Pinless Peepers -- is it normal for them to make noses bleed?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ElizabethinNY, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. ElizabethinNY

    ElizabethinNY Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2009
    Central NY
    Hi all.

    I've been dealing with a major feather-picking issue in my flock since last November. I have tried just about EVERYTHING (increased protein, increased space, toys, food, etc etc etc) to get them to stop. I've installed a fence around 1/3 of an acre of yard so they have a very large amount of space to roam in, but the picking/pecking has become a habit with the girls and they do it when it's resting time. They'll go under their favorite bush, sit down to rest and Matilda goes around and picks the subordinate chickens bare. My Prudence chicken has a naked neck and behind at the moment and I've about had it with this nonsense. Matilda is the worst, but they all pick occasionally. Last January, I tried the pinless peepers, but they made the girls' noses bleed and I took them back off. I still have them and want to apply them to the two worst culprits. So I have a few questions for those of you who have used them successfully. Is it normal for their noses to bleed a little after they're applied? Is it normal for them to actually attack each other after they're applied? This is what happened last time and I was so upset I took them off.

    In the photo below, you can see Prudy's neck. It's actually worse since that photo was taken--Matilda has picked her feathers off all the way around and she looks ridiculous.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Wiglwerm

    Wiglwerm Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 9, 2009
    Have you considered de-beaking them? I believe that is a big help with pecking issues and at their age if done they will eventually grow back...but hopefully have quit the bad habit. I would think a dremmel would work. But do some research first. Hope that helps. My ee chicks did that to each other while they were resting and plucked out the beard of their nest mate [​IMG]...but they grew out of it. [​IMG]
     
  3. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    I've been going through this same problem.
    I bought a bottle of "No Pick" stuff from eggcartons.com for $15.95. I used most of it two nigths in a row.
    Now I've tried "Blue Kote" and am not sure that's helping.

    I saw the "Pinless Peeper" but the do hicky to attach them wasn't cheap nor the fact that I'd need more than the 4 or 5 in the package. I've got to many birds getting picked bald.

    It happens either during the night or early morning before I let them out. Now my BO is getting it and the CM's. I'm ready to get rid of them all it has me so concerned.

    I'm going to move the roost and make it longer and two or three of them at even heights so there is plenty of roosting space.

    They have huge pasture area to run during the day so it has to be happening in the coop and it looks like the ones on the highest roost bar are getting it worse. The picking is happening near the tail area.

    Anyhow I'm interested in knowing about your answers, from those who have used them, and whether I can get enough to do all the birds (25) and just leave them on forever.

    Rancher
     
  4. Choco Maran

    Choco Maran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 25, 2009
    Ribera New Mexico
    Have youtried dusting for lice or mites. What about worms. I would try dusting for lice and or mites first and see if that helps.
     
  5. ElizabethinNY

    ElizabethinNY Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2009
    Central NY
    They definitely don't have mites or lice. I'm a small animal vet and I know what to look for in that respect, even though I have very little medical knowledge about chickens. I have run several negative fecals on them and also dewormed them in the fall as a precaution. I'll run another fecal just in case, though.
     
  6. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    I've checked for mites and dusted anyhow with DE and put it in their food for worms. Increased protein with fish meal and a change in feed. One thing I noticed was that when I gave them feed in the run today, as I've been doing to be sure they all get to eat, the aussies weren't eating it. They are the worst. Two of them were near the end of the run by themselves. I left the birds all in the run so they could eat before I let them out in the pasture. What's up with that?

    Can't figure it out

    Rancher
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  7. ElizabethinNY

    ElizabethinNY Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2009
    Central NY
    Good morning,

    I just wanted to provide an update and answer my own question, hopefully also helping other people with this information. I've been applying the peepers, by hand, with the help of my younger sister. We've been doing one or two chickens every several days, starting with the worst pickers. They do make the noses of some of them bleed a little, but only during the initial "freak-out" stage when they're first applied. It's important to get them applied properly--inside the nostril hole and not pinching the nostril down. I also used 300 grit sandpaper and sanded the sharper edges of the spectacles so that they minimize injury. I have 11 chickens and so far everyone has peepers that is a major picking culprit, and the feathers are coming back in on my ladies! They still occasionally can get a feather or two, but nothing like the major problems we had before. I still have not applied them to Rosie, because she is EXTREMELY difficult to get to hold still; and Prudence and Ivy and Amelia don't have them, either, but they are some of the most subordinate chickens and don't really pick anyone. They are the worst picked, too. It's nice to see feathers coming back in on the necks of those three, although I'm feeling that we'll have to wait for a full molt before Prudence's rear-end is properly feathered again.

    When the peepers are first applied, there are two possible reactions I've seen with my chickens. One reaction is to freeze. They'll hold perfectly still and wait until they get used to them and then move around pretty normally after a few hours. The other reaction is to panic, run around like a goof, and try to scrape the peepers off on any available surface. Poppy was able to get peepers off TWICE by doing this, but finally I got her to leave them on by choosing a pair that was not stretched out at all. She was the worst at getting used to them and it took her over 48 hours to act normally. Matilda, the worst picker, was back to normal by morning. I apply the peepers in the evening, about 2 hours before roosting time, so they don't disrupt egg laying and they can get used to them during the length of the night when they're fairly still on the roost. At this point, everyone who has them is used to them and can function normally. They get on and off the roost easily, lay their eggs fine, forage fine in their fenced yard, eat and drink fine and act normally. The only thing they don't do is go from chicken to chicken ripping out feathers and eating them!

    So in summary, I would encourage anyone with a picking problem to just apply the darn peepers. I hesitated far too long after trying initially last January, and my girls look awful for it. I also tried ALL of the other methods of picking prevention/reduction, short of culling the flock, with very limited success. Some of the methods help, but nothing fixed it except these peepers.

    Here is Violet, sporting her fabulous glasses. She had just laid her egg and was very proud of herself!

    [​IMG]
     

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