Pecking problem and egg laying nearly stopped!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by brittanyshirley, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. brittanyshirley

    brittanyshirley New Egg

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    Oct 9, 2011
    I've been a chicken owner for 5 1/2 months now. I have 6 chickens. 2 Ameraucanas, 2 brown sexlinks or Reds, 1 Sultan & 1 plymouth rock. 4 weeks ago I started getting 2-3 eggs per day. Everything has been fine. Then a week or so ago I noticed my white sultan hen's foot was bleeding so I tended to it and thought it was fine for a few days. 3 days ago I noticed both of my Sultan's feet were bleeding so I removed her from the rest of the girls for 2 days. She was totally healed today so I took her out this evening to re-introduce her to the girls again and immediately one of the red hens started picking on her feet until she ran away. I looked at my plymoth rock and her neck was pecked raw, feathers all missing in a strip accross the back of her head about 2 inches long and bloody. I don't know what to do! I'm ready to give up. I can't handle the stress of worrying. I don't know if I need to get rid of a chicken or two and which ones to eliminate if so. And why has everything been fine for 5 months and suddenly they are trying to kill each other? Oh and I'm only getting 1 egg every other day now instead of 3 a day! The weather dropped about 25-30 degrees overnight and I started giving them crumbles and pellets 3 days ago where as I was giving them only laying mash prior. Maybe they hate their new food? How do I treat the neck wound? How do I stop the picking? If anyone has any insight for me please tell me what to do. I'm afraid I'm going to have a dead chicken or 2 in the morning. Thanks for reading!

    Brittany
     
  2. PixieChixie

    PixieChixie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 6, 2011
    Is your coop lit? The days are getting shorter...
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Picking is often related to overcrowding and/or boredom. How much space to your birds have? Do they have anything to entertain them and have you tried giving extra protein? Those are the first things that come to mind.
     
  4. pixiedouglas

    pixiedouglas Chillin' With My Peeps

    what are you feeding? do they get plenty of protein?

    I don't know how old they are, but they do molt in Fall and that requires a lot of protein. They will stop laying or lay less when they are trying to replace feathers. They also will eat feathers if they aren't getting enough protein.

    How big is your run? Could they be bored? Maybe get them a flock block to peck. If you have enough room for them to run around the ones who get picked on should have plenty of room to run off and be fine. I've found that given enough space and stuff to do hens more prone to pecking will lose interest fairly quick and not really chase. Also you might consider having more than one feeder so that whoever is bottom of the pecking order can eat from a different feeder than the top hens.
     
  5. KarenP

    KarenP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Should the coop be lit??? I don't understand??
     
  6. brittanyshirley

    brittanyshirley New Egg

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    Oct 9, 2011
    Thank you for all your help! I am going to light my coop starting tonight. I guess I will give them hard boiled eggs for awhile....Is there another protein option to give them? I give my chickens a laying mash food that is 16% protein. Then a pellet that is 16% protein. I just added apple cider vinegar and some vitamins to their water. Some of you asked about their space size. So 6 chickens and my coop is 4x6 ft with 3 laying boxes extended from each end of the coop. With the roosting boxes overhead. Their run is only an 8x8ft fenced area. Is that not enough area outside?
     

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