1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Picking, Picking, PICKING!!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Lord-D, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. Lord-D

    Lord-D Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Feb 23, 2016
    My chickens have been picking on each other for a good month now. At first I thought it was because I had two roosters and only 13-14 hens. After a hawk killed a rooster, now I have a rooster and twelve hens. The ratio is right, but the problem continues. I've applied Blue-Kote to the wounds, and pine tar over that every few days. Still got the problem, and it's getting worse. I've had to keep them in the coop and a 200 square foot inner run until I can cover the rest of the run because of my hawk problem. The egg shells are still very hard and high quality. I'm free-feeding Feather Fixer and ground-up eggshells to help with this. Out of 12 hens, 10 have been picked, and 3 have backs that are mostly bare. The pine tar doesn't seem to discourage them at all. l read a response on this forum from someone who actually duct-taped the bird's backs. I'm getting ready to go out to the coop some night with a flashlight and a roll of Gorilla tape!

    Anybody know any other solutions? Are they just bored at this point, or is there another problem? What health risks come with this intense picking?
     
  2. Chicken Egg 17

    Chicken Egg 17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,438
    200
    198
    Dec 11, 2015
    McVeytown PA
    I think they are bored I would try putting some roost logs and a dust bathing area put the logs upright they like to hop on top of them and I like to have a compost box in my run and they spend the entire day in in digging trew the scraps o and they have a swing that they like
     
  3. Ket004

    Ket004 Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    Apr 28, 2014
    Ugh, I went through this last year and it was horrible. Every time they started to grow back someone would pick them out.

    I BlueKoted and rooster boostered every day.. and I finally bought them all saddles to cover the bald patches. When the weather started getting warmer they eventually stopped, but the feathers didn't grow back until they went through a molt in fall. I was embarrassed when people saw them!

    One thing I would definitely do though is dust them for mites. I now believe that that was an underlying cause.
     
  4. Lord-D

    Lord-D Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Feb 23, 2016
    Ket004, you have some interesting points. Any particular mite dust you would recommend? Would mites cause small pin-size bloody spots, or is that more likely to be from pecking/spurs? I looked up chicken saddles - I actually had a similar idea on my own. Since the whole reason I'm doing this is to be cheap, I think I'll make mine rather than pay $9 each. Do you think jeans fabric would be sturdy enough? If not, what about leather? Does anybody know if there are patterns online for chicken saddles/aprons?
     
  5. Chicken Egg 17

    Chicken Egg 17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,438
    200
    198
    Dec 11, 2015
    McVeytown PA
    I would go with the jeans fabric not the leather the leather would just get all worn and thin over time til there feathers grow back
     
  6. Lord-D

    Lord-D Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Feb 23, 2016
    Actually, I ended up ordering some. Chickenarmor.com had 10-packs for $15, and they even have eyes on the back that are supposed to disturb hawks. I figured I couldn't beat that price, so I dropped $30 and got enough for my hens plus a few spares. If figured my labor time is worth something too. If they fall apart or aren't as durable as I'd like, at least I've got a pattern I can use, and a temporary solution til I get around to making my own.
     
  7. yochickiemomma

    yochickiemomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    459
    49
    80
    May 8, 2015
    Michigan
    [​IMG]
    This is Fruit loops w her saddle on. She lost all of her lower back feathers from a molt. I suggest putting them on after dark they adapt to them better.
     
  8. yochickiemomma

    yochickiemomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    459
    49
    80
    May 8, 2015
    Michigan
    I also have another hen rocking a saddle and I think she lost her feathers due to someone else picking them. I haven't had any issues since I put the saddle on her and her feathers are growing back.
     
  9. Lord-D

    Lord-D Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Feb 23, 2016
    Good point about working with them after dark. I do that a lot. I work night shift, so if I get home at 4am it's the perfect time because everybody is sleepy. I get very little cooperation from the birds during the day and it takes two people to catch them. At night, I can walk in the coop and just pick them up with only a little bit of fussing and flapping.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by