Hen Pecking Hassle

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Farmgirl Lily, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Farmgirl Lily

    Farmgirl Lily Out Of The Brooder

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    May 26, 2012
    I am the owner of seven hens, and almost all of them are missing feathers in patches somewhere on their bodies. They are rather unsightly (poor girls!) and I don't know how to deal with their hen pecking behavior. They are kept in an enclosed pen which is not very large, but they certainly are not cramped! I have checked, and they do not have lice or mites. However, I believe the reason for their feather loss is because they are bored and they pick on each other. Is there some way I can put a stop to it? They will be rather chilly this winter if they keep picking off their feathers!
     
  2. Cool Peeps

    Cool Peeps Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 25, 2012
    They are probably going through a molt
     
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    This girl is molting. Note the patchy appearance on her chest.

    [​IMG]

    This hen is molting, too, and is miserable with all the pin feathers.

    [​IMG]


    Despite her scruffy appearance, the appearance of pin feathers makes this a normal molt.

    [​IMG]



    This hen shows distinct trauma from another hen.

    [​IMG]



    I give my chickens varied foods to keep them active. You can make them work for their food by putting scratch feed in a clear 16 oz drinking bottle with several small holes. As the chickens peck at the food the bottle rolls and releases the feed for them to eat. Some folks hang the bottle. Some folk but raw kale or spinach in suet cages and hang them in the coop area for the chickens to pull at.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Farmgirl Lily

    Farmgirl Lily Out Of The Brooder

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    May 26, 2012
    Thanks for your suggestions! I appreciate it. Several of my hens are indeed molting, but their bare feather patches are a problem year round, and I believe the picking at each other is due partially to boredom. I let my chickens out of their pen fairly often, but I can't let them roam around all day by themselves because of chicken hawks, neighborhood dogs, etc.
    Thanks for the ideas - I'll give them a try!
     
  5. SuzanneW

    SuzanneW Out Of The Brooder

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    We had this with ours at one stage and a neighbour gave us some strange blue substance and when we sprayed it on the chicken's sore area, it stopped the others from pecking her and gave it time to heal - and voila she was fine.

    We decided in the end that the only ones who did not attack each other, were our Rhode Island Reds and so when it came to the time to get more chickens, we only got them and wow - no worries at all; they get on famously and are good eggers too. But as with everything, the negative side, is that they are not giving us babies. So we are looking for another breed who have a placid temperment for that purpose.

    Yes it is very painful to watch the poor chicken being attacked.

    It is not necessarily boredom that does it; just the type of breed and once they smell blood - that is when the troubles start.
     
  6. Farmgirl Lily

    Farmgirl Lily Out Of The Brooder

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    May 26, 2012
    Hey, thanks for your help! I hadn't thought of certain breeds being more aggressive that others. I'll be getting more chicks next spring, so I'll have to do a little research on breeds that might be more friendly to each other. I do have some stuff called "No Pick Lotion" that I use when one of my chickens is bleeding. I put some right on the spot and the others leave her alone.
    Thanks again!
     
  7. kaybats

    kaybats Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lily, In my short time with chickens (about 19 months), I have found some things not so true. I did TONS of research before I got my chicks. But the BEST knowledge I got was from HAVING chickens. Rhode Island Reds are aggressive, and not very likely to be "good Mother hens". However, on that same list of "not so good Mums" are the ROCK family. I must tell you that my Barred Rock, Jackie, was a fantastic Mom until she went missing, now presumed dead. Patty, one of my White Rocks is an EXCELLENT Mother Hen. Her hatchlings are a bit over 2 months old and she continues to keep them warm and safe under her, as big as they are.

    Research all you want, but you won't learn much 'til you've had them for a while.

    All my best, I look forward to seeing more of your posts.
     
  8. Farmgirl Lily

    Farmgirl Lily Out Of The Brooder

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    May 26, 2012
    Hi, thanks for your advice. I think that is true... you can research all you want, but that doesn't take the place of experience. I've had chickens all my life, which isn't very much right now, but I gain experience all the time. I'll try out some other breeds, watch them, see what happens, etc. I appreciate your help, it's nice to discuss things with fellow chicken lovers! : )
     

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