Hen pecking and bloody combs

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by RichtmanRanch, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. RichtmanRanch

    RichtmanRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi I am new to chicken farming. We have 4 chickens and they just started laying about 2 weeks ago. In that time hen pecking has become an issue. Currently we have one nest box, which I read was adequate for 4 birds. Regardless I have been coming home from work to find scabs on comb and blood on feather. Our leghorn was the first victim, she had a large chunk taken out of the back of her comb, by the time I came home it was done bleeding and we cleaned her up, she is now fine. But now the barred who I thought was on the top if the pecking order is getting beaten up on now. This is now the second time her comb has bleed. I was shocked to see all the blood on her face.

    I was going to check on them before I left for work today when I discovered she had been pecked. I felt helpless in that moment. I couldn't take the time to help her because I would have been late for work and my husband and I are gone for at least 8 hours every day. I did have time to switch out the ceramic heat bulb with a red light to discourage further pecking and I tried to put pressure on her comb, but all i felt like I did was manage to stress her out more. I did put some corn starch on her comb but the blood just went right through. Like I said I didn't have much time to help. She seemed to be behaving normally other than shaking her head to get the blood off. It was running down to the tip of her beak. :(

    So here are my questions,

    Is she going to be ok? My experience with the other times is that it eventually stops bleeding, but I am nervous because I am not there to check on how she is doing. My husband is going home for lunch and will check on her then. But comb injuries seem to bleed a lot and for a long time. It does eventually stop right? I have read about removing the top hen and then introducing her back a few days later so that she is on the bottom again.

    Does she run the risk of frost bite in the coop because of all the blood? We have a 60W red heat bulb and the 4x4 coop is insulated. today it is about 27 degrees F. On any other day they are fine with that temp, but I just worry cause she is wet.

    Typically we open the coop to the elements, but today is going to be below 0 and a wind chill even colder. I feel so sick about all of this, I try to remember that they are not pets but birds for egg production, but I still want to do right by them. Thanks for any advice, I dont mean to freak out, but hen pecking was something we didn't anticipate. We are learning something new each day
     
  2. Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
  3. RichtmanRanch

    RichtmanRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, new to the site and didn't realize i can post in other forums. i will do that.
     
  4. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC! There is a product that you can spray on an injury called Blue Kote, it will prevent further pecking. But the other forum mentioned would be a good place to post about the ongoing problems. Good luck to you.
     
  5. RichtmanRanch

    RichtmanRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, I did get some other advice in that forum. I plan on getting some blu-kote too.
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC. In cold weather, the combs will bleed more. Generally it doesn't take much injury to get a lot of blood in the cold. I would provide more nest sites as soon as is possible to cut down on competition. Doesn't have to be fancy for temporary - cardboard boxes with a hole in the side and some bedding would work.
     
  7. chickie farmer

    chickie farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Liz x2. I also use blue cote. but don't get it in her eyes. Since chickens see the blood (red) they will continually peck at it. I would either separate her or stop the bleeding before putting them together. I had the same problem with my rooster. I used corn starch. anything that would absorb the blood.
     
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  8. RichtmanRanch

    RichtmanRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, thats exactly what I did today :) I found an old crate and covered up that sides, I will put it in there tonight, hopefully that will help.
     
  9. RichtmanRanch

    RichtmanRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 23, 2013
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    So I just got home, she looks much better, she and all the others hopped down from the roost, all were eating and acting normal. She looks so clean having her face been previously covered with blood this morning. She has some scabs on the top of her comb too. I did notice however her comb is bright red, maybe even a bit swollen towards the back or her head. I guess I never really noticed how thick her comb was on a normal healthy happy day, but Im wondering if my eyes are just being extra critical. But as for the bright redness of her comb, I'm guessing cause her body is trying to heal the wounds? Typically all their combs have a chalky red appearance, but is her bright red comb a potential sign of frost bite? it has been about 27 degrees all day in there, I have a higher wattage heat lamp I can put in. I also bought blue kote to put on in the morning. I just dont wanna bother her any more today. Also did put another nest box in.
     
  10. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow Welcome to BYC and Happy Holidays! Hope your girl is doing better. Is she one of the ones that is laying? Usually hens who are laying have pretty bright red combs. With four hens in a 4x4 coop you maybe are a little short on space if they are stuck in there all day, what sort of perch set up etc do you have? Can you add extra perches to add some more places for them to get away from each other? Other things for entertainment? If you have one or more aggressive hens you might consider something like pinless peepers during bad weather. Frostbitten/frozen combs/wattles will swell up, but an injury would also cause swelling. 27* is not that cold for healthy chickens if they are in a draft free area.
     

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