Feather pecked cockerel

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Stephine, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I posted in the diseases/injury section and have gotten no response so I am teying again here:

    When I let my chicks out into their run this morning I found one of my two 15 week old cockerels with a severely pecked tail and bleeding. This is a buff brahma and he is the roo that behaves more like the hens, not the top roo.
    He has some patches at the root of his tail pecked bare and long tail feathers bit off and bleeding at the stumps.
    I took him inside with me and sprayed some vetericyn on the wounds - not easy, he does not want to be handled.
    Now he is unhappily standing in the little oen I set up for him.
    Grrr. I saw one of the hens pull one of his tail feathers (one of the more dominant hens), then a girl on the very bottom of the pecking irder take a peck at him - that's when I saw that he was bleeding.
    So: what do I do now?
    I have 13 pullets, 2 cockerels (this brahma was a sexing error from the hatchery, the other, a Welsumer was the one I ordered), they are 14 and 15 weeks old.
    Do you think this was the other cockerel who started it? That one is very much the top chicken. Or just the hens?
    I know I can only keep one of the roosters anyway - should I just give away the brahma roo now? And what would be the best way to find a new home for him then?
     
  2. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update:

    The poor lad was so unhappy and scared in the house I made a little corner for him in the run and put him there. Before I put him out I dabbed the violet goop I got for him all over tge plucked spots on his tail and the broken (bit?) off stumps of the tail feathers. The poor guy was so unhappy and looks so raggedy...
    Not sure where to go from here. I wonder if he would be safe with them over night in the coop. If I got up really early and put him back in his corner of the run at the crack of dawn?
    Argh. Yesterday everything was still fine and he was healthy and gorgeous....
     
  3. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dang - I think I found the culprit! I just saw one of the GLWs first take a peck at Barred Rock, then at a Speckled Sussex, then at the Welsummer roo, this time aiming for a feather which she didn't get because the roo turned around and then at one of the light brahma pullets, pulling a bigger feather, and then pulling a downy feather out of yet another chick. I scooped the GLW up immediately and put her in solitary. Grrr. What do I do??? Now I have a badly pecked roo and a mean pullet both in seperate make shift little pens.... The roo looks awful. The purple goop still makes his tail look quite reddish rather then blue. I am waiting for sunset now and will put everyone back together for the night and separate again at the crack of dawn... or maybe keep the GLW apart? Should I try to give her away?
    It would be so nice if anyone could chime in here... I am just talking to myself...
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  4. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone?
     
  5. azjustin

    azjustin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hate feather picking/pecking.....

    We adopted (rescued) 30 or so hens and a roo that probably have 4 tail feathers between the lot of them. Blu kote helps when it's applied, but redirects the picking to the others. The poor roo has a bloody butt and just lets the others pick, no coatings seem to help.

    Personally, I'd separate the picker and let the pickee heal. Don't let this spread to the others, you'll have a mess on your hands.

    Good luck.
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    How much space do you have for your birds? (feet by feet) Do they free range? What are you feeding them? Are they getting enough protein? Feather picking is a bad habit that does tend to manifest itself in crowded conditions.
     
  7. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They have a 6x10' house and a 6x13 or so run. They just went out to the coop three weeks ago. They will be free ranging but some of them - the Speckled Sussexes and Barred Rocks - are still on the smaller side and I want to make sure they are too big for the resident cat before they get to roam. I let all of them out for the firat time yesterday - supervising. Astonishingly the Welsummers (including the roo) and Wyandotte (one, as the perpetrator was in solitary), never made it out of the run , neither did the BRs.... Everybody else seemed thrilled to explore. We will continue tlo move forward with free ranging, but will have to take it slow, since I also have a dog to train to watch over them...
    They eat scratch and peck grower feed and piles of weeds I bring them each morning, plus mealworm treats at bestime and the occasional watermelon/cucumbers when it's hot.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  8. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you!

    It seems to be just that one Wyandotte. I have kept her separate from the others during the day and have seen no picking. At night I put her in the coop after dark and get her out before the sun comes up. The first night that worked - I set her on the floor and she was on the floor in the morning when I came to get her-, but last night we had a full moon and the dang bird made it onto the roost, and I promptly found a small pile of feathers on the poop board in the morning. I'll keep her in the house tonight. I wonder if I should keep her completely separate from the flock for a while to reform her? I wish the brahma roo gave her a nice peck on the noggin when she pecks at him... But no.
     
  9. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update:
    No more feather pecking that I can tell since I removed the crazed hen. She has been isolated since I saw her go after 5 chicks in the matter of seconds and pull feathers out of two of them.
    Tge pinless peepers have arrived and I will put them on her today, then let her roost with the flock tonight, let them out at day reak and watch her closely to see how it goes. And of course work on getting them free ranging. The hawks are what worries me most right now. Hope the dog gets the hang of things quickly!
     

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