Peepers just seem cruel...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by project7030, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. project7030

    project7030 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I ordered peepers for my flock and tried putting them on. I couldnt do it. It seemed to hurt the one hen I tried. Doesnt it seem cruel to shove a post thru their nostrils? Perhaps im doing it wrong. Any thoughts?
     
  2. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    I don't like em... But, if you can not separate out the pickers, then I guess...
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Peepers are the lesser evil. When you're faced with half the flock sporting large, naked spots, sometimes even picked raw to the point of open sores, you'll resign yourself to installing the peepers.

    I currently have two hens wearing peepers. One was extremely sensitive to them, and I could tell they hurt her whenever I accidentally touched them. In time, her nostrils became toughened up, and they no longer bother her. The other hen, after an hour of becoming adjusted to seeing the foreign object on her beak, has never indicated they caused her any discomfort. (I held her in my lap until she was no longer "seeing" the peepers and stopped trying to scratch them off.

    It's much easier to install peepers with two people, one to hold the head steady while the other puts them on. It's much easier using a snap-ring pliers with a 90 degree head. Also if you soften the peepers in hot water first, they'll go on easier, careful they're not so hot they burn the chicken. If you can have the person holding the chicken cover the bird's eyes, that will keep the bird still.
     
  4. project7030

    project7030 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I do hate seeing naked backs. I wondered if I had ordered the wrong size. The blinder seems correct, but the pin seems too big. Ill try warming them. So does their nostril naturally go all the way thru or is there cartilage the pin goes thru? Im not even sure which hens are the offenders.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Try spending some time in the run with the troops. Afternoon seems to be when my pickers have done most of their "evil", being more wound up as the day progresses. I do believe, from experience, that some feather pickers are that way just like some humans have OCD. It's in the wiring in the brain, not a nutrition problem or boredom. My two pickers seem to just go crazy when they see feathers pass by their beaks.

    It's not necessary to put peepers on everyone, nor is it fair. Keep a close eye on those with perfect plumage, as it's usually they who are doing the damage to the bald ones.

    The peeper prongs don't pierce any tissue. The nostrils merely hold the prongs on the peepers in place. There shouldn't be any pressure on delicate tissue, operating much like the nose pieces on our human spectacles. You spread the prongs to enable the peepers to slip into place. If a hen is more sensitive than most, the prongs may present slight discomfort if they're jostled at first. Also, some times the peepers have to sit on the front part of a high "single" comb. Don't worry about the comb folding under the top part of the peeper.

    By the way, some times the peepers cause the other chickens to be aggressive towards the new peeper-wearers. I solved that problem by scattering a dozen peepers around the floor of the pen to "desensitize" them all. After an hour, everyone was ignoring all the peepers, including the ones on the wearers, and I picked them up and put them away.

    By the way, I recommend you leave the peepers on for six months. Remove them and observe the little pickers for a few weeks. They might be cured. If not, you have a life-picker, and you'll need to put them back on. I recently put them on a young pullet, and I am harboring hope, having got her "peepered" young and before she made a real picking habit, she can be reformed. The other picker reverted after wearing the peepers for many months and I had to put them back on her two weeks later.

    Best of luck to you. I hope this works in your case, as some chickens don't seem a bit phased by them, continuing to pick in spite of them.
     
  6. project7030

    project7030 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. Ill make a point to observe them for awhile. Are you talking about the pinless peepers? The ones I bought have a pin that goes thru them.
     

  7. X2. It's not like they are going through from one side to the other side; they kind of fasten on the outer edge of the nostril. Definitely get 2 people doing it- the snap ring pliers we used just sent them flying in pieces. We heated them up on the stove with a candy thermometer so they were pliable, but not too hot.

    Wrap them up in a towl and have one person hold the head still. Once you figure it out (which can be frustrating if you aren't holding them still), it is not a big deal to get them on.

    Initially, we thought we'd just pull the main pluckers out and give them peepers- no luck. Once we put the first one back in with everyone else, they ALL went after the peepers because they were something new. So, everyone got them (13).

    Within a few days, two of our BOs had gotten theirs off in addition to two of our main pluckers, who got them put back on. I have 3 total now (including those 2 BOs) that don't have peepers back on because they aren't being problematic.

    My other BO, though, is in the penalty box and separated out, because even WITH her peepers on, she is still consistently plucking (even when they are out roaming) and doing it straight on. She is smart enough to have figured out that she can still pluck with them on. Initially, she was trying to stretch and look out the side and her efforts were a bit lopsided. My only answer was to separate her out and hope that she stops after a while.

    Imo, it is DEFINITELY better than letting them get bloody, because then even ones who weren't picking will go after the blood. Get the pinless ones, yes.

    http://tikktok.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/i-threatened-to-do-it/
     
  8. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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  9. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Tikkijane, That blog post was soooo funny. Google eyes on the peepers?! wild idea.
     
  10. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Azygous--
    Thanks for the good information. I have one laying since Oct 20th hen that will intermittently pluck at her buddy's feathers.

    Kinda like TikkiJane--- now she has stopped but if she starts again-- I am going to use "bumpa bits' on her (from the UK.) They prevent the hen from completely closing her beak to peck, but she can still eat and drink normally. People say it has brought peace to their flocks. She has enough space, protein, and activity-- and she cannot be out of the run all day---- (predators).

    I like the idea of your approach that a pullet can be broken of the habit before it gets totally ingrained.

    Thanks for the good information everyone.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012

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