Pecking :/

Chick15

Songster
8 Years
Apr 21, 2011
505
2
123
I have to say, I am really dissapointed in my hens. I was always so proud that they had never pecked me, that they didnt hurt eachother too much.
I guess I sorta jinxed myself. Before I used to say "My chickens are perfect! I haven lost one, none of them have been sick, they have never pecked me or eachother" Then I lost a Hen to a hawk, then one got an eye infection, and now they are pecking eachother. I gotta watch ou, because I am probably going to get pecked now...

ANYWAY.... It sorta started a few weeks ago, when one of my hens seemed to be missing the fluffy bits on a few of her feathers. We sorta blew it off, though keeping her under close surveillance. They do not peck eachother during the day (or at least not in front of me) but when they are on the roost, they often become agressive little devils. The hen then began to get better, and now she is missing tail feathers and this other one (Another Speckled Sussex) is missing lots of feathers on her neck, I can see her bare skin. So, I put both of them in our basement in an old dog crate, with a nesting box, food and water.

I will post pics in a bit, I took them but have to upload them

So, I guess what I am askig you BYC'ers is:
1. Am I doing the right thing by seperating them?
2. How long do I have to seperate them for? Should I give them away? (which I don't want to do, because then I would only have 1 speckled sussex)
3. Is there anything else I should do for them??

Thanks :)
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
24,676
36,409
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Have you heard of pinless peepers? They're like tiny eye glasses that fit in the beak, preventing forward vision. Most of the time, they will solve the picking problem.

I have a repeat offender. I'll keep the peepers on her for six months and then remove them. She'll behave for several months, then revert to her evil ways, then I put the peepers back on her.
 

cafarmgirl

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
5,521
613
327
California, central valley
If it seems to only happen when they go to roost are they too crowded? I would watch them carefully to see if you can figure out if you have an instigator and if so pull that bird, or birds, out for a while or try the peeper's like azygous suggested. I would definitely try to get a handle on it asap, once several birds, or the whole flock, gets it in their heads to peck a lot of times you can never turn them around.
 

Chick15

Songster
8 Years
Apr 21, 2011
505
2
123
We do have space on the roost... we have three rows of roost, each the same length and height, but they all want to be on the roost closest to the window.
 

justachick

In the Brooder
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
21
0
22
Try spraying tea tree oil on the ones getting pecked on. I have had great success with this stuff. The chickens hate the smell and taste and they will leave the injured party alone. (Ive used it on my son's finger to try and deter his nail nibbling) Ive even used it on the combs when they get injured. Just be careful not to get it in their eyes. It wont blind them but it stings and its oily.
Hope this helps. Im still new and learning, too.
justachick
 

confusedbanti

In the Brooder
9 Years
Nov 5, 2010
82
1
31
somerset,CA
I have the same problem ! I have 5 Hamburg hens they are about 10 weeks old and every one is picking on everyone tail. Until they BLEED
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I mean this must hurt, right? But instead of stopping they keep at it and pick and pick. I am so disappointed.
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My Neighbor's and all my Friends have 'normal' lovely chickens. Mine have plenty of space in the Hen house (5' x 6') and a run 30' x 6'. I read to put cabbage in the run to give them something to pick at. so I did , but they don't like that. My friend said to get a flock block for them to pick on , but hell no we don't like that! The only thing they do is eat starter food and a little scratch ones in a while and if I am lucky some cottage cheese. A other friend said to get some Pine Tar. So I did . About 4 days ago I started applying pine Tar on their behind and that WORKS !
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No more blood
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The only thing I don't know is how long to I have to apply that, in other words how long does a chicken take to break a nasty habit ? Does anyone know ?
 

La Casa de Pollo

Crowing
8 Years
Nov 4, 2011
5,707
316
311
Northern Utah
Oh I hear you guys on this one. My neighbors chickens=beautiful feathers. Mine= All picked. I got rid of the top dog--a mean EE that was drawing blood, and had injured a bantam so bad it had a big gash in her neck we had to glue shut. Then after she healed in the garage, put her back out, then her back was tore open the next day. Got rid of the mean EE then. We had peace, for a few days, then a few others missing feathers. I cannot identify one meanie---I have 4 that I have seen do it. My buff looks like a turkey, her neck is naked down to the base, my SLW pulls her feathers out and drags her around by the feathers even. I read somewhere on BYC that hatchery chicks can come from eggs from nutrient deprived hens...then they crave feathers and meat (protein) because they were deprived. My chickens that pick did all come from one place, and the other non pickers came from elsewhere, so that could be it. In the meantime, if I let them run around the yard they seem better after. If I have one meanie and put them elsewhere a few days, that works but only temporarily. If I throw scratch around when they are picking, that helps. But long term the problem keeps occurring. I wish I knew a way to stop it. I got a few new beautiful girls, finally some with pretty feathers, but now they are picked at. Somedays I want to have a big chicken dinner and start over with my flock :/ If I do I am not getting hatchery chicks anymore.

Petsmart said to try bitters (spray) and it did not work. Will try the pine tar and tea tree oil, thanks for the ideas :) :)
 
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confusedbanti

In the Brooder
9 Years
Nov 5, 2010
82
1
31
somerset,CA
I hear you about having a chicken dinner and starting new. Sometimes I sit outside the run on my bench and look at them and they run all to the opposite corner because they seem to be sooooo terrible scared of me :( it makes me so very sad. I've lost my entire Flock 2 months ago and had to start from scratch. New hens and all. The flock we've lost where the sweetest most adorable Bantams you could ever own. It still put's tears in my eyes just to think about them....I miss them so much.
hit.gif

Now every morning I sneak in the hen house at 6.30 am grab one after the other and slap some of the tar on their behinds. I just wonder how long I have to do this....but it works ! So I guess until all their feathers are back ? How long does that take ...?
let me know how the tree tea oil works ! Never heard of that one
 

confusedbanti

In the Brooder
9 Years
Nov 5, 2010
82
1
31
somerset,CA
24 hrs later and no one cares.....regarding my last post above....well thank you dear no one for sharing my pain and frustration. Means a lot to me , myself and I
 

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