1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Please I need advice my chickens are getting hurt

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rileysixchix, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Rileysixchix

    Rileysixchix Chirping

    Hi I am fifteen years old and this is my first 'batch' of chickens ever, they are 9 months old and this is their first winter. My family has never owned chickens before but many neighbors do. I have done very extensive research on chickens before i got them, but apparently not enough. [​IMG]
    I have one hen who is constantly plucking and pulling and pecking out feathers of the other hens , then eating them, and they are getting hurt. They have bare (sometimes bloody) patches at the base of their tail, one down their neck completely and all have bare butts. I do not know what to do and through more research i purchased blue-kote from the local feed store and applied it on the bare areas. It is only the second day of the blue-kote treatment and I have still noticed the hen picking on the other girls in the same spots. For tonight, I have her in a separate dog crate inside the coop just to give the other girls a break. Should I continue the separation? for how long? Is blue-kote the right thing? Should I look to re-home the hen, but would another take up the same job? Please! I really need help and I am so sad to have this happening because I just want all my birds to be happy and healthy [​IMG] [​IMG]

  2. Country Parson

    Country Parson Songster

    Oct 1, 2010
    Bellefontaine, OH
    This is common, but it needs to be dealt with. There are a lot of gimmicks and silliness that people use (such as tying pieces of cloth to the chickens back), but none of these solve the problem. In most flocks, you will soon experience a chicken that is just plain ole mean. The only cure is culling the aggressive bird (cull means remove...usually by killing). This MUST be done for the health of your flock.
  3. chickathon

    chickathon Chirping

    Aug 12, 2011
    West Virginia
    [​IMG] I'm sorry about your chickens. Are they allowed to free range? It could be boredom or over crowding. I have heard of pine tar being a good remedy. But, I don't see how it would come off once you got it on. Maybe wear off as they grow their feather back? I haven't used this my self. But, I figure the stuff would taste horrible. If your chickens aren't free rangers maybe a flock block could ease a case of boredom. I have also heard of bright lighting causing this behavior. If you have a bright light maybe a softer one would help. As a last resort you could have a vet trim her beak. But, I don't like the thought of that. I have heard that it would solve your problem though. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. What are you feeding? How much space do they have? Are you using artificial lights or heat lamps of an sort?
    You might want to try some painless peepers and an amino acid, protein, vitamin supplement for awhile. Plus, maybe get rid of the worst offender.
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    Smack a piece of duct tape on each bare spot. It will eventually fall off itself.
  6. DancingHen

    DancingHen Songster

    Mar 11, 2011
    Central Oregon Coast
    If she is actually eating the feathers it may be due to a dietary deficiency. Try increasing their protien and calcium. Also, try removing her from the flock for a few days and then return her, this sometimes helps to change pecking order or break habits. Put her in a cage large enough to live in for a few days in the coop.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  7. Rileysixchix

    Rileysixchix Chirping

    Thank you all for your advice. [​IMG] Yes we have had a light on all night that I would consider it bright. We have turned it off completely for the past two nights learning from byc that heat lamps cause more harm than good. They have a good size run here is a picture of their coop and run.


    They are allowed to free-range i would say for an average hour and a half daily, its hard with school but my dad lets them out too, and many often of times their free-range time is cut short due to hawk shrieks and flybys. [​IMG] They eat Purina Layena Fresh Pellets, have bird seed, any fruit and veggie scraps, bread, and a flock block in the coop with plenty of fresh water daily. I scatter bird seed though out the gravel/ pebble floor of the run for them to dig and scratch around to find. They love eating grass and bugs as well. Any more ideas to omit boredom? Where can you get vitamin supplements for chickens and what are painless peepers?

  8. 1) Remove the plucker
    2) Treat the plucked- I've used BluKote- keep an eye on the others and see if they go after her- it's not a matter of the others plucking to be mean and eat feathers; it's more a matter of "what is that and how does it taste?" The pluckers I've had have plucked several; not just one. If you think this is just bullying, still removing the plucker for several days to begin with can be a help. Sometimes, getting them out of the flock is enough to change the dynamic; sometimes, you need to go the peeper route; sometimes you just need to get rid of the offender. I've had one that goes off and on with the plucking.
    3) Up the protein. I do a mix of higher (20%) protein and layer. The more the plucking- the more I go heavy on the protein. It seems to help. I always have oyster shell available and they get their egg shells, so their calcium is not lacking. For me, the plucking was happening before they were laying, so I know it wasn't a lack of calcium. I went through a stretch where I always had somebody in the house with a bare, bloody rear.
    4) It could be boredom; it could be overcrowding. My feeling is that if you have a single plucker and a single "victim," removing the offender is the easiest route. I had the one plucker removed for nearly a week the one time. We've also gone the route of being in with them and redirecting the plucking attacks- I have three that are more food aggressive and plucking (all the same breed) enthusiastic than all the others. If she's eating the feathers (which mine did, too) additonal protein may help.

    Fwiw, ymmv. Don't think this is anything you have done- chickens have personalities, too, and we may not necessarily like them all all the time.
  9. ozark_chickies

    ozark_chickies Songster

    Jun 19, 2011
    Cut back on the snacks and feed them a high protein diet. As others have mentioned, separate the aggressive hen from the others for a few days.
  10. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    "Pinless Peepers" not 'painless' are applied to the chickens beak and serve to reduce her vision so that she is less able to peck other birds. Do a search on here for more information.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by