Pecking Problem - Need Help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by frjeff, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. frjeff

    frjeff Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 1, 2011
    Northern Michigan
    I have 6 hens (three Black Stars and three RI Reds). For about 8 weeks I have been dealing with a pecking problem on one of the Reds: feathers missing at the base of her tail on the back. Now it has begun on another. No roo here.

    I have been treating this area of her back with Neosporin and then painting on "Peck-No-More". I have also thoroughly cleansed the coop, nesting boxes twice now and disinfected both times, even though I see no evidence of mites or other infestations.

    My reading and advice so far is that this can be from a protein deficiency and/or stress. They are being fed a locally produced layer feed from my Amish feed store. It is 16% protein, non GMO mash. I have free fed and just recently began a morning and evening damp daily feed (to reduce waste). They get good quantities of table/garden scraps as well as beef and pork bones and scraps (animal protein). The pecking problem continues no matter which feeding method used.

    The birds (6) have a 32 square foot coop with two nesting boxes and 48" of roost area. Their covered run is 60 square foot. I cannot see any signs of stress (not sure what I am looking for) and believe the space is adequate to prevent crowding/stress.

    This is not getting better and nothing seems to stop it. I do not like the idea of trimming their beaks, but I am highly concerned. Any help is appreciated greatly.

    Jeff
     
  2. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2014
    I need to know their age.I'd like a picture.Perhaps those two are sick.But i'll need more info.I'd need full outdoor coop image.Perhaps there is not enough space, or food.They will peck at the sore.Chickens will peck/eat the blood and not stop.Be sure it is dark in the coop.They may peck her to death.Pack imitation is same as flock imitation.If this 1 is sick they will assist each other and begin killing it.Joe, my roster.He is about 4 years and a few months,but yet he has a fighting sore on his tail,where I think he was spurred,and now the hens constantly peck at it.
     
  3. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 26, 2011
    Central Florida
    1. Do a search for "chicken saddle". Buy or make one: It will protect the wounded area as it heals.
    2. Sit and watch the hens or set up a video camera where it will cover the most area. Is this a group activity, or just one or two?
    3. If you have one hen that is the aggressor, isolate her for a week. When she returns to the flock, she will have lost her status and may settle down.
    4. Rehome the hens that peck or cull them. This is not behavior that you want to have deal with for the rest of their lives.
    5. Investigate chicken toys...the problem may be boredom...
     
  4. frjeff

    frjeff Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 1, 2011
    Northern Michigan
    PRFan -

    Thanks for the rapid response.
    The three RI Reds are approx. 36-37 weeks old. The Black Stars are between 28-30 weeks old.

    Here are some pics that I hope will help. The coop is 4'x8' and 7.5' high. The run is 72 sq. feet (6'x12'). The two nesting boxes are on one end of the 8' coop and the roost/poop pans are on the other. The roost is actually only 40" long (might it be too short? They all fit snugly every evening). I keep the poo scooped daily from the Sweet PDZ.

    The run is roofed, gravel/sand base and I have some winter wind protection stapled up.

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  5. frjeff

    frjeff Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 1, 2011
    Northern Michigan
    And a pic of the worse pecked hen:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2014
    Your best suggestion is to keep her in.I doubt their establishing pecking order.They look healthy in my response,but there must be something else wrong.tHe coop looks very large,and the coop inside looks great.possible chance they may not like her, but i'd keep both away from the flock,at least threw another cage.To you, it looks as if they are fitting fine.Chickens think differently.Perhaps widen it?Do you free range?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014
  7. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You do not have roosters,right?If you do not.Try getting a rough roosters.He'll settle things.He would probably straighten any bad attitude as soon as he stepped foot in that coop.
     
  8. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Looks like you have a habitual pecker on your hands. One or more of your hens is plucking feathers off of her pen mates. Hen peepers ( pinless peepers ) will help stop this. You will need to add more protein to her diet to help her body grow the feathers back. Try observing your hens to see if you can figure out which hen(s) are doing the pecking. I am pretty sure this is not a pecking order problem.
     
  9. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I never have had even this problem.My first flock was different.They were just a small flock,but this 1 is a flock of i think maybe 22 chickens.They just slighty peck,but sometimes kicks,grab combs,never really made another look like that.Mines have sores on their face,but not bad,they never really go for anywhere else if fighting.The funny thing is,i've had sick chickens, yet they were never beat on.I'm sure this is nothing to flip out about though.Looks like she could have been mounded a bit.Or even a stray dog or something similar came in and tried killing them.Are they even acting bizzar or lure by any chance?She was plucked though.I cannot see any blood,so I wouldn't worry about it being pecked at.If it is omethinf tod o with flock Imitation yes, it is a keep away or threw cage.
     
  10. frjeff

    frjeff Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 1, 2011
    Northern Michigan
    I do not free range. Have too many predators here in the North country (weasels, fox, coyotes, skunk, hawks, eagles, dogs, etc.)

    How high a protein level ought I go?
    Safe to do so with the whole flock?
    What do I add to the feed to raise the level of protein?

    Ordering chicken saddle or two right now.

    Jeff
     

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