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Parasites? Lice? Jealousy? Disease? Injuries?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ClareScifi, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Yesterday I noticed my rooster's comb was bleeding. A big black scab had fallen off. It wasn't dripping blood, per se, though there had been blood on his hackles, which had caught my attention, and when the scab fell off I saw that the area it had covered looked bloody.

    I separated him from the flock last night, bringing him in, worried he might either get frostbite or the hens might peck it.

    However, I have never seen any of my chickens peck the others' combs. I have seen the head Hen get annoyed with the younger hens and peck at them, to keep them in line, but never drawing blood. I have never seen the hens peck at the rooster's comb, either. He is much taller and stronger, and I can't imagine them trying that, or even being able to reach high enough.

    So I wondered whether he could have snagged his comb on something. I looked for possible sites of injury but couldn't find anything.

    This morning it was cold out, so I left the hens in the coop later than I normally do. When I went out I was shocked to see one of the younger pullets with blood on her comb. I checked the coop and there was blood spattered here and there, even on the Bantie's egg, but I couldn't see any site of injury. The Bantie isn't the pullet who has blood on her comb.

    The pullet with the bloodied comb seemed to have some diarrhea with a few undigested All Flock pellets emitted, as best I could tell. She seems in good spirits and went off to lay her egg. When I found it, it had a bit of blood on it, like the Bantie's egg did. She ate her lettuce well, but I noticed her comb was really dripping blood. The other chickens had been separated from her the whole time, so they hadn't pecked at it.

    I gave her scrambled eggs.

    The rooster wants to come outside, but with his healing comb (it looks pretty good today) and this pullets' bloody comb, I don't think it would be a good idea to let him out.

    Recently, I have started keeping the bantie separate from the rooster so he won't try to mate with her. Folks have told me a large rooster can really hurt a tiny Sebright Bantie while mating. Do you suppose by so doing, I've messed up the pecking order? I've never seen the Bantie attack anyone (except the cats). She is feisty but minds her beeswax. The StepMama hen, a 2 year old Barred Rock, does chase the Bantie around quite a bit, as if the Bantie annoys her, and play-pecks at her to keep her in line, but I've never seen her aggressively hurt the Bantie.

    Same with the half white-leghorns. The Barred Rock will chase them and pseudo peck them. I've never seen the StepMama chase or peck the rooster, except when he was little, and she did that a lot in those days. When he first hatched she nearly pecked him to death. It was her first attempt at motherhood.

    So I'm stumped as to what may be going on. It does seem that the older Barred Rock doesn't care to mate with the rooster much, so I've also tried to separate her from him for a bit and allow the half white leghorns to have most access to him, because they seem to mind him the least. The rooster, the Bantie, and the two half white leghorns all turn 27 weeks old tomorrow, God willing.

    Could something else be going on? Parasites? Worms? Some sort of a disease?

    I give the rooster All Flock since he's not supposed to have as much calcium as is in laying mash, and I keep oystershell available in his pen for the girls when they are with him, so they'll have plenty of calcium for laying eggs, in combo with his All Flock Food.

    In the girls' pen I keep laying mash, and they all get it when they are in there. I don't think they have a dietary deficiency that would cause pecking, although the StepMama does seem very hungry all the time, but she always has been this way. I feed them scrambled eggs and nice lettuce greens, and they do free-range part of the day. I don't feed them starchy foods or scratch for fear of fatty liver disease, though there are corn bits in the mash and All Flock. I give them a little plain yogurt once a week, and Apple Cider Vinegar in their water.

    I just don't know what to think about all of this? What is your best guess? Thanks for your help.
  2. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Two other thoughts I forgot to add.

    The hen with the bloody comb is flighty. I don't know how I'd ever catch her to put Neosporin on her comb, or Blue-Kote. How long must I keep her separated from the others so she doesn't get pecked by them? If I'm not able to put Blue-Kote on it? She can fly in and out of the main run. Do you think it is best for me to just let her free-range, or might she fly into the run with the others, not realizing they will peck her? I wonder whether she could get away in time if she saw them coming at her? I have not seen them pecking at her comb.

    Do you think my taking the rooster inside last night caused a pecking order problem? I was afraid his comb might get pecked by the others, but perhaps he would have prevented the hens from pecking the pullet's comb? Since he wasn't there with them, did they see it as an opportunity to peck the hen without fear of chastisement from him?

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