Hen pecking herself til she bleeds. HELP?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Three Silkies, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. Three Silkies

    Three Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi. I have one silkie hen and six 20-day-old silkie chicks. I've just noticed that my hen has pecked at her feathers on her chest and her back and is bleeding in both spots. Why would she do this and what should I do?
     
  2. lilypad

    lilypad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello!

    Have you give her a good check over for any mites or lice?

    I would put a little plain flour on the sore bits if they are still bleeding, then cover them in sudocreme :)
     
  3. Three Silkies

    Three Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you. The henhouse is crawling in lice (?) - very tiny crawling specks. I cleaned out the top & sprayed it with tea tree oil, basted the chicks with olive oil and put lots of food grade DE in the soil in the bottom level. I tried to give my hen a dusting with DE too, but she won't let me catch her! I don't want to use poisons because the chicks are still so young. I thought the lice (mites?) had gone, but I just put my hand in there and they all crawled up my arm. I guess I will have to use poison in the henhouse, try & separate the chicks & give the hen a poison dusting? I can't really separate the chicks though because I hatched them naturally and they live outside with her and she keeps them warm under her at night. Any advice would be most appreciated.
     
  4. Three Silkies

    Three Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    I didn't know that about plain flour. Thank you. I'll try that (if I can ever catch her).
     
  5. lilypad

    lilypad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They sound like red mite - they are very tiny, usually grey/black but are red after feeding [​IMG]

    They are horrid little things and so so difficult to get rid of.
    If you could, I would move mama and chicks out of the coop for a few hours, clear the whole thing out, spray and scrub everywhere, then mix some DE with a little water to make a thick paste and paint it in all the nooks and crannies, especially the perch ends, then powder every where and let it air out. You can also order "redmite kits" online which have a smoke bomb in them, they are meant to be pretty effective against redmite.

    I find with skittish hens it's best to catch them at dusk, once they've gone into the coop, they're more docile - it should be easier to dust her then.

    Saying that, I've never raised chicks so it might be a good idea to wait for someone to make sure this is all safe for young birds [​IMG]
     
  6. Three Silkies

    Three Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    That's really helpful advice. Thank you! :)
     
  7. Three Silkies

    Three Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry, another question - I can't do a Mite bomb because the lower half of the henhouse is just made of wire mesh walls. The upstairs is enclosed timber, but there are little gaps so it's not really enclosed as such. Also, the bottom of the cage is soil (I've attached a pic). How would I best tackle this? I'm thinking rake out all the bedding and spray the soil and all the timber with Mite Kill? Will it poison them if I spray the soil and then they eat it? My hen's pecking looks quite bad today. Her feathers are hacked off at the base on her chest and there is blood around that area. I'm really worried about her.
     
  8. Three Silkies

    Three Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oops! Here is the pic. [​IMG]
     
  9. lilypad

    lilypad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh you shouldn't have to do the whole run, if you're sure it's red mite, just the coop bit where they sleep :) Red mite usually only feed when the chickens are sleeping or nesting, so unless it is a really bad infestation I wouldn't think you would find many in the run.

    Is it possible just to put some tape over the little gaps in the coop to smoke it?

    I would clear out the coop (leave the run, that should be fine), give it a good clean, dust/paint diatom everywhere then leave it to air for an hour or two, then put the bedding in and mix diatom in that also. If you can't dust mama hen put more diatom in her favourite dusting area so she can dust herself :) I'm not sure about mite kill as I've never used it myself.

    I found this thread, it seems diatom is okay for chicks
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/314542/is-it-safe-to-dust-chicks-with-diatomaceous-earth

    :)
     
  10. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lillypad gives great advice but unfortunately you are past the DE stage. De is preventative. The only thing that will help now is a chemical pesticide. You need to clean everything out of your coop and cover everything including roosts and nest boxes and floor with Sevin dust. Use a poultry dust on your hens. They need to be treated with Ivermectin and then given liquid chicken vitamins or baby liquid vitamins without iron.

    Rake everything out of the bottom of the coop and spread the DE here. It's not the best solution but you don't want the hens scratching and ingesting any Sevin. Let mother nature do her cleaning for a week and then add bedding back. The best thing to do would to have another area set up for them to spend their day so they don't become reinfested. Make sure you dust the ramp and any cracks or crevices where the mites can hide. If you can move the coop to a new area that would help tremendously. The area where it is now is infested.

    Dusting the hens heads is where I start. This way the mites run toward the tail and are easier to cover with dust. If you start at the tail the mites running to get away from the dust run toward the head and get into the eyes and nostrils and it's like a horror movie.

    They could be anemic and underweight because of this and need extra nutrition to build them selves up again.
     

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