How to stop serious chicken pecking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Argyll Rooster, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. Argyll Rooster

    Argyll Rooster New Egg

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    Dec 23, 2010
    Hi Everyone,

    Just joined this forum [​IMG] as I wanted to share some information and stop others making the same mistake I made [​IMG]. [​IMG]

    I am a novice poultry keeper and, in all this cold weather, thought I was being kind feeding my chickens cold weather treat food of grain in the morning and then porridge in the afternoon. They have access to layers pellets all day. They are about 9 months old and, bless them, have just started to lay in all this cold weather.

    They have been on the cold weather "treat" food for about two weeks now. Since I have had them my 3 chickens have been a very happy little band, great fun and get on really well. I am sure they have a pecking order but it is not obvious and when they charge round the field you get the feeling they are "all for one and one for all".


    All that changed yesterday- one of the chickens got hammered by the other one and lost a lot of feathers from the back of its neck. This campaign continued today to an alarming degree. Having spoken to a chicken expert I am horrified to conclude that I am responsible - due to chickens, being as obsessed with carbohydrates it would seem as humans!

    My giving them carbs in the morning (grains) stopped them eating layers pellets first thing and, again, my giving them more carbs in the afternoon (porridge) also stopped them eating the layers. So having had all this yummy food for the last couple of weeks they have forgotten about layers but are desperate for protein!

    The most easy source of protein was the smallest chicken's feathers! I feel very guilty about this but at least it has only been going on for 2 days and I can start fixing it tomorrow -they be going on 100% layers for a few days! I could have spent weeks trying to suss out what was happening, trying anti pecking solutions etc.

    Anyhow - I realise that many more experienced poultry keepers will know all this but I just wanted to share this with folk asap just in case there are any other novices out there who hens have suddenly started plucking out fellow chickens feathers and eating them.

    [​IMG] So, if one of your flock is being pecked, losing feathers and they have plenty of space and are not bored -think diet -are you over doing the carbs?

    Happy Christmas

    Argyll Rooster [​IMG]
     
  2. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    I was aware of this so for a treat every morning I give my girls their layer mash with warm water mixed in and they gobble it down really well. It also helps my girl with a wicked cross beak get a nice full crop. Then I toss a little BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) for a nice protein treat and it has oils for warmth. Then I toss them some organic spring greens (yes I buy them to keep them in greens during winter) to keep them happy. They seem to be doing great.

    You were very thoughtful to post this and I hope your girl heals well. [​IMG]
     
  3. Argyll Rooster

    Argyll Rooster New Egg

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    Dec 23, 2010
    ah -make the mash from layers pellets- genious [​IMG]

    thanks

    Argyll Rooster
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    Nothing to feel guilty about, your intentions were good, and you dealt with the problem promptly.

    I hope you also discovered you need to separate anyone with blood showing.
     
  5. Argyll Rooster

    Argyll Rooster New Egg

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    Dec 23, 2010
    fortunately no bleeding occured and now the exposed skin is sprayed with ALAMYCIN so looks blue and should not get infected [​IMG]

    Argyll Rooster
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    Had to Google that one -- you must be in Canada.

    None of us thought to add something very important to our posts: [​IMG]

    And I'll add my thanks for your post, too. It's fairly common knowledge on here that feather picking can be caused by a protein deficiency, but I think in giving treats we may forget how easily we can upset their nutritional balance. For a long time I couldn't get mine to eat BOSS, which is such an easy way to add protein to a treat, and I worried about this. Finally I read, again on BYC of course, that if you give them in something wet they get used to them. Worked like a charm.
     
  7. Chuck R

    Chuck R New Egg

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    Dec 16, 2010
    North Fl.
    Before I realized this site existed and only had a few chickens, I had a time where all of them were pecking at one hen. It finally got to the point that she had virtually no feathers. Nothing seemed to help. Last resort worked by luck. I put "bag balm" on most of her body. It has healing qualities, and the taste of it discouraged the other from pecking at her. She wound up full feathered and welcomed to the rest of the clan.
     
  8. Argyll Rooster

    Argyll Rooster New Egg

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    Dec 23, 2010
    Trust you all had a good Christmas - hopefully we will not reach the stage of needing special coat for her - I am not in Canada but in Argyll, Scotalnd, UK - did not realise this was an American forum when I joined but no matter - it is good to share knowledge across the pond.

    Argyll Rooster
     
  9. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    Argyll, this site is open to anyone no matter where you live as long as you are interested in chickens. Having worldwide members is not only educational but a lot of fun as it makes the world smaller. [​IMG]

    Happy Holidays!
     
  10. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Quote:[​IMG] There are quite a few members from the UK, several from Scotland. I think BYC has all the time zones covered now!

    Good on you for taking care of the issue promptly and competently! [​IMG]
     

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