Roo getting pecked AGAIN...?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JusticeFamilyFarm, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. JusticeFamilyFarm

    JusticeFamilyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2011
    Southern California
    I have one roo in my group (I think that's all- but won't know for sure 'til they lay or crow, I guess [​IMG] ). I had to separate him from the others about 2 weeks ago because his tail was pecked clean and bloody. I cleaned him up, and kept him separate for 2 weeks. I know that's a little long, but he was also keeping one of my other pullets company and they were getting along great. I figured it had been too long and he needed more room to roam, so I wanted to integrate him back in with the girls. I took him down one evening, let him into the run and they all seemed fine. The girls kept doing what they were doing, he walked around and found the food, water, then scratched a bit, so I left. For 2 days things were fine and I spent time down there a few times a day watching- they all seemed to be getting along. Tonight I went down to check feed & water and he was bleeding from his tail again and maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the feathers were pecked from his tail (they were only stubs anyway, since they had just begun to grow back- poor guy). I brought him back up to the house and put him back in with the pullet. All the girls had blood on their beaks (well, I couldn't quite tell on the black beaked ones- but all the ones I could tell), so I don't know if one is the instigator, then the others peck at the blood, or if they were ganging up on the poor roo. He's the same size as the others and the same age as the majority of them (all between 9-12 weeks). I'm wondering if I should just re-home him or take him back to the feed store? Do you think there's a chance he'll ever be ok out with the girls or do some just not get along? I wasn't sure I even wanted to keep a roo in the beginning, but because he was one of my 2 SLWs, I wanted to keep him. The pullet he was with is being put down and necropsied on Monday (hopefully) and as long as that comes back negative for Marek's I'll know more about my options (as far as re-homing him). I think if I get a positive Marek's result I'll only have the option of keeping him or putting him down as well, right?
    Thanks for any advise or suggestions on my poor little picked on roo. [​IMG]
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    It doesn't really seem to be a matter of "getting along." Your pullets have developed the habit of pecking at his pin feathers. Once blood is present, all then join in. Keep him separate until his tail has completely grown in and no pin feathers are present-- it will take quite a while. Understand that they may carry this behavior over and start on one of the pullets. This behavior can escalate to cannibalism so keep an eye on them.
     
  3. JusticeFamilyFarm

    JusticeFamilyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    188
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    May 27, 2011
    Southern California
    Thank you. I will definitely keep an eye on them. I haven't seen any others with bloodied feathers. A few are missing some feathers here and there, but it looks more like patches of molting or slow feathering, since some are as young as 9 weeks still. If it does start even with the roo removed, what do I do? Just keep removing the pecked one? I'm not sure how to figure out which pullet is the instigator, unless I get down there before others have joined in and find only one with blood on her beak. I've been giving them treats and things to supplement their diet in case it was boredom or a lack of something food-wise. They are not on layer feed yet, since they are only 9-12 weeks, but they are starter/grower. I might get some all-flock pellets soon also and see if the added nutrition helps at all. I'm hoping it's just a dislike for the roo so that I don't have to worry about my other pullets. [​IMG] I'm working on finding some supplies to build him his own separate area, so that he can stay apart from them for a longer period of time without having a lack of space.
     

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