Pecking behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Helens 4 Hens, Jan 15, 2017.

  1. Helens 4 Hens

    Helens 4 Hens New Egg

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    It has gotten very cold here (below freezing many nights) and one out of my three chickens has stopped laying, she has not laid an egg for just over a week, she seems fine otherwise. I have now noticed that the base of her tail feathers is looking scraggly and I have noticed the other chickens at times following her around and pecking at her butt, yes under her tail feathers, this is not constant and there are very few of her feathers around or in the coop area. Is this normal behavior? Should I be concerned and if so any recommendations. Thanks in advance
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Hens will stop laying due to stress, colder weather is one of those things that will cause hens to halt laying.

    Pecking is usually from confinement which happens when you keep them inside their coop because it's cold, or from protein deficiencies which can happen when layer ration is fed. Chickens will peck each other bloody and can cannibalize each other so take any such pecking seriously.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    How old is this bird?
    Have you looked closely at her vent area to see what might be going on back there?

    More info about your flock(numbers, genders, ages) and coop(size in feet by feet) might help shed light on the situation.

    Adding your location to your profile, so we know your climate, can help folks give better answers/suggestions.
     
  4. Helens 4 Hens

    Helens 4 Hens New Egg

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    Hello, thank you for your reply. She is less than a year old...will be a year this spring, this is her first laying season. We have four hens all around the same age but different breeds. She is a Wyandotte and was the last to start laying, she never really got to laying daily, every other day was her style and once in awhile she would lay two days in a row, by now it was November. I live in the Portland Oregon area and usually we have to contend with rain, however this year we have had below freezing temps since the new year and snow that is not going away.
    The coop inside is 4 x 6 ft and about 6 ft high (comes to a peak) and the outside area is 10 x 15. I have a heat lamp that comes on for 15 min. every hour starting at 5 pm. until 8 am. and a light source that comes on at 6 am and stays on until actual daylight. Their coop door is opened at 6:30 am and stays open for them to roam in and out until they decide to go in for the night.

    When the weather changed the other three might have missed a day here or there but they are all back to laying every day except Peggy Sue, she has not laid in almost two weeks, she seems fine otherwise. I have checked her vent area and well some of her tail feathers have been pecked she still has most of her downy feathers covering her area and things seem normal, there is no blood or open wounds, her stomach area fells normal as well.

    I am hoping that she is just young and not liking the cold weather.Things are supposed to warm up starting tomorrow so hopefully she will respond to the rain and warmer weather.
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    My Wyandotte are inconsistent layers. They stop and start at random and I would never exactly call them great layers, so I wouldn't be surprised by it.
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I should add that using a heat lamp can cause pecking behaviors as they can get too hot and crabby. Your climate shouldn't be severe enough to use one so, I would stop using it.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Agrees...it turning on and off all night can't be very restful either.
     
  8. George8207

    George8207 Just Hatched

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    I have a banty and 11 larger hens (one rooster). The banty is the bottom of the pecking order and was bloodied around the comb and beak. She took refuge in a laying box and then decided to be broody. I put 5 eggs under her but noticed every time she tried to eat one of the other chickens would chase her away. Assuming not being able to get enough food is why she is so light, I decided to separate her and built an enclosed run and used a big dog house for her sitting area. The eggs were transferred and I put her on the eggs. After 5 minutes or so, she left the dog house and refuses to go back in. She has been on the eggs for about 5 days but at the moment is refusing to sit on the eggs in the dog house. Would the eggs still be edible? Will she settle down and get back on the eggs in a day or two or will she be too lonely and just keep trying to get with the other chickens. Your suggestions are needed.
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Most broody hens don't like being relocated and won't sit on eggs in a new area without being confined to the nest.

    Bantams should be kept separate from larger breeds due to them getting bullied.

    She could be broody or just hiding in the nestboxes.

    I wouldn't eat the eggs, but others might, I prefer not to risk getting sick and would feed the eggs to the chickens.
     
  10. George8207

    George8207 Just Hatched

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    Thank you. I noticed when the chickens began going into the coop for the night she went into the doghouse and is sitting on the eggs although it is plenty big enough to where she did not hav
     

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