GambaDawn

Chirping
Jun 11, 2020
111
135
73
Central California
Hi, so I have four hens and one roo. I have 4 more younger girls almost ready to integrate to the flock. My four older (25 weeks) all suddenly have sores or holes or pecked? Combs. I’m new and from what I’ve read it doesn’t look like pox, but? Here’s some pics. Am hoping if any of you could help with what it is and what to do I would be greatly appreciative. They are eating and drinking and laying fine.
 

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sourland

Broody Magician
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That's a very large rooster. My guess is that he is injuring the hens' combs while breeding them.
 

GambaDawn

Chirping
Jun 11, 2020
111
135
73
Central California
Ugh, I think I need to recommend him for sure now.
Rehome Not recommend!
so, I put the roo in his bachelors quarters for a week and the pecking of the combs has gotten so much worse! One of my girls is doing it. Why!? one of my girls is really getting the worst of it. Should I separate the one who is doing it out?
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
Sep 26, 2015
2,176
2,714
357
Portland OR
Rehome Not recommend!
so, I put the roo in his bachelors quarters for a week and the pecking of the combs has gotten so much worse! One of my girls is doing it. Why!? one of my girls is really getting the worst of it. Should I separate the one who is doing it out?
Two things - Chickens LOVE blood. And scabs (blood flavored cookies!!). So - the one who is getting the worst of it needs to take a break from the group. If she can stay within sight/sound of the group but they can't touch her, putting her back will go better. Combs heal quickly - lots of blood supply. But if they keep pecking away the blood cookie (scabs) and get rewarded with the flowing blood- they won't stop.

As for the bully--- she needs to get separated for a few days - out of sight and sound so they forget about her for a while and she gets the stranger treatment. If the rooster isn't the one causing the damage, and it got worse after he was removed - put him back, he was probably doing his best to keep the peace.

I would probably even introduce younger birds before putting the bully back. The smaller the flock, the bigger those kinds of problems seem to be because they're very focused on each other. Also, the smaller the space, the higher the drama. If she comes back and there are more chickens- it might calm her down a bit.

Also, they're hormonal wrecks right now - once they settle into laying, the drama will dial back- it might spike some as the 2nd group goes through the same thing- or the rooster and older hens will step in and set them straight (hopefully in a bloodless fashion) Then... reintroduced to hopefully re-position her lower within the flock.

Second thing- how much space do they have? Having an area that allows for a lower ranking chickens to be out of the sight range of more dominant chickens can make a big difference. This is relatively easy to accomplish with an "L" or "U" shaped run. If that's not possible- then break up the space with plywood- not to block them in or out- but to give the lower hens somewhere to hide- but never a dead end. So you could lean a couple sheets of plywood against the fence in different spots (wire it up so it doesn't fall) - just not in a corner - they need to be able to get out of the way.
 

GambaDawn

Chirping
Jun 11, 2020
111
135
73
Central California
Two things - Chickens LOVE blood. And scabs (blood flavored cookies!!). So - the one who is getting the worst of it needs to take a break from the group. If she can stay within sight/sound of the group but they can't touch her, putting her back will go better. Combs heal quickly - lots of blood supply. But if they keep pecking away the blood cookie (scabs) and get rewarded with the flowing blood- they won't stop.

As for the bully--- she needs to get separated for a few days - out of sight and sound so they forget about her for a while and she gets the stranger treatment. If the rooster isn't the one causing the damage, and it got worse after he was removed - put him back, he was probably doing his best to keep the peace.

I would probably even introduce younger birds before putting the bully back. The smaller the flock, the bigger those kinds of problems seem to be because they're very focused on each other. Also, the smaller the space, the higher the drama. If she comes back and there are more chickens- it might calm her down a bit.

Also, they're hormonal wrecks right now - once they settle into laying, the drama will dial back- it might spike some as the 2nd group goes through the same thing- or the rooster and older hens will step in and set them straight (hopefully in a bloodless fashion) Then... reintroduced to hopefully re-position her lower within the flock.

Second thing- how much space do they have? Having an area that allows for a lower ranking chickens to be out of the sight range of more dominant chickens can make a big difference. This is relatively easy to accomplish with an "L" or "U" shaped run. If that's not possible- then break up the space with plywood- not to block them in or out- but to give the lower hens somewhere to hide- but never a dead end. So you could lean a couple sheets of plywood against the fence in different spots (wire it up so it doesn't fall) - just not in a corner - they need to be able to get out of the way.
Wow, thank you so much for that! I saw the hen who is the bully, start picking on poor Mother Cluckers bare spot first thing this morNing, so I ran into the run, and picked her up and put her into our brooder (which I just emptied lol). It’s big enough for her to be in time out for a few days, maybe a week, (6 x 4 x maybe 3 feet high). She is NOT happy, lol.
Our coop and double run are, Coop, 5 x 6x 5, and runs are 8 feet long, six feet tall and 5 feet wide. Two adjoining runs now (no pic of the new one) so double the space outside. Plus they have a nice area under the coop. we just doubled the run, as I had four more girls in the brooder till this week when I put them out in the adjoining run, so they can all get to know each other. That’s why I can’t put the bully there or my injured on in the brooder Right now. Also, there is a high roost as well as a tree branch in there now that they love to fly up to. So things did seem much calmer with Buttercup out of there, so hopefully in a week I can open the door to the adjoining runs for a supervised visit for the little ones and see how they do. Buttercup will stay in time out for now! Thank you again for taking the time to help, it’s so appreciated!
 

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Shezadandy

Crowing
Sep 26, 2015
2,176
2,714
357
Portland OR
Wow, thank you so much for that! I saw the hen who is the bully, start picking on poor Mother Cluckers bare spot first thing this morNing, so I ran into the run, and picked her up and put her into our brooder (which I just emptied lol). It’s big enough for her to be in time out for a few days, maybe a week, (6 x 4 x maybe 3 feet high). She is NOT happy, lol.
Our coop and double run are, Coop, 5 x 6x 5, and runs are 8 feet long, six feet tall and 5 feet wide. Two adjoining runs now (no pic of the new one) so double the space outside. Plus they have a nice area under the coop. we just doubled the run, as I had four more girls in the brooder till this week when I put them out in the adjoining run, so they can all get to know each other. That’s why I can’t put the bully there or my injured on in the brooder Right now. Also, there is a high roost as well as a tree branch in there now that they love to fly up to. So things did seem much calmer with Buttercup out of there, so hopefully in a week I can open the door to the adjoining runs for a supervised visit for the little ones and see how they do. Buttercup will stay in time out for now! Thank you again for taking the time to help, it’s so appreciated!
I bet she is more than a touch peeved... Step 1 -- well underway!

Couple suggestions- sorry for turning your pretty run into a clown car with my drawings. Inbetween your adjoining runs, I would put chicken doors that flip up in three locations along the connecting wall. They can be framed using 2x2s on the doors themselves. I'd put a 2x4 across the whole way at the height of those doors. This will also help when it comes time to integrate the new group - a bunch of ways through to escape conflict without it just being a big square. I would use 2 barrel bolts to secure the doors, one at each corner of the door, then you can just drill a hole in the upper 2x4 to hold the doors open, and use the catches that come with barrel bolts to secure them below.

The yellow would be the doors that flip upward. Blue would be the 2x4's to frame them in. I'm assuming the adjoining run is on the right towards the house. The purple would be a piece of plywood scrap that gets wired to the 2x4 so it doesn't fall. Along with the underside of the coop, it's another little hiding spot. l would do the same thing on the other side towards the house- it's all about breaking the line of sight. I would also add at least one more latch to the door- I would add 2 more (the green splotches).
InkedInkedHW cloth 2_LI.jpg


It's possible you've already done this - where the red lines are, I would use 2x2s on the outside of your frame anywhere it's the skinny side of the 2x4 ... screw them into the exterior frame with 2 1/2" screws to make your run much more predator secure. At the near corners on the right side of the photo, 2x4s. The other reason to do this is the staples *will* loosen at some point. Screwing boards along all the hardware cloth seams will keep the staples from working loose- and will also keep from catching clothing and whatever else. Do this the entire way around.

InkedHW cloth_LI.jpg
 

GambaDawn

Chirping
Jun 11, 2020
111
135
73
Central California
I’ll take a new pic today, but thanks for all your info! Where you have the red is where we put the second run, but the chicken doors are a great idea! We can put two in probably, since we have a full size door on the adjoining wall already, that when no babies are in there we open fully. Also I bought all the thin boards to screw in on the outside framing, but we have not done it yet. Will do, thanks for the reminder. We do have two latches on the door now as well. The plywood, is that angled down from the 2x4 towards the ground? And yes, Buttercup is still pissed! She tries to fly out of the brooder when I open it to clean and feed her 😂
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
Sep 26, 2015
2,176
2,714
357
Portland OR
I’ll take a new pic today, but thanks for all your info! Where you have the red is where we put the second run, but the chicken doors are a great idea! We can put two in probably, since we have a full size door on the adjoining wall already, that when no babies are in there we open fully. Also I bought all the thin boards to screw in on the outside framing, but we have not done it yet. Will do, thanks for the reminder. We do have two latches on the door now as well. The plywood, is that angled down from the 2x4 towards the ground? And yes, Buttercup is still pissed! She tries to fly out of the brooder when I open it to clean and feed her 😂

Awesome! I hope she turns over a new feather when she goes back. Teeheheeee

This was for a window (I do hardware cloth on the inside and outside of each window) but it's the same basic idea. I guess in this one I used a clasp instead of barrel bolts to secure them.

1606531648375.png

The added boards will make a big difference to the security of your run. Usually I too use 1x2's 1x3s and 1x4s - just the cost difference between a 2x4 and a 1x4 makes me mad, so it's my own personal boycott.

Yes, the plywood would lean against a 2x4 from the frame. You could add one a bit lower for added support, or double the existing one. Then there's a hole drilled through the top of the plywood in 2 spots, and a hole drilled in the frame's 2x4 - then a simple wire or rope through the hole. If you want to be extra fancy about it , you could put kind of a door stopper on it too - might help the plywood extend its life. Cut a 2x4 to the same length as the plywood sheet. Then cut a 2x2 (or 1x2) the same length- and screw the 2x2 into the 2x4, so the board doesn't touch the ground, and the narrower higher area acts as a backstop.
 

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