How do I stop picking?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by terry's chicks, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. terry's chicks

    terry's chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 15, 2011
    I have 20 hens and one rooster, in the begining I think it was the rooster that scratched off some feathers causing the skin to show, now about 7 of them are picked bald on their lower back and all around their butt. some only have a couple tail feathers left. It's like an all out picking contest on these hens. I have sprayed that Blue anteseptic spray on them and it lasts for days on my hands but on them in a couple of days the pink is showing through and the picking continues. I have no where to separate it, I could give them away but they are just 11 months old and really laying great eggs, Someone suggested black tar, but I would think that would just attract dirt and dust. The have a large run 20'x25' cant let them free range due to so many predators in the woods here. What else could I put on them to get this to stop? No blood, just some are bright red. I even tried black shoe paste and campho thinking the smell might keep them away? HELP
     
  2. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    My Coop
    Hiya!

    First, I'd get or make some apron for them all- this will stop any on the backs. Second, I'd up their protein level immediately. If you are using layer feed, switch to flock raiser or unmedicated starter. If you are giving scratch, STOP, except for small amounts, like a handful. Give them meat scraps, etc., when you have them.

    This should help immensely. You could also give them things to keep them busy, like mesh bags (like apples come in) with greens, apples, cabbage, etc.

    Good luck!
     
  3. terry's chicks

    terry's chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Thanks, you are right on, I use layer pellets and scratch and give them probably a quart a day of scratch, I do give them lots of veggies etc, but not in a bag. Where do I get aprons for a good price? I appreciate your help
     
  4. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    I have purchased TONS of aprons from lovemychix, here on BYC. If she doesn't have an ad going, pm her and ask. She makes 5 or 6 different sizes and even has optional wing protectors. Very reasonable.

    I have used canned tuna to boost protein quickly, and they adore it. If you can find gamebird STARTER, that tends to be around 30% protein and you can mix it with scratch 4:1 to give them something fun to eat and still higher protein. Yo can also use black oil sunflower seeds to treat them, as it's about the right protein content.

    If you have a feed mill near you, ask for 5# of 'peanut pickouts' to take home and treat them with- this is just unsalted peanuts for them to eat, and those will be a good treat, too. Much cheaper from the mill.

    Once they are grown back in, you can return them to layer with sunflower seeds and peanuts as a treat. Don't forget to keep grit AND oyster shell in bowls or piles for them to have as they like.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Sounds like a few things. My own check list might include:

    1. Upping the protein 2%. Scratch and vegetables can lower their total protein intake. Doesn't take much dilution by scratch, etc, to lower 16% layer protein.
    2. Make sure they have lots of outdoor space and outdoor time. With spring approaching, the time of being cooped up is coming to an end.
    3. Check for mites and lice. If in doubt, you'll have to dust them.
    4. If only 3 of the hens, let's say, have this issue, it because they are overly submissive and the rooster has chosen them as his "favorites". No hen needs to be mounted 4 or 5 times a day, but occasionally an over zealous, young rooster just wears a couple hens out. When we find a rooster who isn't "spreading his love around" to all the hens, but only focusing on a few of the hens, he's a goner. Sometimes, we also have to cull (meaning remove) from the flock, a hen who is simply so submissive that she endangers her own well being. This requires the ability to re-arrange the flock into separate pens and so forth.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  6. ShortAnda

    ShortAnda Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 13, 2012
    I agree with the previous posts.

    Up the protien as much as you can. I use turkey and game pellet occasionaly for this.

    Provide entertainment and stimulation. Let them run loose as much as possible when you can watch them. Put items in their run for them to jump on hide in etc. Interesting new foods to pick at hanging where they will swing a bit and keep them busy.

    Sometimes you end up with a couple nasty birds that just love being cannibals. Watch them and see if a couple of birds are particularly evil. If you have a few make em into stew. You don't want evil genetics floating in your chicken gene pool or the hassle of babying miserable birds all the time.

    I haven't tried the apron's but I'm betting that would work very well. I think I will be making some in the future for my ladies.

    Definately dust them heavily. Once this was all I did for some birds and it stopped them from picking for quite awhile. Maybe they hated the taste?
     

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