Isolating hens and/or rooster to let them heal from pecking. Is it too stressful for them to be alon

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChxLadyCass, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. ChxLadyCass

    ChxLadyCass Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Recently the weather in Colorado has been crazy Spring weather. Hot and sunny one day, rainy or snowy and cold the next. I think the stress combined with the confinement due to bad weather has caused my hens to peck at the rooster's comb and one of the smaller hen's feathers. I have been trying pick-no-more and it seems to work for a day, but I think the rooster and small hen just need to heal for a bit away from the peckers. I have a very small chicken hospital, but I am worried about isolating them. The rooster especially loses it when he is away from his hens. Is it worth it to isolate the two and let them heal? At least until the weather clears up a bit more? I have given the hens boredom busters and a covered area to scratch, but they just seem too drawn to the two injuries in the flock to stop. Any creative advice is greatly appreciated! I don't have a ton of time to spoil my hens this month, but will do what I can! Thank you!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I'm wondering how big your coop is? Often these issues occur b/c of crowding. IMO, BYF birds should have 4 s.f. of open space per bird in the coop. Especially with cold winters, and when there is a roo present.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Let them chickens out. Mine are out in the rain, snow, wind, nothing slows them down. I agree with lazy gardener, give them plenty of room. Mine are never locked in.

    If you need to separate someone out do it right in the coop or run so they are never removed or else you could have troubles putting them back.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I think separating birds tends to cause more problems than it fixes. However, if you do separate the birds, and the tension in the flock falls dramatically, they are telling you that you have too many birds in the set up. You would do better to cull some birds and get your flock in harmony.

    Wishing they would just get a long won't work. Space is concrete, and as birds reach full size, they need more space or develop horrible habits. I am making some assumptions, that you might be new to birds, and may have too many birds for the size of your coop and run.

    MRs K
     
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  5. ChxLadyCass

    ChxLadyCass Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes their run is 20ftx20ft and their coop is too small but the new one isn't done yet. It's odd though because I watched the hens peck at the rooster's comb on a free range day. I think the limited space may have started it, but I'm looking for creative advice for the interim. Maybe there isn't any and they will just have to stick it out a few more weeks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    How many birds, ages, and genders?
    How long have they all lived together?
    What and how exactly are you feeding?
     
  7. ChxLadyCass

    ChxLadyCass Chillin' With My Peeps

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    11 birds. 1 Roo and 10 hens. Roo and 4 hens are about 3 years olds and have lived together for a year and a half. The older hens are the ones I saw picking at the Roo's comb. I have 5 younger hens just introduced about 5 weeks ago. The 2 oldest of those 5 just started laying. Not exactly sure how young the other 3 are, but my guess would be about just a few weeks away from laying. When I first introduced the new 5 hens, the 3 youngest had their feathers picked at before I bought them. They all had healed up but then the second to smallest hen just started looking like she's getting pecked at again. A little bit of blood on her bare skin where feathers haven't grown back.
    I am feeding them later feed in a feeder where they are free to feed. I also set out a bowl of fermented feed about every other day from the chick starter and then they also have access to oyster shell. I also throw them out some scratch in their run on the cold days and have water bottles with holes in them with layer feed and a tiny bit of scratch to entertain them. Phew I think that is all [​IMG]
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’ve separated a rooster when a hen pecked his throat bare while “grooming” him. My isolation was in the coop (my built-in brooder/broody buster). When I turned him loose the behavior stopped. I did that with a 2-week-old chick once. He was being raised by a broody hen and he was attacking his hatch mates, he actually killed one. After a day isolated in that broody buster his behavior changed. The broody hen kept her other chicks outside, didn’t seem to miss him although he was constantly giving that plaintive chirp. When I let him go she took him back. I personally don’t see this as any different to putting a broody in a broody buster for three days, but when I do it’s with the flock.

    I’ve never had a problem with re-integration, probably because they are housed with the flock. I have no experience housing a chicken separate from the flock for a time period and trying to reintegrate them. Yes they don’t like it, but so what. In my opinion it’s better to keep them alive than stress-free.
     
  9. ChxLadyCass

    ChxLadyCass Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for sharing your experience! Maybe I will find a way to do something similar! Just keep he and the little hen with the flock but separate in the run. My new coop will be built so soon! But not soon enough!
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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