Featherless Head/Recovering from bullying.

zs14

In the Brooder
Apr 11, 2018
8
1
14
Hi friends, I received 27 chickens via Hoovers April 13th (7 weeks ago). We got a variety of breeds, including a Leghorn, GLW, Brhamas, New Hampshires, Polish, some Sex-Links and a couple more. Because of some permit troubles, at 6 weeks (when we deemed it time to put the birds outside) we still did not have a permit to put the birds in, so I made a 4x5 foot mesh pen for them to live in. Recently, I began to notice some feather loss in the head and back of one of the Polish hens, and the back of 2 of the smaller Brahamas. At first, I thought this was a result of exposure to water, but not I am thinking it is because of bullying. I brought the harmed chickens inside, put the Polish seems to be really shaken up. What can I do to help him recover? And do you guys agree that it is pecking?
Thanks in advance!
 

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oldhenlikesdogs

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Crowding will cause pecking in young birds, and you have a lot of them. They definitely need a lot more room. Polish are a big target for pecking. If you aren't housing them in a big area you may continue to have problems with the polish being pecked and even killed. Your polish is picked pretty bad. How many total polish? You may have to remove them from the group. Definitely give your chicks a lot more room or it will get worse.
 

zs14

In the Brooder
Apr 11, 2018
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1
14
We have 2 Polish hens, the one that got pecked is by far the smallest bird in the flock. I put the 3 (polish and 2 Brahmas) who have been pecked at back in their brooder (which is inside). First thing tomorrow I will double the size of their pen. Do you think I should put the other Polish in the brooder as well? Also, do you have any idea of how the recovery from something like this goes?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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Generally it's recommended to keep multiple polish in a mixed flock. A single or in your case only 2 polish could be a bad thing. It will take a few weeks for the feathers to grow back in, but as chicks grow the crest skin will randomly be exposed through the multiple baby molts, so they do need to be watched.

With polish often if there's skin showing on the crest other breeds will peck at the head, and it can turn deadly. You may want to figure something else out for them. I would definitely remove the other polish.

Polish in general require extra management because of their crests, and their sometimes odd behaviors due to the crest and having their vision blocked because of them. Some polish can also have vaulted skulls which adds extra difficulty to keeping them.

Bluekote can sometimes be used to hide blood and skin coloring temporarily.
 

zs14

In the Brooder
Apr 11, 2018
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1
14
Thanks for the tips, maybe we'll consider adding more polish to the flock in exchange for some other breeds. Any idea of what the ratio should be?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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I've had luck keeping 4 or more in a large free range flock. I keep mine trimmed so they can see better. In a confined flock I'm not sure what number is best, but greater than 4-5 will distribute the interest enough that it's no longer a novelty hopefully. Not sure what your situation is. You may need to figure out what's best for you and your flock.

If you use bluekote, I find it's best to put them down while the birds are still damp so any curious pecking results in a bad taste. I sometimes use it in the fall on my polish if they are having a hard molt and their crests are attracting attention.

I too like a few polish around despite the bit of extra work. You will have to find what's right for your situation and flock dynamics.
 

zs14

In the Brooder
Apr 11, 2018
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Thanks so much for your help again, its greatly appreciated! Were did you buy your blue kote from? I have seen it at hatcheries websites, is there any place better to buy from?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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Thanks so much for your help again, its greatly appreciated! Were did you buy your blue kote from? I have seen it at hatcheries websites, is there any place better to buy from?
I get mine at a local farm store. It's a wound spray. Tractor supply carries it generally if those are in your area, otherwise check your local farm store.
 
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