Help my chickens are getting pecked bloody

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Salandra, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Salandra

    Salandra Hatching

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    Jan 13, 2018
    We have a flock of 6 black and 6 red sexlinks we got last spring. It’s been a terribly cold winter -35 Celsius at times, we’ve manage to keep the coop no colder than -20 on the coldest nights.

    This past week we introduced scratch feed to intice more activity from the girls and then the temperatures started rising fast until it was +8 and raining, then it flash froze yesterday and we immediately noticed one by one the red hens had bloody bruised vents from being pecked at. All the chickens already have shortened beeks from the hatchery.

    The local vet suggested protein deficiency from the extra yummy scratch or cannabilism. We’ve moved the 5 pecked birds to our garage into dog crates, cleaned them up and applied Blu kote.

    I’m not sure how long to keep these ladies apart. They are not happy in the crates - not near enough room. The temporary hospital was suitable for 2 chickens not 5.

    Can the other chickens change their evil ways? How long before I can return the blue-butted ladies to the flock? Is there hope?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Rolling Down The River

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    How big is your coop and run? The two main reasons for pecking is a protein deficiency and boredom from confinement.

    What are you feeding? I recommend a ration with 20-22% to avoid deficiencies. Scratch can be added to the diet if the ration is higher in protein. Minimum daily requirements are 16% which most layer rations are. I saw too many problems feeding a layer and now feed an All Flock ration with a separate bowl of oyster shells for the calcium needs.

    Are your birds used to confinement? Or have their ranging been cut down due to winter?

    I would switch rations, keep applying bluekote, maybe give them some higher protein treats to jumpstart them like canned fish, cottage cheese or scrambled eggs. I would than start returning birds to the flock to see how they do. If necessary remove the pecking birds for a few days to hopefully stop the behavior.
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    I would follow the vet's advice. Cut out the scratch or add more animal protein.
    I've had cannibalism when I cut the protein too much with growing birds.
     
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  4. Salandra

    Salandra Hatching

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    Jan 13, 2018
    We built the tajma-coop of coops, with more than enough room for all the ladies inside and out in fair weather, but they don't like the snow at all, so if it blows into their run their space quickly shrinks.

    We cut out the scratch immediately and their regular pellets are 17% I think.

    We also heard the colour of the lights if not 6000K could make them crazy in the winter - seasonal effectiveness disorder. We have all the lights on timers to provide the most possible light inside and outside of the coop but the leds we have are 4500K - which is nice for us but not ideal for them.

    I'll break out the tuna and the cottage cheese for all of them. I'd like to return the red ones as soon as possible because their space is tiny in the make-shift chicken hospital - and not my garage smells like a barn...
     
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  5. Chullicken

    Chullicken Songster

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    Great idea for cold climates is to wrap your run in 5 mil. or more plastic wrap, PVC panels or even Green House Panels. When done correctly this keeps the wind and weather out or at least to a minimum. Also helps maintain a more steady temperature within the run so they can have that space.
     
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  6. Salandra

    Salandra Hatching

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    Jan 13, 2018
    The inside coop is well insulated, 2x4 with foam insulation and heavy wood siding, but even that without a constant source of heat can be chilly at -35, cutting the wind makes a huge difference. We're about to add a wind barrier to the run so they don't have to huddle up in a corner when outside.

    Is it likely the bully pecking birds will continue to peck after their protein is increased?
     
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  7. Chullicken

    Chullicken Songster

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    Typically its one bird that is guilty of it in smaller flocks. Separation for a week or so is the usual practice and the flock will reorganize its inner hierarchy. The bully is reintroduced and most likely would be at a lower standing. Adding more protein and boredom busters may or may not solve the issue. Some birds just are genetically 'not tolerable' which is unfortunate. My friends flock is a non stop issue with this even though she has a giant run and coop, tons of toys, high protein diet with layer feed. About 20 of them and half of them just continue to pick feathers from each other...just seems like she got a bad bunch.
     
  8. Salandra

    Salandra Hatching

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    Jan 13, 2018
    Do other people’s chickens tend to enjoy boredom busters when it’s almost too cold to move?
     
    Chullicken likes this.
  9. Chullicken

    Chullicken Songster

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    Oh yeah. Then again I always enclose my run for the winter so they're cold..just not as cold as the outside of it. Admittedly they get bored of the usual things in winter so I started putting in Chopped Straw to get them moving. Moving chickens are occupied, thinking and moving which is what we want. Was -10 to -25 here for the end of December until this week and they where slower in the run, but still moving about.
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Rolling Down The River

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    I would also stop with the extra lighting as that can cause increased aggression.
     

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