How to stop pecking?!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickenbaguette, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. chickenbaguette

    chickenbaguette Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have three bantams, one older one, Soup, and two young ones (Pekins), Mint and Parsley. Minty is pecking both Soup (who is about three times her size!) and Parsley, every time they go to perch at night.

    Parsley is being pecked the most. She's very small and shy of the other chickens, and every time she tries to snuggle up against Minty she gets pecked and shoved over to the other side.
    Sometimes the pecks are so hard she jumps off the perch and runs around the house squawking.. Sometimes she jumps onto the chicken wire inside their temporary house and perches there. There are some sharp edges and it keeps falling down (not good, I know), so I have to crawl in and rescue her.
    To keep all three on the perch together I have to cup my hands around Minty's head until she calms down and stops pecking. Sometimes even after that I've gone out to check and found Parsley on the wire again.

    There are a lot of foxes in our area so her running around the outside of the house in the dark is risking her life as well! [​IMG]



    We've just moved house, so the chicken arrangement is rubbish at the moment, but how can I stop the pecking?
    I know about oregano oil, but it's very expensive and there are no shops around that sell it.
    Will lavender oil work? I have some of that. Or is there anything I can make at home?

    Thanks very much for your help!!
     
  2. Chicken_Pauper

    Chicken_Pauper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have these chickens been together all along? Or, are some new to the flock?

    Give them whole heads of cabbage to peck at... and also some "alfalfa hay" -- leave it in the flakes you pull off the bale, don't break it up.. and lean it up against the wall in the coop.. these are two things for them to occupy themselves with.

    They may need more and a safer space / coop and run.. and they may need to free range if you can... if you can't free range them -- then a very large run.

    If they are a "new members added" flock.. then, they are adjusting to each other... there is "the pecking order" and it has to be established. The top hen is showing herself and size doesn't matter, she is the boss, and is putting the others in their place.... it will go down the line. The second in command will peck the lower hens as well.. and so on.

    What are the breeds you have? And, do you have a rooster? A rooster can take charge and be the leader... there will still be some pecking until the order is established.

    Parsley can and should move away from the ones pecking her on the roost (herself). -- I have three roosts... one is lower. The lower one is where the "lower ranked" hens (and the new young rooster for now) sleep. The older, "boss" hens sleep on the high roosts and I have watched as some of the younger ones "earned" their way up there, earned their place in the pecking order... (and they were pecked off of it many times before they were allowed to stay) others stay down low, don't go up to the high roost at all.

    Best of luck.
     
  3. chicken grandma

    chicken grandma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    More space, more time outdoors.
    Ears of sweet corn or squash halves to peck on.
    More perching options.
     
  4. chickenbaguette

    chickenbaguette Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure if it was clear, but I meant at night time when they are roosting. Parsley doesn't want to move away, it's quite cold at the moment... in the new house we will have several perches, but I'm not sure when that will be.
     
  5. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pinless Peepers
    [​IMG]
     
  6. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    I have this problem too. I'm down to just two hens and they get along fine during the day. But at night, the JG just pecks and bullies the BO off the roosting bar.

    So jammed this piece of cardboard up there one night in frustration and voila. It works. They each hop up to their respective sides and there have been no issues since.

    I've since replace the cardboard with an old pillow case that has a small piece of cardboard tucked in the middle and loosely hung it from the rafters and secured it to the roosting bar. This way, they can't bully through it but won't be injured if they were to fly or knock into it.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    And for what ever it's worth, I also tried the pinless peepers. Worked great during the day. But once they were roosting. She KNEW that Ginger was right there. She'd turn her head to the side to get a visual and then just lumbar down the roosting bar like a gymnast on the balancing beam and BOOM peck or knock her off. The scream that Ginger would let out just broke my heart.

    Kills me that the two can't/won't snuggle this time of the year when it's so chilly at night. And the JG is going through an UGLY molt and just has bare patches all over here. But they seem to be doing just fine with this set up so I'll leave it up till my three babies in the brooder are old enough to go out and roost with them. That ought to mix up the flock dynamic.
     
  8. groundpecker

    groundpecker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can buy a product name something similar to"no pick" and apply. I also discovered that Petrol jelly can also be used. An old man nearby suggested motor "greese" would also work, but i have not tried that.
     
  9. chickenbaguette

    chickenbaguette Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for all your replies!
    TheSpiceGirls, I will try that cardboard thing, it looks like a good idea [​IMG]
    Has anyone tried talcum powder? I heard that that works too..
     
  10. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    Never heard of the talcum powder idea. Not sure what that is. But sometimes the simplest and silliest things really work. I struggled with my pecking thing for months. Way too long. Then it became habit. I was ready to saw out the roosting bar from my cute little hen house and come up with a totally different roosting idea. The problem is, I'm not at all handy with tools and things.

    So the idea of a separator just came to me. So I also suggest watching your girls and seeing their interactions. You may just come up with the simplest thing that works.
     

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