountryBoy19, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. CountryBoy19

    CountryBoy19 New Egg

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    Aug 4, 2009
    Bedford, IN
    About a month ago we picked up 2 mature RIR hens to add to our flock of 6 BR & BO's. At first the new RIR's got bullied alot but in the last few weeks we noticed that they were bullying one particular hen that is very calm and gentle. We first noticed she was missing feathers in the tell-tale spot just in front of the tail feathers. One day my wife caught the 2 RIR ganging up on her and they backed her into a corner and went to town yanking feathers. We just assumed they would eventually get the pecking order straightened out and stop the bullying but more recently she has been picked so bar that she is a bit bloody and now the BR hen is missing feathers too. We're very certain its the RIR hens that are doing the bullying as the 2 hens that are plucked keep their distance from the RIR hens and they are timid around them.

    Do we need to intervene now? Or just let them tough it out?

    Do blinders cause problems with free-ranging (as in the hens being less wary of predators etc)? Our coop is a bit small for 8 full-size hens (20 sf coop & 40 sf of run) but we let them out as soon as one of us gets home from work. We used to let them free-range all the time until the local hawk population caught on.

    Egg production is still good. We have a light in the coop from 3am to sun-up and then natural daylight until dusk. We've been getting 6 or 7 eggs per day (reliably) for a couple weeks now that the new RIR's got settled in and the pecking order is mostly figured out.
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    If you have a lot of trouble with aggressive hens and have tried everything else, you can head for the pinless peepers for some help. I have a very aggressive hen that at 6 months old turned into a monster. LOL I had hoped she would grow out of it, but never did. She got so aggressive that she was even coming after me. Even drawing blood several times! So, not wanting to eat her or rehome her, I got pinless peepers. They SAVED the day, and the years! She is 2 years old now and occasionally I have to put them on her during her cranky times. She also is brutal on molting birds, ripping their blood feathers out. So...on go the peepers! These things HAVE adjusted her attitude over the years, and she is a LOT better than she used to be. I usually put them on for about a month or 2, then give her a break from them for a while. Seems like that keeps her under control for a few more months after that.

    For your situation, it will definitely stop the aggression, and over time, it may ease the tension between the birds and allow the new birds to adjust. Over time you may not need to use them on the aggressive ones. You can get these things pretty cheaply at http://www.eggcartons.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=PINLESS-P-1 You don't need the pliers to go with them if you have someone help you put them on. I found that soaking them in boiling water for a few minutes, made the plastic pliable enough that I am able to get them on myself after toweling the bird in my lap.

    Here is a pic of my monster that need the peepers...LOL

    [​IMG]

    They do not allow the hen to aim and point the beak directly infront of them. It takes them a day to get used to them, so I wouldn't free range on the first day. But they do adjust.

    Good luck with your hens!
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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