Hens pecking for blood

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by emeraldgreen, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. emeraldgreen

    emeraldgreen In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2015
    Christchurch New Zealand
    Hi :)

    A couple of weeks ago we purchased 6, 2 year old hens from a free range farmer. Some were in pretty rough condition, including one who was missing all her wing, neck and rear feathers (it looks like they had been eaten), and another missing all her neck feathers.
    Anyway last night I noticed one of these hens had blood on her neck, and this morning I witnessed 2 other chickens pecking at the two damaged chickens and drawing/eating blood.
    I've read that I need to act pretty fast to deter this behaviour, but am unsure where to start. They were all getting along fairly well up until now.

    They are free range for the most part, but are partly locked in a large run and coup. They are all laying, and are pretty spoilt with lots of laying pellets, water, table scraps and garden greens. It is coming into summer here and today is fairly warm.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    The original problems sound like they were caused by being mated too much by roosters. They could be pecking from stress and a reaction to confinement, or because of low protein, up their protein by putting them on something with a higher protein like a non medicated grower, making sure to provide oyster shell free choice, keep blue kote on the pecked parts and make sure they have stuff to do so they don't have time to peck, hopefully they will molt soon and your problem will get better.
  3. emeraldgreen

    emeraldgreen In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2015
    Christchurch New Zealand
    Ahhh! Yes you could be right re the over mating! I didn't think of that. Poor girl, she really is a mess and very timid.

    Thanks for your advice, they do get oyster shells but I'll try and up their protein more. The pecking does seem to happen while they are in their run, so will try and have them out more often.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You may need to confine the bleeding chicken in a wire crate until she heals.
    Keep the crate where the others can see her so you won't have re-integration problems later.
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    x2 on the blu-kote. Making sure they have plenty of space during the integration period is a must. Hiding places, not locked in coop too long, etc.

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