Molting/Pecking/Awful behavior

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by poulet2016, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. poulet2016

    poulet2016 Chirping

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    May 31, 2016
    hello all,
    My girls are going through their first molt- it is mine too since they are my first chickens so I am quite the newbie! I have 2 auracanas (okay that is what I was told they were but but after reading up I am guessing they are EEs or some kind of mix). The auracanas are really the only ones obviously molting- their big mullets starting falling out, etc. Last week I cam home from work and there were SO MANY feathers from one bird in the run- she looked pretty scraggly. I guessed perhaps she just lost a lot of feathers that day... Yesterday I noticed her pin feathers were coming in...and the ends of them all had little tiny drops of blood coming from them.
    I feel horrible that I didn't separate her from the rest yesterday- but today when I came home she looked even more picked over, with several bloody feather spots and just red, raw patches everywhere. She was hiding in the coop while the rest of the girls were in the run. She is my most timid bird and never, ever lets me catch her..I know she is terrified and feeling terrible as she let me hold her right away. I brought her in and she's currently in the house in a crate with water and plenty of protein. I feel horrible and am worried about what is going on with my barbaric chickens?!
    I plan on keeping her separated until her feathers/rough spots come in or she doesn't seem so vulnerable. I have no idea how long that will be! Any suggestions on what else I can do? Has this happened to anyone else's chickens? They have gotten along pretty peaceably since we've had them. It's like this molt/moment of weakness made everyone vicious and turn on her.
    Also..what do you recommend I put on the raw/bloody spots to heal? Blue Kote? I have some but I feel like perhaps there is something else I should be using.
    Any suggestions welcome...a little heartbroken for my poor chicken over here!!
     
    OliveGrace likes this.
  2. Fairview01

    Fairview01 Songster

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    Give her a good coating of blue cote first. Then a coat of pine tar over the raw areas over the blue cote. The pine tar protects the exposed skin from biting flies and while I find the aroma quite pleasant it must taste pretty bad to the chickens because it stops the pecking in short order. I had an overcrowded condition which started the pecking. I gave them more room and did the above a week ago. Once started it is hard to stop but I haven't seen anymore of it. I also punched several holes large enough for scratch to fall out of in a water bottle, filled it with scratch, put the cap on and chunked it in their run as a distraction. That bottle gets pushed and rolled all day long all around the run while it doles out just a few pieces of scratch at a time. Keeps them busy all day long.
     
    OliveGrace likes this.
  3. poulet2016

    poulet2016 Chirping

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    May 31, 2016
    such good ideas..thank you so much! I will try the water bottle. I do a hanging head of cabbage often but it doesn't last that long...
     
  4. Fairview01

    Fairview01 Songster

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    Birds can see color so blue cote alone will not only not stop the pecking but may in fact encourage it due to the color. Pecking is the first step to cannibalism. Chickens have a taste for raw meat. The pine tar is the key to stop the behavior.
     
    OliveGrace likes this.
  5. Sharwig

    Sharwig Songster

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    @poulet16 — I have the same problem! I noticed a large amount of feathers from one of my Americauna’s this weekend. Came home today and noticed blood on her wing. When I gave her a quick look over, there was blood dripping from the end of a broken quill (is that the right term?) I also had a cracked egg in the nest last week where only a bit of shell was left...then found another egg with what looked like a peck hole in it. I don’t know who the culprit is yet! Interested to follow the responses and see how best to solve this problem. How do you know if the feather loss is from molting, or pecking?
     
  6. poulet2016

    poulet2016 Chirping

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    May 31, 2016
    Hi there!
    This sounds exactly how it started with my birds. I only seemed to make things better by separating the bloody/bullied one for a week while she healed and then separating the bully (who was our favorite...it was so hard to realize that she was the problem!!) for a week once I put the bullied one back in. Once I reintroduced the bully the others kept her in line so things have been okay. I also increased their run space which I think has helped. The feather loss with the molting on my aurucanas (I think they are actually some kind of americaunas but I was told they were aurucanas when we got them as chicks) was dramatic- lots of feathers in the run one day. Now the bully is going through hers! My other birds are losing feathers here and there and looking ragged a little but it doesn't seem as dramatic as my green egg laying girls.
    As for being pecked on..I think this time of year molting is definitely what is going on, but bloody pin feathers-- that is other chickens picking on each other! My girls pick on each other's butts occasionally- there is often a girl or two who is a little bald in the back- that is behavioral. I think large amounts of feathers this time of year is molting. I'm pretty new at this, so hopefully others will jump in!!
    My girls occasionally eat eggs too- I just try to give them protein treats (scrambled eggs mostly, or sometimes tuna) and collect my eggs often!
    Good luck! Hope your bird with the bloody pin feather is okay.
     
    Sharwig likes this.
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Up the feeds protein content to 18%...I feed grower all year and oyster shell in a separate dish..Limit free range time and cut back extra treats to once a week..Balanced nutrition is key in Chickens behaviour and production...
     
    OliveGrace and Sharwig like this.
  8. I agree with the blue kote, but I would never put pine tar on my birds. Sometimes "old school" ain't the best school. How many birds do you have, poulet2016 and how much space in the coop and run? Do they free range? I'd feed them all flock raiser or grower as it's 20% protein compared the 16-18%. The added protein will help. You can always keep a bowl of oyster shell free choice for calcium. They'll take what they need.
     
    OliveGrace and Sharwig like this.

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