One dead hen, 4 bare butts - blu kote?hotpick? pine tar?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hensonly, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. hensonly

    hensonly Songster

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY

    have been reading post on picking & cannibalism, and have just started having the problem. I came home yesterday from a morning out and found one hen with her entire vent area pecked bloody, lying in the corner of the coop. I brought her in, warmed her up, but she was semiconcious and died an hour later. Now I have 4 more bare butts, no blood (yet).

    I would love to put something on the bare areas, but what should it be? I used to use blu-kote on my horses, I'd be comfortable using that, but I doubt it would deter further picking...but does hotpick or pine tar burn if put on raw spots? I don't want the girls picking themselves because I made them uncomfortable.
  2. chutewoman

    chutewoman In the Brooder

    Dec 28, 2008
    Mid- Missouri
    Same thing happened to me about two weeks ago. I lost two hens. Pine tar works wonders, I tried the blue kote but it was not thick enough to stay on the feathers. I used the back of a spoon and put a healthy glop of pine tar on their bottoms and after about 3 days of reapplying they lost interest in each other. It does not seem to hurt their bottoms at all, they all just sat there and let me apply it. My hens were nuts so I put it on all their bottoms wounded or not. I also put it right above their tails between their wings. They have now started acting normal again, :eek:) but just in case I put another dab on the bare bottoms today. Some of them are starting to grow feathers and I do not want the nightmare to begin again. Pine tar is also an antiseptic.
  3. hensonly

    hensonly Songster

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    Thanks for your input. I got some pine tar yesterday, but when I read the can it said Caution: skin irritant. not for use on food animals.

    Is there more than one kind? This stuff is aimed at horses' hooves. I told the guy what I wanted it for, and he said it was the right stuff.

    I don't want to put in on until I know it won't make things worse...

  4. Highlander

    Highlander Tartan Terror

    Oct 1, 2008
    I used ultra violet (I believe the same as your blu kote) on my roo after he was scalped by a dog and the girls wouldn't leave him alone. It worked wonders and they never touched him after I put it on. He has a lovely fluffy butt again!
  5. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    feed your chickens raw liver for a few days, in addition to their regular food. That should help quite a bit.
  6. And double-check for rodents, unless you are positive it's the other birds doing this. Rats can bite at or under the vent at night. Often fatal.

    Whatever the cause the Blu-Kote you use for horses is safe for chickens. Neosporin after, in case of infection. Do you have electrolytes with terramycin? If not I'd get them on it, fast.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009
  7. notsooldmcdonald

    notsooldmcdonald Songster

    Oct 14, 2008
    Lempster, NH
    My girls were hitting my roo's comb/wattles pretty hard. I posted about it, and I will pass on the excellent advice I got (which is working very well!)

    -pine tar (it's actually antimicrobial, so not bad to put on areas of potential infection) I actually use the teeny bit that's left from the last bottle I had for my horse. Wave it under the nose of one of your chickens, mine actually back away from it. I reapply daily, but look closely to check on fresh pecks. If none, I back off a bit.

    -Avia Charge to boost their systems. Sometimes they turn to picking/cannibalism due to deficiencies.

    - Keep them busy:
    I sprinkle a mix of scratch, BOSS, and grit in amongst a spread out flake of leafy hay AND drop a couple apples (or a bag of spinach, or bunch of kale, or a head of cabbage...basically whatever I've got) in the mix (I have 20 birds) to help stave off boredom.

    So far, this has been helping immensely. Good luck!

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009
  8. hensonly

    hensonly Songster

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    Quote:I'm positive it's the other birds. The coop is not in a high-traffic area, so except for the path to it, the snow all around makes it easy to see that nothing is coming in over the snow. I've checked for holes coming from underground, and found none. the roost is about 4 feet off the ground, so it's pretty inconvenient for a rat to climb up there to bite them, and it just looks like the feathers are pulled out - no broken skin, more like razor burn!

    I don't have electrolytes/terramycin - does it come pre mixed? Do you add it to their water? Would it affect the eggs? For how long?

    Thanks to everyone for your info
  9. Use Pedialite (pharmacy) for electrolytes if you can't get the poultry type. It might be that your birds are picking themselves, I have one going broody who was doing that. If so, it's a circle-shaped area below the vent often extending down between the legs. It's arranged so that they can place bare skin over eggs to warm them. Is anyone pooping excessively in nesting boxes, or slipping back in there as you leave? Sometimes they clean a spot and become secret broodys.

    If you ever use terramycin in their water it says to stop using the eggs, but our vet and one other have told me the dose is so low that unless you have somone in the house allergic to the antibiotic it isn't a problem. Another BYC member Chickadilly, was told the same by a state vet. You have to decide for yourself!

    As a precaution I treated by girl with food-grade DE abd Dri-Kill in case she has pests, and dusted the nest boxes too. But I caught her plucking her own feathers and figured her out. I'm removing the morning eggs a little earlier to break her habit.

    Have you checked the feathers carefully to see if there are waxy deposits and checked all over for anything crawling? I'd treat just in case as you try to decipher what's wrong.

    Earth floor? What's under the bedding? A rat can jump over 6 feet, btw. I would check every square inch unless you are 100% sure it's another hen. Since you lost one, you have to keep a close eye and get this solved, fast. I'm so sorry, it sounds heartbreaking.

    If you ever have an animal with a bare spot, dry and no sores- and you know you have sorted out the cause, Caldescene powder available at the pharmacy is soothing until hair or feathers regrow, use sparingly.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  10. lisameeks

    lisameeks In the Brooder

    Apr 12, 2008
    I have a question about the pine tar. I previously posted about a nine month old who lost a patch of feathers on her back right before her tail. Notice bloody spots. Forum gave good advice--check for mites (no mites), separate her and medicate with regular Neosporine. Someone else suggested pine tar as a healing deterrent. My regular feed store didn't have pine tar but I took the advice about separation/neosporing while I was calling places for pine tar. Bloody spots healed quickly. The feathers hadn't grown back in, but after a couple of days I put her back in with the rest of the girls. Last night I saw another bloody spot on the bare patch. This morning I finally found pine tar at Tractor Supply (when I called they said they didn't carry it, I drove out there anyway and they DID have it). I put pine tar on the bald spot/pecked places. She started walking around the run like she was agitated or like it stung. I went back out in 15 minutes to check on her and all the pine tar was gone. I reappled and watched. She's the one picking at the pine tar. Then she acts like it tastes bad but she keeps on picking at herself. I separated her again and came in to check the list. How long before she realizes the pine tar tastes bad? Do I keep on putting it on? Someone at one of the feed stores I was calling looking for pine tar said use bag balm? Anyone had any luck with that.

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