**new with photos** buff orps are pecking each other to death

tazzy

Songster
11 Years
Apr 2, 2008
326
2
139
Kentucky
what to do? we now have eight buff orpington hens (hatched may 07) since two have recently been killed by the rest of the hens. they pecked them to death. we saw the pecking begin last summer and we went to tractor supply and they sold us a purple substance to put on them. that didn't work, then we went back and they sold us a black tar like product to put on the wounds to heal and discourage pecking. seemed to work okay. but suddenly, they started pecking on everyone again. we separated the three worst ones with injuries, but of remaining, one hen was killed last week and then a second hen was killed two days ago.

what should we do? We want a buff orpington rooster but none are available. would that put order back into our hen house? We also have them under a roof and in a 14 foot by 8 foot pen and we're going to expand it to include an outdoor area, still completely fenced in top to bottom to protect from predators. hoping that the activity outdoors will calm them down. we can't let them run loose in our area. too many coyotes.
 
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miss_thenorth

Songster
12 Years
Dec 28, 2007
2,071
25
201
SW Ont, Canada
Hi, and welcome to BYC. I am by no means an expert, but I do know that chickens peck for several different reasons. to establish pecking order, b/c they are in cramped quarters, b/c they need more protein in their diet, b/c they are bored.

What are you feeding your girls and how much room do they have to spend their days. Is is possible they might be bored?
 

tazzy

Songster
11 Years
Apr 2, 2008
326
2
139
Kentucky
hi, we're feeding them Dumor 16% layer poultry feed. we sometimes spread a bale of fresh hay in their henhouse to jeep them occupied for a while. there are 8 now and they are in a 14' x 8' pen with a dirt floor.

I def. think they're bored. that' why we're adding the outdoor area, fenced on all sides and roof and side walls buried in concrete to prevent wildlife from digging under.
 

justusnak

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Feb 28, 2007
6,016
21
286
South Eastern Indiana
That area should easily fit 20 or so hens. So, I would think they are bored, and maybe have "cabin fever" Get a few heads of lettuce..cabbage..squash..and hang them just in thier reach. Give them something new to peck at. This should work to keep them busy...and entertained.
 

fivebigreds

Songster
12 Years
Sep 9, 2007
245
5
131
middle Tennessee
Fry some hamburger and give them about a half a cup or more per day . Chickens require animal protien and will cannabalize one another if this need is not met. Baby chicks will start this young , picking at one another. I fed my chicks hamburger and scrambeled eggs and have never had one to pick at another. They are strong and have grown hardy. I also feed my adult birds meat when the bugs and worm population is low. No one eats no one.
 

blueskylen

Songster
11 Years
Mar 3, 2008
682
4
151
WV
Hi, how old would the chicks need to be before feeding the eggs or hamburg? would red worms be OK? Mine are just 2 days old, but after reading about the cannibalism thing, I just don't want them to get started pecking each other.
thanks
blueskylen
 

fivebigreds

Songster
12 Years
Sep 9, 2007
245
5
131
middle Tennessee
I let my chicks get about 3 days old and are accustomed to eating their starter then give them one scrambled egg a day, ( beaware that they will morph from cute fuzzy chicks to finger eating sharks after they get a taste and learn what it is )
after they clean that up pretty quick i increase to 2 eggs after about a week they can have grit and hamburger. I know that hb is ground pretty fine but, i offer chick grit in small amounts so they won't fill up on rock and not feed. The hamburger i use is the five lb logs and i add 1 large box of oatmeal, 3 cups of rice and water to reconstitute the rice and add moisture , place it in a large baking pan and cook until done. I then add DE on top and stir , portion in to quart freezer bags and freeze. I then keep some in the frige for daily feeding. We are feeding 47 adults, chicks and bantams 1 1/2 cups a day.
red worms would be ok if you want to mash them up
 
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tazzy

Songster
11 Years
Apr 2, 2008
326
2
139
Kentucky
oh no. another three that we'd separated ended up having a casualty. they were pecked on, so we pulled them out and they were doing fine together in our second area. but one of them was killed last night by one of the others.

it's so heartbreaking. we are hanging cabbages, gonna try the protein thing, getting more sunlight in there, etc, etc...this is so upsetting.
 

tazzy

Songster
11 Years
Apr 2, 2008
326
2
139
Kentucky
it seems to be a little better. at least, no new bodies. yet.

My husband cut a new window into the chicken coop to let in morning sunlight until he can build an outside run area for them. (they were just getting afternoon sun) and he hung the cabbages and put in new straw. we also went and bought buff orp roo this afternoon so we'll see how that goes...

thanks for asking!
 

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