Excessive vent feather pecking - cannibalism

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Easter Chicks, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. Easter Chicks

    Easter Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 17, 2015
    Just today I happened to witness one of my hens violently rip out feathers from another one of hen's (Lily) butt. I then noticed that Lily's backside is all bloody. It was not like this yesterday. Then Gobbles has a bare butt, Al has a bit of blood but not much.
    They've been going through a weird mid-winter molt. This is my first time keeping chickens through the winter. It's been a weird one, what with it melting and freezing every couple days. Penny still has frost bite on her foot which was getting better but now that it melted and froze again, I think I'll have to bring her back into the garage. Except that Lily is in there with her bloody but and my parents will not let me keep four chickens in the garage, which wouldn't help anyway because they're all pecking. My mom's going to wash her off and then we'll assess the damage. She's not actively bleeding but there's a lot of fresh blood.

    I'm sorry, this post is all over the place. What I'm asking is, if you've dealt with excessive feather pecking, how did you treat it? They were out of food (not for long, though), so could it be because they were hungry? Could they also be protein deficient? How can I raise their protein besides sunflower seeds? Can it be because they're cramped? It's winter and it's dark when everyone gets home so they don't go out much/don't want to. Any advice would be highly appreciated. It seems like winter brings the most problems if you're not prepared for them.

    I will update on what we're doing and can give pictures if they'd be helpful.
     
  2. Easter Chicks

    Easter Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update: We washed her off and it's not bleeding, just very red. We put a big band aid on it. We'll see what happens when we put her back with the others, I just hope they don't peck off the band-aid.
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Feather picking and vent pecking can lead to cannibalism and death. This happens due to too little protein in th diet, over crowding, not getting out to roam around, boredom, and possibly other reasons. Can they go outside their coop and run while you all are at work or school? I would a the least put them outside for a few hours a day before dusk, but most chickens like more time earlier in the day. You can increase protein by switching to a Flock Raiser or all flock feed that is 20% protein, but add crushed oyster shell in a pan for free feeding. 24% gamebird starter is another way to increase protein when added to layer feed. Chopped eggs, and a good dry cat food can also raise protein. Separate any bullies to lower their spot in the pecking order. Spray any bare or red spots with BluKote. Triple antibiotic ointment or Vetericyn is good for bloody areas. Some use a hanging cabbage or spread some chopped greens in th coop to help with boredom, but nothing helps better than getting out to free range.
     
  4. Easter Chicks

    Easter Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 17, 2015
    They are in their run all day. I let them out for an hour or so when it's warmer. They usually head inside on their own. They eat laying feed and lots of sunflower seeds. I'll have to watch and see if it's one chicken in particular and if so, separate her, but I think they're all kind of doing it because they're molting. I'll have to try the hanging cabbage. Thank you, these are all good tips I'll have to try out! For now she has a band-aid on but that won't stay on forever. I'll have to try to let them out more, especially as it's nearing spring. I've just lost many hens by letting them free range so we don't them out without supervision anymore.
     

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