Pecking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Gardenlady81, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. Gardenlady81

    Gardenlady81 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2014
    This is my first winter with my hens. I had six and down to four because of wildlife. I never really knew who the dominant hen was because they all got along wonderfully...until now. Sweetie (whose not so sweet now) was pecking at everyone's butt until they became bear. Didn't notice right away until Sunny (the lowest on the totem pole) was getting pecked at her tail area. Over this weekend, we saw blood and took her out and made a makeshift area where she could heal. Around dusk yesterday she figured her way out and got to the coop where the others still are. They all pecked the heck out of her head and eyes area and she just sat there and let them do it. Thank goodness I noticed in enough time to get her out of the coop before they killed her. At least that's what it looked like.
    It's the dead of winter, with snow up to my elbows. We shovel them a path to two "out" areas so they have somewhere to go. I give them scraps about noonish everyday and check for water several times. My question, is this normal? I mean, I'm going stircrazy, I can imagine that they are too. They normally have free reign in the nice weather. I don't know what to do and I feel bad for Sunny. She wants to be back with her clan, but they don't seem to want her. Any advise? Cindy
     
  2. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

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    Sadly these things happen. Especially in bum weather. How much room do they have to move around now? You could try hanging a head of cabbage overhead to give them something to jump and peck at. I would keep poor Sunny separate until her bare spots are covered and there's no blood. If she's healed now you'll want to slowly reintroduce her. Also, try sticking her in the coop at night. Sometimes it makes the process easier. It's like they wake up and think "oh you must all have been here the whole time."

    If you're top girl keeps it up I would separate her for a few days. That should knock her down a peg :) If she still keeps pecking there are things you can put on their beaks that block their view.
     
  3. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

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    Also what is their normal diet?
     
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    It could be the confinement or the variety of chickens. Try to give us a few more details and there are many here that may have encountered similar situations. My guess is confinement in a less than large coop. But I am only guessing , and not an expert. My hens do get a little cranky and chase each other more during winter confinement, but no viscousness. HOPE THINGS WORK OUT FOR YOU. [​IMG]
     
  5. Acornewell

    Acornewell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put vicks vapor rub to stop my birds from pecking the younger hens sometimes!
     
  6. Gardenlady81

    Gardenlady81 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2014
    Since there are only four hens left, they have plenty of room with two high perch areas and one low and three laying cubbies. We've been introducing her and everytime the rest go straight for her head a peck away. She's healing, but she's so defenseless. I'm still learning. I just don't want to give up on her. I hate seeing her just sit there and not defend herself or at least get out of the way. Thanks for your help.
     
  7. Gardenlady81

    Gardenlady81 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2014
    I give them the laying pellets and kitchen scraps. Sometimes egg shells.
     
  8. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Very interesting. Where and how much and often????[​IMG]
     
  9. Gardenlady81

    Gardenlady81 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2014
    I have vicks. Where do you apply it?
     
  10. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you offer oyster shell free choice? Try sticking her in when it's dark. Just make sure the check when the sun comes up. I have had great success with night time sneak ins :) Also during the day you can distract them with tidbits too like sunflower seeds or whatever you have on hand. They're omnivores liek us so there's tons of items to choose from.

    Vicks sounds like a good idea. I think I've read some people even use like a tree oil or something I can't quite remember. I think it's the strong scents. I'll try to find it, but it was from a while back so bear with me.

    They should settle once the world opens back up so if everyone can hold out a few more weeks you should be set.
     

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