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pecking problem becoming extreme!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by brittanyshirley, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. brittanyshirley

    brittanyshirley Hatching

    Oct 9, 2011
    Ive 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!


  2. KarenP

    KarenP Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Oh no...I thought as long as they were raised together they would all get along?? That's terrible! I don't know what to tell you. The only think i can think of, is the one with the neck injury needs to be removed until she is healed, because i've heard once they are injured they will peck her to death. Good luck! I'm worried now, i hope this behavior doesn't start with my girls!![​IMG]
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    How much space do your birds have? If you notice one seems to be an instigator then that bird needs to be removed. I'd put them in as large an area as possible in the meantime so everybody has plenty of room to get away. Give them lot's to do if they are in a run, obstacles, places to hide. Toss in a flake or two of alfalfa, some scratch, whatever you have to keep them busy. Hopefully you'll see improvement if you remove the one who is starting it and hopefully the other's haven't picked up this nasty habit.

    The one with the neck wound will need to be removed until it's healed up some. Clean it and put on some Blue Kote.

    Once picking starts up in a flock it can be very hard to stop it. If the one who is the instigator isn't removed they'll pretty much all join in eventually.
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Quote:Keep feeding them layer crumbles/pellets. Decreased daylight hours, picking, change in feed, and lower temps...egg production will drop....give them time to adapt. Get rid of your red sex link. Apply neosporin to the wound on your Plymouth Rock til healed.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  5. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    I would also use blue Kote on the lame areas...When my girls are molting heavy..I notice feather plucking and blood coming from the shafts. A good spritz or two of BK and it hides whats going on blood and all...no more feather picking...so far [​IMG]
  6. Animalian

    Animalian Songster

    Jun 18, 2011
    Pinless peepers for everybody?

    Hang up a corn on the cob or some other treat, the movement should stimulate them to pick that rather than each other.

    I've heard hanging up cds can distract them too with their twinkling in the sun.

    are they all hens? the roos will clash.

    I would get rid of the most aggressive. Remove the most picked on and keep them together till they're 'buddied up' then try to reintroduce them together, hopefully they can share the introductory pecking and defend themselves a bit better as a 'team'.
  7. dmccann

    dmccann Songster

    Jul 19, 2009
    darlington pa
    My Coop
    Pinless peepers has helprd me out,i have noticed some can still peck and pull feathers with them on but no where as bad as it was.

  8. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    As having been through the wringer with feather pickers I am going to have to agree with dawg53. Get rid of the problem bird. Everything else is only putting off the problem inevitably.

    Last spring I got a new batch of pullets. I immediately noticed that this group was very aggressive with each other. The feather picking started last fall. By spring my flock looked like someone had taken a lawn mower to half the birds. In the meantime I had tried pine tar, Vicks VapoRub, diet modifications, pinless peepers, Hot Pick, saddles... you name it. I refuse to de-beak any of my birds, so I was left with culling. It took removing 11 birds from the flock to finally resolve the issue. The last round of culls happened early last week, and by this week my bald chickens now look like they got into a tussle with some angry porcupines. I am THRILLED! I had forgotten what my chickens look like with all their feathers. The birds look ridiculous at the moment, but I am so heartened by the fact that someday soon they will be beautiful again.

    Save yourself a lot of headaches and just remove the problem bird before her bad behavior spreads to others in the flock. It is a nasty behavior that is readily learned by others, and once it starts it kind of takes the joy out of having chickens.

    Good luck.
  9. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
  10. brittanyshirley

    brittanyshirley Hatching

    Oct 9, 2011
    Thanks so much to everyone for the replies! I know it's one of my red hens that is the instigator. So now to figure out what to do with her! I'll try some of the things that some of you have said to keep them busy. I'm sure they need more space outside as well. I'll be back to report soon. Thank you all!!!!

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