Help! Chickens getting pecked!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dtsnyder, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. dtsnyder

    dtsnyder Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 5, 2009
    Hi everyone! I am having a pecking problem that seems to be growing. It started with the roo (he was the only one getting pecked), but we recently got rid of both roosters - now it seems to be moving to other hens.

    Let me give you any background I can to make help easier.

    We currently have 20 Barred Rock hens that are 6 months old - we average 16 eggs/day
    Their coop is 8x10 w/ 10 nesting boxes and 3 roost bars
    They have fresh water available all day
    We feed them 16% protein layer crumbles
    They get plenty of "extras" - scratch, produce, table scraps
    They have access to their run (approx 8x20)from about 7am-8pm every day - and can fly out if they want.
    Today I put in a flock block for them to pick at

    Now for the pecking:
    I would say 6 are getting pecked - with several more having the back feathers "worn" (but that started when the roos were with them so maybe it was from mating - the roos have been gone for 2 weeks)
    I have used BluKote and just recently got Rooster Booster "pick-no-more lotion"(which was expensive!!)

    What am I missing? I've looked for lice/mites on them, but don't seem to see any - wouldn't really know what to look for except crawling critters.

    Can anyone see anything that they are lacking or need?

    We really don't have anything to separate them from each other - besides, it seems to be effecting too many anyway. There are 3 hens that have zero pecking - and they seem to be more dominant, but I've never seen them peck anyone.

    Any help is appreciated. I'd prefer not to de-beak, but if that's the only thing let I will.
    I've read in the past about pine tar - should I try that next? If so, where would I get it?

    Thanks in advance! I'm sooo tired of doctoring hens every day!!

  2. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    What is the evidence of pecking problems? The back feather issue is likely from the roos. Are there now 0 roos in there? This may solve your issue.

    Have you tried pulling up a chair and just watching what's going on? Perhaps this will give you some clues as to the behavior problems. If there is pecking going on, tossing in some fresh veggies, like whole cabbage, or halved winter squash, can help. So can putting some "objects" like a stool, sawhorse, crates, etc. to give them something to jump on and/or hide behind.

    Keep us posted, and good luck!
  3. luvmygirlsinAK

    luvmygirlsinAK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Pole, Ak
    Try a higher protein diet. I ended up giving my chickens either scrambled quail eggs, ground sheep meat or moose liver every other day. These are just things we have an excess of in our freezer, that I'm not crazy about, so it doesn't bother me to give them these foods. (except the quail eggs are fresh) Once I started doing this, they quit pecking on each other. I also add Cod liver oil to it to give them some vitamin D, which they don't get as much of in the winter because the sun doesn't shine as long.
  4. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    luvmygirls, I am terribly jealous you are able to be so extravagant with those delicious things . . .
  5. dtsnyder

    dtsnyder Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 5, 2009
    Thanks for the suggestions! I'll try to set up an "obstacle course" for them to play on.

    As far as evidence - every night when I go out to the coop some of the hens have red backs (near the tail feathers). And sometimes they're bloody. The hen problem mostly started right before we got rid of the roos and hasn't stopped.

    I'll also get them some treats to peck on - so that they are distracted.

    Pecking is just so frustrating!

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