hen pecking and bloody combs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by RichtmanRanch, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. RichtmanRanch

    RichtmanRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 23, 2013
    Minnesota
    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. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    First things first [​IMG] always good to see a new chicken farmer [​IMG]
    It sounds like you might want to add 1 or 2 more nesting box's and see if
    this helps elevate this problem of pecking each other and bring back some
    harmony to your flock [​IMG] .....


    gander007 [​IMG]
     
  3. RichtmanRanch

    RichtmanRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 23, 2013
    Minnesota
    Yes I do feel like that is a good "next step". do you have any thoughts on my bleeding hen? Is this typical behavior?
     
  4. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Normally the bleeding is going to stop but it sounds like you need to go to
    a feed store that handles horses and cattle and pick up some powder it
    was blue last time I got some and it will stop the bleeding just let the people
    at the feed store know you are looking for some powder to put on wounds
    to stop the bleeding and this stuff works and they should what you are
    talking about even if you do not .... And keep this on hand I would tell you
    what my can says put the label has long come off and it will last a long time
    and you will find a lot of use for it down the road ......


    gander007 [​IMG]
     
  5. RichtmanRanch

    RichtmanRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    65
    2
    71
    Dec 23, 2013
    Minnesota
    Thanks, I will go to my local feed store, I'm sure they have what you are talking about. My husband ran home for lunch and said she appears fine and it has stopped bleeding and the other hens seem to be leaving her alone.
     
  6. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Glad if I can help, keep us up updated to what is going on [​IMG]


    gander007 [​IMG]
     
  7. RichtmanRanch

    RichtmanRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    65
    2
    71
    Dec 23, 2013
    Minnesota
    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.
     

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