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Hen Pecked Rooster

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by knitandspin, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. knitandspin

    knitandspin Hatching

    Feb 1, 2009
    We have 6 layers (assorted breeds) and 1 roo (a silver polish) named Phil. They are all 6 mos old and the hens are laying nicely. Four weeks ago we found that several of the hens had pecked Phil's rear end and he was bleeding, feathers missing, etc.

    We separated him, kept him in our basement for 6 days, and returned him for a few hours to see how it would go (which I know now was too soon). They immediately pecked him again. I removed him again, and gave him 10 more days to heal. On the weekends and late afternoons we let him free range and he spent all his time watching the girls from outside the pen. We let the hens out two at a time with him on a couple of occasions, hoping he would assert some dominance over them, and that they would magically work it out (no pecking on those occasions, or he would at least move away) Every night we caught him and brought him back in the basement where he lived in a dog crate.

    Finally, he was healed (no scabs, only new feathers and a few bare places) and we decided to try again. We put mustard on his butt, which didn't work. Then vicks vapo-rub, which worked a little. We had a family emergency and had to leave town for several days and they were all cooped up together for 48+ hours.

    Phil's injured again much worse and in the same spot and we guess we will have to re-home him. Anything else we should try first? My hubby's become a bit attached to him as he's been the one to catch and hold him. He is a pretty nice roo, not too aggressive toward us, but he's not sticking up for himself with the girls. What about separating the hens that are the offenders for a while, would they lose their place in the pecking order and stop pecking him when returned to the flock?

    No hens are getting pecked. Their space, 4x6 ft coop and a 15x15 ft pen, may be a little too small but now that they've started pecking him will enlarging it make a difference?

    De-beaking is not an option for us, rooster booster and blu kote are not sold locally. I could order from the web, but in my reading it sounds like people have mixed results with both products.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have!

    Kim in Pa
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Welcome to BYC! Sorrry to hear about Phil. Call around (Tractor Supply/feedstores/etc.) I know that there are off-brand no-pick ointments/sprays sold around here.

    Provide plenty of other items for the girls to pick at (we use Purina flock Block and hang peaches/plums on fence).

    Since you like the guy and have the facility to keep him seperated I'd not think you'd have to rehome him. If the girls haven't started doing this to one another it is probably not habitual cannibalism (would have to cull those offenders as one would chronic egg eaters so the behavior doesn't spread through flock).

    Keep him seperated until he is completely healed up (try to find some no pick in the interim). Return him to the flock, after applying the ointment/spray, when you all are there to watch. Seperate out the offending hens and watch to see if the rest get along with Phil.

    If the offenders continue to pick then it is either time to cull the pickers (they might start on the other hens) or try Pine Tar. Some folks don't like it, but it is the only substance that keeps our girls from picking at our roo's comb in very cold weather and it was the only thing that kept our jakes from removing the skin from one anothers heads when they started sparring (didn't matter where those turks were they wanted to get into it).

    Warm some up, mix it with plain neosporin (cuts the viscosity and if he is bitten it, along with the tar, will suppress infection) and apply liberally (wear gloves and an old shirt). See what the pickers do with that.

    Good luck, I'm sure you'll get some better opinions soon!
  3. knitandspin

    knitandspin Hatching

    Feb 1, 2009
    Thanks you, Ivan3 for your thoughtful response. I do have the facility to keep him separated for now, but a rooster in the basement is really not much fun. I'm going to let him heal again and find an anti-pick lotion or spray (or order one). I am also going to enrich the run area with more things to do and peck at.

    If you're interested, there are pictures of Phil on my blog Dance Like Nobodys Watching which can be seen at www.nobodyswatchingkim.blogspot.com He's quite a handsome fellow, I think.

    I've been lurking here since before I got the chicks in July, but all my questions were answered in other threads, and this is the first time I've felt the need to un-lurk! This is an awesome place for information!
  4. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    it is a common thing that Polish get picked on..
    also..he is a young roo..prone to being picked on by older roos and hens...
    always make sure he is cleaned of any blood..since it encourages them to cannibalize.

    one option is to have a small separate flock of Polish hens for Phil.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  5. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    Phil is one handsome boy..
    he deserves his own girls..LOL

    love the quilt..
    and might try that recipe![​IMG]
  6. It always worked for me to reintroduce the aggressive chickens backwards. In many places I've read it is always trying to reintroduce a chicken back to an aggressive flock. I chase all my chickens into a 10x10 dog kennel and release one chicken at a time over several days back to the former injured bird. Aggressive hen 1 isn't so mean when she doesn't have anyone to hang out with and quickly befriends her former victim. Aggressive hen 2 isn't so mean when the other two are paired off and has to chase after them for companionship. etc...

    This even works in some roosters so they will hang out without fighting.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  7. knitandspin

    knitandspin Hatching

    Feb 1, 2009
    Kung Foo,

    That's an interesting idea. We did try letting one or two out to free range with him one time. I really hoped that he'd get a little more confidence with mean hen #1 and show her who's boss. Perhaps I didn't give them enough time together. I don't have spare pens or dog runs or anything like that, but I can see that having an extra spot to move one or two into would be very useful. Have to get hubby thinking on that. Perhaps I'll do some looking on Craig's List.
  8. Yeah I give them a week or so to completely bond with the first chicken. The 2nd-3rd etc. I introduce a few days between them. I did this during the summer so I only used a tarp over the run and a nest box temporarily until everyone was friendly towards each other. Look around good I got all these early 80's chain link kennels for around 50.00 each. The newer ones I got while lighter are falling apart and sagging from being weaker material.

    This actually worked on my leghorn roo and buff orp roo.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009
  9. chochie

    chochie In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2012
    Huntington WV
    Hi All I am new to byc and chickens in general but I am having a similar problem. We got our chickens a few weeks ago. We purchased them from someone who had always had them kept up in the pen. When I first looked a the chickens they had some feathers missing but when we returned to pick them up 3 weeks later they were missing lots of feathers and sporting plenty of bare skin. I took the chickens, figuring they would be happier in a larger coop and a good run. We built our coop a 15 X 20 with loads of windows, an exhaust fan plenty of nesting boxes and lots of roost poles. We haven't completed our run yet but hope to do so in a few days. Everything has been going pretty smoothly. We have 21 hens and 1 rooster. 12 of the hens are approx. 12 months and 9 are 6 months. The young hens had just started laying for the man we purchased them from but have yet to lay for us. The older hens however started laying immediately :). We were so please. they also seem to quit picking on each other to a point, feathers were growing back in and they looked good. We had been using talc powder to discourage pecking, but also purchased rooster booster, which we've yet to use b/c it seem to stop and I've read very different reviews on it. They have a diet of corn, laying pellets, chicken scratch, poultry shell and grit. I hope we're doing right with that. They had however previously been on organic feed, but they haven't seem to mind the switch, no diarrhea or anything. We actually got 12 eggs the 5th day. The temp. has been crazy the last few days here on the high end of 90, we are running the fan, keeping lots of fresh water, giving them cool treats (cabbage, strawberries and tomatoes which they seem to love) We visit the coop several times during the day and the flock is very social, but when I went in to visit this afternoon my rooster, Robbie was a wreck his comb was tore and his neck a bloody mess we immediately saw the culprit with a blood covered breast from where she has picked at him so much, we cleaned his wound with distilled water and treated it with antibiotic ointment and put him a large dog cage inside the coop the hens can't get to him. We gave him plenty of food and water but his neck looks terrible we are unsure if we did the right thing leaving him in the coop quarantined or not. I welcome any advice on this. I don't understand why Henriette the white hen is picking on him so much they seem to be a couple she roost beside him every night and she is the only chicken whose feathers are untouched all the others except the babies have some missing feathers. I guess we were just wondering if we can keep him in the coop but in a separate cage so he can stay with his girls or if we need to move him out till he heals, and could we let him out to roost with the others at night or would they still pick on him? The other hens seem to just be following suit with Henrietta and picking at him too :((((
  10. Bigspoon

    Bigspoon Hatching

    Feb 8, 2015
    Hi all i am nee to byc and i live in ny i have 4 hens of different breads and a barred rock rooster less than a year old same age as the hens lately i have walled into their pen and noticed he always has blood on him and his waddle is bleeding i cannot figure out why they are pecking at him and it is makeing me uneasy that they are doing this he isnt a fighter he os one of the calmest roosters i have ever seen but i need some advice what to do about the pecking

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