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Getting pecked to pieces

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Beccakortum, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. Beccakortum

    Beccakortum New Egg

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    I just got a small flock (4) about three weeks ago and one of them is getting pecked quite badly by the others. I know they are supposed to have a 'pecking order' but it seems like she is actually getting injured. There is a bald spot on her rump now and it is starting to look scabby. She has also not laid for about a week. What should I do to help her out?
     
  2. Sandstorm495

    Sandstorm495 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can apply powder (baby powder) to the part that has been pecked to discourage any further pecking. The hens won't like the taste of the powder and so won't continue. If it keeps on getting worse than you need to separate her.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Overrun With Chickens

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    There are a number of reasons why “pecking” may occur, with the most common being a lack of adequate space. Bored chickens, for some weird reason, peck each other. Once they’ve raised blood, it turns into a very bad thing, as it can get to the point where they will mortally injure another bird (the color red encourages pecking for some reason.)

    The first thing to do if this starts, is to increase the amount of space available for your birds. The smallest must have enough room to run to get away from the bully.

    The second thing to do is, make sure they’re not bored. Provide them with interesting things to do. If you can, let them day range or free range (if possible.) We use electric poultry netting to confine our birds, and it works very well for us.

    If you must keep them cooped up, provide them with distractions. Some hay to peck apart, a head of lettuce to peck at, some scratch grain tossed in the bedding to find, all can help. But ideally, chickens should have access to grass and the outdoors, with lots of room to roam. A bored chicken is a bad chicken…

    The other thing to look at is, are they pecking because they are plucking feathers from each other to eat? What are you feeding your birds? What is the protein level? Are you adding things in which could be lowering the level of protein? Inadequate protein levels can sometimes lead to feather plucking, which can lead to pecking.

    Let us know a little more about what you're feeding and how your chickens are housed and we'll see if we can do more to help.
     
    2 people like this.
  4. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    You could try getting some BlueKote spray (sold at livestock supply stores-- its coats wounds blue), and spraying the featherless/scabby area. This coats the wounds/featherless area in blue, deterring other chickens, as chickens like to peck at red colors, like blood. Some people say that BlueKote causes chickens to peck more at the blue color, but others say that it works. I haven't used it extensively, but the few times that I have used it, its worked.
     
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  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I agree with Pathfinders. You may want to hang out with your chickens to find the bully(s.) Separate them for a few days to try to rearrange the pecking order. I get rid of bullies after that.
     
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  6. Kyzmette

    Kyzmette Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of the chicken gurus on the OK thread swears by the blue method.
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Oh, I agree that BluKote is a good product, and the blue discourages pecking, but you need to get to the bottom of why they are pecking because chickens will cannibalize their own sometimes. I think certain breeds are prone to this, or that they need more room, etc. BluKote contains alcohol and gentian violet, both antiseptics, and one is antifungal.
     
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  8. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree. One must find the cause, not just treat the symptoms of the problem.
     
  9. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    X2. limited space, limited protein are a few as mentioned. Some breeds have higher tendencies towards cannibalism/aggression. Long ago I had this problem with some sex links. I was giving too much scratch grain in addition to layer ration. It lowered the consumption of protein since they'll favor sweet scratch over layer feed. Feathers are protein and chickens figure this out. Palatability of rations make a big difference as to how much chickens favor it. Over the years I've come to taste formulated rations I feed to my chickens. That may sound crazy to some, but I've noticed that fresh, good quality ingredients determines good taste. Chickens won't eat what doesn't taste good to them.

    Having enough room for the ones lower on the pecking order to get away from bullies is important too. Relieving boredom by sticking stalks of kale along the fence, or hanging a bunch from the top of the pen/coop in a few places helps too. I never liked Blue-Kote. It dehydrates skin and dyes feathers for months, making dark spots a target to other birds. I prefer the hot pepper based lotions like Pick-No-more which also contains Aloe, or bitter sprays like Hot Pick.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. mcDuck

    mcDuck Just Hatched

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    So this all is puzzling to me because my flock of five -hens only-has gotten along just fine for quite some time (they'll be three years old in March) when one - higher ranking one although not queen- began a hard molt. The others practically pecked her to death. I isolated her and I'm trying to reintroduce her and having a devil of a time. They don't seem to want to let go of that memory no matter how much she's been out -up to six days -out of the major enclosure. I used blukote to no affect, and I don't think they're bored or lacking in nutrition...I was hoping I could isolate the aggressor on her return, but they are all chiming I big time. Do I have to rehome her? I can't spend all my waking hours dealing with this shuffling about ...any suggestions? Yesterday I allowed them all to free range in the backyard and then settle in for the night altogether this seems to have gone well. However this morning they were back to their old tricks and she was practically dug up underneath the tree trying to hide away from them. She has recovered most of her feathers but is clearly stressed and her overall coloring is a bit greyed out. She's eating but not laying of course. Three barred rocks and two australorps. Those barred rocks are meanies. Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013

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