Pecking-Cannabalizing

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Val3rie, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. Val3rie

    Val3rie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2009
    Long Island NY
    OK... I'm getting really upset and am at my wits end. I got these 8 chickens, that someone had dumped off in a local park. They all looked pretty good. I brought them home and my husband (reluctantly) built a beautiful coop with a pen. They all start pecking the you-know-what out of each other. I've tried everything. I built them a rediculously HUGE outside run, plenty of space per bird as per BYC people, then I tried HOT PICK, then Anti-Peck Lotion, then viatmins in the water, and trimming the points (just the very tips) off their beaks. Finally the worst offenders had to go. I took two to a big farm for unwanted farm animals. All was fine for two days, then another one started in, so I took her up to the big farm. I'm left with five. All was good for 5 days. NOW another one started. And I'm not talking "the pecking order" I'm talking full blown cannabalization, bloody huge wounds where I have to remove the bird and nurse it back to health. I'm ready to toss in the towel, and I really love these chickens I would love to keep them and would do whatever it takes, but no matter what I do it starts up again. Do you think... that maybe before I had them they were all free- range and that they just cant adapt to being confined even tho the pen is HUGE? or would this happen with any birds? I think this is beyond the normal pecking order thing. Do you think if I got rid of all these and started fresh with some chicks that have grown up only knowing confinement that this would not happen? I dont know for sure what these chickens were like or how they were kept before I got them, but I can tell you they didnt look all defeathered and pecked. Mine are purple with blue-kote (so am I). I really really really dont want to jam that horrid anti pick thing thru their nose, it looks so cruel, or the chicken bit rings, that looks cruel too. I just dont know what to do!!! [​IMG] Please help!! THANKS (I love this website!)
     
  2. sewincircle

    sewincircle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2008
    Central New York
    Starting over may be your best bet. Cannibalism is not good. The only other suggestions I have is adding apple cider vinigar to the water. 1 tbls/gallon. Or give them lower lighting. Some places do beak triming but I dont agree with that. It sounds like you have tried a lot already though. I wouldnt blame you if you started over. Best wishes to you.
     
  3. gallo34

    gallo34 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2009
    wait..dont give up...
     
  4. Momo

    Momo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
  5. luvmygirlsinAK

    luvmygirlsinAK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 15, 2008
    North Pole, Ak
    Have you tried increasing their protein?
     
  6. Val3rie

    Val3rie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2009
    Long Island NY
    I did order some pinless peepers, I'm running to the mail box everyday! I did not give them protien, what would you recommend? They get oatmeal for a warm treat.... they go bananas for that!!!
     
  7. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    For protein we give:
    1) meat and fat scraps from our meals
    2) black oil sunflower seeds
    3) tuna fish

    We get sides of beef and pork from local farmers and always request the weird stuff (heads, feet, hearts, etc) to give to the chickens.

    I have to say, though, that in our experience chickens seem to be such creatures of habit... once something like that starts it's hard to get it to stop. Can you get a rooster? Maybe he would keep them in line. We re-homed a couple of our worst pecking offenders and they went to live in flocks with roosters... and were totally reformed!

    We've been battling it for 2 years in our small flock and it only just now (knock on wood) seems to be getting better!
     
  8. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Would you mind sharing diet specifics with us? That was the first thing I thought of, too.
     
  9. Val3rie

    Val3rie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2009
    Long Island NY
    I did send the worst offenders off to a bigger farm that had roosters, unfortunately I can't have a rooster in my area. I ordered some peepers for the one who is still breaking off tail feathers til they bleed. I wonder about the peepers if they can eat OK with them on?
     
  10. cpticd

    cpticd New Egg

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    Aug 11, 2012
    An easy way to increase the protein is to add dry cat food to the pellet or layer food you feed already. Mix is 50/50. Regular chicken layer feed has a minimum of 16% protein where dry cat food had 35 to 49% protein depending on the brand. Check out the dry cat foods offered at your feed store. Generally, the feral or wild cat food has a much higher protein content. I had a huge problem with cannibalization with my 6 month old chickens. They started to lay eggs at 4 months! And then decided to kill one chicken every third night or so. The increased protein has helped. Since it was a night time event, I set up a game camera to capture the culprit or culprits as it turned out. I moved those 2 to my recovery coop area to see if the behavior would change. So far, so good. Once they start to cannibalize it is really hard to get them to stop. Try the increased protein feed. I hope it works.
     

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