Pecking Issue

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bobby2170, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. bobby2170

    bobby2170 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi everyone. I know I've been posting about this issue a lot, I'm just trying to get as many opinions as possible. I started off this summer with 10 hens. In early fall one hen, a barred rock, pecked a few of my hens until bloody. we had to kill her. Not too long after two more ( an austrolorp and isa brown) began pecking. We now are down to 4 hens and my white leghorn and is a brown continue to peck my EE. We've added more protein to their diet and spread no pick cream on her back. It seems to help a little, but every day I notice another feather plucked or another spot of blood on her.
    I would like to just give these hens to a friend and order new chicks this spring, but my parents insist it's too early for that (these 2 have been pecking for about a week). My EE has a large patch of missing feathers on her back and butt. There are also tail feathers missing. I'm afraid that if we fix this problem when we add new hens these two will start pecking them all over again.
    Has anyone else had this issue? Or any suggestions as of what to try. I'm not super attached to these four like my mom is so if I need to I can still try to just start over. Any help will be greatly appreciated! Thank you all!
     
  2. bobby2170

    bobby2170 Out Of The Brooder

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    does anyone have a suggestions? we're new to chickens and really don't know what to do
     
  3. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Diet and environment can cause feather picking. Also, game breeds are prone to cannibalistic tendencies if kept in confinement.

    First, make sure you have adequate space for the number of birds you have-remember even the bantams need lots of space because they are so active. Next, evaluate the diet. Provide a good quality feed with the proper combination of protein and minerals. Various greens are also important such as kale or spinach. Not only do you have to provide proper nutrition you must also provide environmental enrichment (some folks call them toys) to keep your chickens busy. Remember, chickens in the wild are constantly foraging, digging, scratching, pulling up grass, hunting bugs and so forth. They don't have time to pick on their fellow flock members.

    I've seen BYC members make all kinds of devices to keep their flock busy. Some will grow greens in pots and place them in the coops for the chickens to eat. Some members devise dispensers that allow the chickens to engage in natural foraging behavior. My personal favorite is a simple liter plastic bottle partially filled with scratch feed. I will put a few small holes in the side to allow a small amount of grain to fall out. Then I will toss into the pen and watch the game begin.

    Another thing to consider is the breed of chicken. Many folks like Buff Orpingtons as a starter flock.

    The best thing to do is start small, make sure you have enough space, and provide a good diet.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  6. bobby2170

    bobby2170 Out Of The Brooder

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    i said we just feed them layer feed with meat bird feed. we give them treats occasionally
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Don't remember reading that...remember you saying layer feed and got no answer when I asked if it was always available.
    Making sure your management and housing is up to snuff before getting more birds would be highly recommended,
    or you may well find yourself in the same situation.
    Pecking to the extent you've described is a serious behavioral problem,
    and often starts with nutrition and housing inadequacies,
    but can become unfixable if basic needs are not closely examined and corrected.
     

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