Predator — other chickens pecked the skin off my chicken's neck

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by htollvr, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. htollvr

    htollvr Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2009
    My poor Goldie has been through near death experiences four times in her less than six months of life. She was finally doing better after the twisted neck incident. I had been pumping her with vitamins, babying her, and she was slowly looking and acting better. She was walking, eating, drinking, and acting more normal. Still small, tottering, but her neck was stretching out and she was preening and moving it around more normally.

    This morning, I went out to check on her and she was lying in her cage, which is separate from the males, with all of the feathers and skin pecked off the left side of her neck. I don't know how they reached her like that. Maybe she fell and was vulnerable (she does that sometimes). Now she is down to either the muscle or the very bottom layer of skin from her ear down about an inch on the left side. It's red and white, smooth, so I don't know whether it's the sub-layer of skin or something else. As if you just peeled the skin off — which they did.

    Other than being in shock, she doesn't appear to be otherwise hurt.

    Can chickens survive this? How do I protect the area so that it doesn't develop an infection? All I could think to do was pour Vitamin E over it. I gave her water and she drank, forced 1/3 of a crushed human vitamin into her, and poured the E over the bare area. But it's exposed.

    Thanks,

    Heidi

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  2. colleensstuff

    colleensstuff Chillin' With My Peeps

    I had a little pullet that happened to. She jumped into a pen that she didn't belong in when I was feeding and I didn't notice because she looked like few birds that were in there. When I came back a while later the other chickens had pecked all the skin off of her head down to the muscle. I put her in a big dog crate and just let it heal on its own. I've found if you try to put ointment on it or cover it, it just gives bacteria a warm moist place to grow and it gets worse instead of better. She healed up, the skin grew back over the muscle and I thought it would be safe to let her free range again. WRONG! The other chickens went right for her head. I now have her in with my peacocks because they don't pick on her. I named her Joan because she looks like she's had a face lift because the skin is so tight around her eyes. Hopefully you'll be able to get her well again.

    Colleen
     
  3. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    I have had this happen and all we do is seperate from the others so it's not made worse, then I spray it good with blu kote. It doesn't take a week for it to heal right up.
     
  4. colleensstuff

    colleensstuff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here is a picture of Joan. Sorry for the poor quality, I had to use my camera phone. Her feathers didn't grow back where the skin was completely torn off. If she had just been pecked on the head I'd say yes in a week she'll be fine. But yours looks like Joan did where the skin is completely gone and has to grow back. Keep in mind the skin will be thinner and not as elastic as it was and can tear easily if another bird pecks her.

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  5. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    No other solution except for isolation, unless you can find the offenders and cut back their beaks. It is likely to be one or two that are doing it. Unfortunately it is common chicken behavior to peck a weak one to death. Overcrowding can exacerbate that behavior.

    I have a buff comet that will peck at a runt barred rock in the evening as they are settling in. The poor runt is doing nothing but staying hunkered way way down as low as she can. If I spot it. I will likely smack the back of the offender's head so that she is knocked off the top roost. Then I turn the lights out and she can figure out how to get back up there in the dark. I may have stopped if after two times. We will see in time. I also have moved her to a spot no one is near to and set her there before lights out if I think it is too crowded around her. She gets in to coop first and gets up to alpha roost that way and just hunkers way down with her head very low. Likely had to learn that the hard way being the runt. I am always sure to give her extra treats, etc. She is lame too.
     

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