Pecking my poor sweet Wyandottes!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChortleChic, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. ChortleChic

    ChortleChic Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2011
    I'm at a loss of how to handle my chickens new aggressive behavior. In the spring I got my first flock of chickens at one time. 6 Buffs, 1 Barred Rock, 3 Araucanas and 3 Wyandottes, all girls. They were all the same day old chicks and got along just swimmingly until this week. I noticed the backs of all 3 Wyandottes feathers were strangely missing the normal puff of feathers. The next day I went out to feed the girls and I caught a sight of flesh on one of their backs. At closer inspection all of the Wyandottes have at least a 1 1/2" patch of missing feathers right at the tail. I immediately moved them into the garage in their old brooder box. During the day I've let them free range in the yard with the other girls. I really would like to try to keep them together. The guys at the Agway in town said to try mixing blue food coloring with petroleum jelly and putting that on the wound. Something about the color keeps the other birds away. I also read that talcum powder is a deterrent. I tried both and kept them together in their yard. This evening I couldn't tell if one looked worse or not so just to be safe I moved them back to the brooder box. I don't think it's overcrowding, they have tons of space. When I checked on the Wyandottes this morning one of the girls back's is still very reddish looking. I really don't have the facilities to keep a flock of birds plus three separated individually. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. [​IMG]
     
  2. Athenzchick

    Athenzchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 24, 2010
    Athens Ohio
    I had this happen to my two EE pullets when I moved everyone out to the coop earlier this summer. Poor girls were pecked bloody. I isolated them inside the coop in a dog crate, made sure the wounds were clean and when they started to feather out again, I let them back out with the rest of the flock. I tried using blue-kote and pine tar as a deterrent first but apparently the Delaware that was the bully LIKES the taste of both. [​IMG] Anyway, once they had feathers again everything was fine, no more pecking. My logic in keeping them in the coop was so that the others could still see them and then I wouldn't have to reintroduce. It seems to have worked quite well for me. Good luck!
     
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 11, 2011
    Tn
    If they were mine, which they are not-so take what you will from what I'm about to write, I would put them back put in the coop and watch for the offending feather plucker(s). Once you have figured out who is doing the dirty deed, remove that bird from the equation for a while. It should knock her down on the pecking order a few pegs. Are they getting enough protein? A deficiency can cause feather eating as well. Good luck!
     
  4. ChortleChic

    ChortleChic Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2011
    I read about food deficiencies. I feed them Blue Seal Home Fresh Layer Pellets and a few handfuls of scratch everyday. They also free range for bugs and worms plus I give them all my garden's extra greens of kale etc. They get all the eggs shells and kitchen compost that is good for them, ie carrot peelings, tomatoes, cucumbers. Do they need something else?
     
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 11, 2011
    Tn
    If they're getting all of that, I would rule out a deficiency. I think you just have an overly bossy biddy who needs to be shown her place. Again, good luck!
     
  6. ChortleChic

    ChortleChic Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2011
    I've been trying to catch the offender but no idea yet. When I'm around they just want to be with me aka, the food supply, so I don't see bad behavior. Thanks for the advice.
     
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I would still try to up their protein levels...find foods that have high levels, including game bird feed, spinach, fish, etc. Since it's just started recently, it makes me wonder if the lack of daylight/season changes have stressed them somehow, creating a feather picker. Are you finding the feathers (more than usual)?? If not, then I'd suspect they're eating them, which does indicate needing more protein. Has their egg production dropped?
    Tractor Supply and other feed stores sell BlueKote. Liberally dowse their bare areas with it. If nothing else you can look for blue beaks and possibly find the culprits.
     
  8. ChortleChic

    ChortleChic Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2011
    I can easily give them more protein. The egg production has been steady except for today when it dropped to 30F and we got 5 inches of snow last night. Even in Maine, that's a little early. Only 2 eggs when normally 10 for 13 hens. I've found a feather here and there but not the dozens I would expect from three birds missing feathers. Any opinion on the chicken saddles?
     
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I've ordered saddles from the auction site here that were very well made (with snaps) and very reasonably priced. I've read a few posts where folks have trouble keeping them on their birds (guess some birds are more resistant to modesty than others...lol), but most find them very useful. I bought a few for less than $15 (w/shipping), so to me it's definitely worth a go. You could always resell them if your birds won't wear them.
     
  10. ChortleChic

    ChortleChic Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2011
    Thanks. Just ordered three saddles. Hopefully the girls wear them. [​IMG]
     

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