Pinless Peepers caused Chicken to get swarmed by the rest of the flock!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MicheleD, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. MicheleD

    MicheleD New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Feb 10, 2015
    New City, NY
    Hello, my name is Michele and this is my first post. I am raising a flock of 12 hens. We got them last April and this is my first winter with them. All was going so well until our first snowstorm. A day or two after the snow we noticed our hens with a big open wound and I immediately separated her so she could heel. I ordered her a saddle and she has that on now and back with the flock. It is working well to protect her. I have 3 main girls that are doing the feather picking and even eating the feathers. I have been giving them BOSS every day, but they continue to pick and eat feathers. Today I tried putting on pinless peepers. I put the first pair on and when I brought her back they swarmed around her like a shark frenzy and began pecking her face really bad and I got scared, picked her up and took them off. I was so hopeful that this was going to be a much needed solution. Why haven't I read about anyone else experiencing this horrible reaction from the rest of the flock to the ones wearing the peepers?
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,123
    5,073
    601
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I have had this happen in my flock too. So the only way to stop this is to make all the ones that bother the one with the peepers on is to put them all the offenders.

    So what you should do is put on the peepers on the bird that you originally wanted them on. The the first bird that bothers her, gets to wear them also. The next bird that bothers here still, gets to wear them and so on. I have had to add several birds to the peeper wearing to stop this behavior.

    Anything new on the face of the birds will cause this reaction. Not all birds will bother the one wearing them and the others that wear them will usually stop after they have warn them for awhile. You might need to keep them on these others for a few days. After this time they have generally adapted to seeing the one you want with them on and also wearing them themselves makes it less interesting to bother the ones that need to wear them.

    Good luck! I have had great luck with the use of pinless peepers. They stop feather plucking and aggression, stop birds from bothering others in hard molts and other unwanted issues.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. MicheleD

    MicheleD New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Feb 10, 2015
    New City, NY
    Thank you so much for the quick response. I was so scared to proceed with putting them on the others because they really all swarmed her. I was afraid to even leave her alone to get the next hen. I just panicked and gave up. I didn't want to cause any harm to her either.
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,123
    5,073
    601
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    I would rather not use them if I can help it. If it is something that I can get away with caging birds, I do this first. Peepers are the last resort but sometimes you have to do it. I have tried all kinds of no pic ointments, even pine tar on my birds and the love the taste. LOL I have a hen right now that is pulling out her own butt fuzz feathers and she just will not stop. I have upped the protein in their diet with additional cooked meats, extra hard boiled eggs, BOSS, mealworms, even added some good vitamins to the water. And still she pulls these out. I even switched to a new brand of feed and still she pulls her fuzz out.

    Feather eating can become a habit or comes from a nervous bird. I am trying Rescue Remedy (the non alcohol stuff) on her...the bach flower drops you give to dogs or cats that are afraid of the vet or are nervous in general. I am not sure but it might be working. Her bare skinned butt is a bit less red today and yesterday than it has been in a while now.

    But as for your birds, either continue with the peepers or maybe try hen saddles on them, if they would cover the area that they are pulling the feathers out. You can get hen saddles here....http://www.hensaver.com

    Or cage the offenders for a while, as long as they aren't pulling their own feathers out.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,828
    3,835
    441
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    How big is your coop? Do your chickens have access to either a run or free range during the day? Feather picking can be a sign of overcrowding.
     
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    83,462
    11,794
    816
    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Try upping the protein you feed your birds, they may resort to feather eating when they need more.
     
  7. mymilliefleur

    mymilliefleur Keeper of the Flock

    5,787
    742
    306
    Nov 4, 2014
    East Tennessee.
    X2 on what Twocrows said, I think it's probably protein. In the past when I have had some feather pecking issues, it's almost always because I need to increase their protein. Especially this time of year when they need some extra to keep them warm.
     
  8. MicheleD

    MicheleD New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Feb 10, 2015
    New City, NY
    Ok, my coop is 6x10 - 60 sq. ft. and I have enclosed run. We live very close to a reservoir and we have so many birds of prey constantly flying over. We lost one to a hawk early on, so we decided to enclose the run with netting. If it is a protein issue, why are only three of them doing the picking and eating of the feathers? I have been giving them about a cup a day of BOSS. Is that enough for 12 hens? What are other things that I can give them to boost their protein?

    I did wind up going back a little before they went to bed for the night and did get the peepers on the three girls that are doing the pecking. It went a little better and everyone calmed down pretty quickly. They all then jumped up on their roost and went to bed as usual. Hopefully tomorrow will be a good day.
     
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,123
    5,073
    601
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    How are the peeps with the peepers on doing this morning? :) Sounds like you have enough room in your coop as long as they space out and use the run too.

    Try upping the protein, keep the peepers on for at least a month to help break the habit of feather eating and see how it goes. Habits are hard to break. My flock has developed a few bad habits that I wish I could break. LOL

    Good luck and I hope you can get all this sorted out soon! :)
     
  10. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

    594
    173
    136
    Jun 13, 2014
    Georgia
    How much room in the run?

    Also, it may only be 3 getting pecked because they are the lowest in the pecking order. They could be getting less food because of bullying or they could just be getting the brunt of the rest of the chicken's frustrations if they are overcrowded.

    BOSS has a little extra protein but it's really a treat more than a protein supplement. The hulls are insoluble fiber so BOSS can be too much filling without enough nutrient. Cooked fish, meat or eggs are good protein supplements. Some other protein boosters I've heard about would be alfalfa pellets for horses, catfood, and game bird feed but I've never used any of them.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by