Overnight feeding and watering

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Mickeybb, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Mickeybb

    Mickeybb New Egg

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    Mar 21, 2012
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    I have a Polish hen that has been at the bottom of the pecking order since day 1. Recently the other hens have been plucking her feathers, a lot. I'm on my way to the farm store to get the salve to put on her bare, slightly bloody spots, and I plan to separate her at night which is when the pecking takes place. Coop and run size is not the problem. As far as I know, nutrition is not a problem either. My question is: Can I put the hen in one of the nesting boxes, sealed off with chicken wire overnight to keep her out of harms way even though she wouldn't have access to food and water during the overnight hours? Do chickens eat or drink through the night?
     
  2. Glasshen

    Glasshen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have heard that they do not eat or drink at night. And mine seem to stay in their sleeping area. I think that sounds safe for her. But maybe others know more.
     
  3. rungirl

    rungirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To answer your question, chickens don't eat and drink at night. They don't see well in the dark. I don't know how much space you have, but I use a wire dog cage inside the coop to separate chickens. You can use gallon milk jugs with the top quarter cut off and the handle left on for temporary feeders/waters. Use the jug handle and wire them to the side of the cage. You need to separate her so her wounds can heal.

    Are you sure the pecking is happening at night and not the daytime also?

    You might want to try getting some pinless peepers for the hens that are doing the picking. I think I ordered mine from eggcartons.com because they don't carry them in the farm stores. I have a couple bullies who I knew were pulling feathers out of one hen. The peepers really worked. You'll need someone to help you when you put them on. They can still eat with them on, but it makes it hard for them to see things in front of them to peck at. Also, you need to cover the wounds because the other chickens will just keep picking at the blood and bare spots, especially if you plan on letting her out during the day with them. Anything that looks different gets picked on. That's what chickens do.
     
  4. Mickeybb

    Mickeybb New Egg

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    Mar 21, 2012
    NE Indiana
    Thanks for your input. My farm store didn't have the blue coat stuff I saw mentioned in other threads but they had some spray stuff. I hope it works, it was expensive. I don't think she's getting pecked on during the day. They all seem to be busy enough that they don't bother her. I'm going to try using one of the nesting boxes as a safe place tonight because it will be convenient and I still have the water bottles from when they were little so I'll put one of those in there with her. I'll try to keep an eye out for any pecking during the day and if it happens I'll have to figure out another way.
     
  5. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. Glasshen

    Glasshen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck, and welcome to BYC!
     
  7. Mickeybb

    Mickeybb New Egg

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    Mar 21, 2012
    NE Indiana
    Thanks for the welcome! I've actually been lurking and learning here for more than a year. :) I thought I'd give you an update on my situation. I've been putting the hen in question into one of the nesting boxes at night which has been closed off with chicken wire and includes a water bottle just in case, and I haven't seen one of her feathers in the box in the morning. When she was in the coop proper with all the others overnight, I'd usually find a bunch of her feathers on the floor. I've also been watching for pecking during the day and haven't seen it. So, I'm pretty happy.
    I have to point out something kind of funny about her getting her feathers plucked out ... The other hens went after the feathers under her neck and around her face first. She's actually bare there, no bleeding but ... she can see now! Her top knot was very full and it rendered her nearly blind, but not anymore!
     
  8. tlagnhoj

    tlagnhoj Out Of The Brooder

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    It is not true that they do not get off the roost at night. It might not be normal, but it's not universally applicable. If roused from sleep at night, they can and do take advantage of available food/water. I've caught mine doing it twice now, and honestly I believe it's happening more than that. With no discernible cause other than they needed a midnight sip. (Darn lushes.) No predators, no lights, no sounds. Just four hens out for a midnight stroll in the run. [​IMG]

    That said, I don't think they NEED to eat or drink at night. So withholding it from her would probably be just fine.
     
  9. DawnCols

    DawnCols Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have also had problems with flockmates picking on my Polish. I detailed how I resolved the problem in this post here:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/555373/reintroducing-silkie-to-standard-flock-mates#post_7146928

    Let me add that the product I used, hot pick (and probably other anti-picking products too) is well--hot. I would be careful to avoid eyes and wounds. And also that chickens will become drawn to bare spots and bloody spots. If they develop a taste for chicken blood, you'll have big problems on your hands--they are perfectly capable of killing each other.

    Here's a link to the catalog page for Hot Pick at MyPetChicken (a forum sponsor):
    http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog/Chicken-Health/Hot-Pick-Spray-4-oz-spray-p1001.aspx#

    Sounds like you're on your way to a happy resolution. Best wishes!
     
  10. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Polish are magnets for being picked on! It can become deadly. I was given two Polish that looked like bald friars with rim of hair around their heads. I made them duct tape hats. It worked! See here:
    http://www.hencam.com/henblog/2009/10/punk-rock-hens/

    Although the other posters were right, and hens don't peck or eat at night, you can get some serious pecking issues right at bedtime on the roosts. I had one hen that had a hole pecked in her during the jostling for position. It helps if you have 6 inches of roost space per hen, and roosts of different levels. You can see my roosts on my livecam at www.HenCam.com.
     

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