Serious pecking... will my chickens live?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Miss Messy, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Miss Messy

    Miss Messy New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    May 30, 2013
    I have a small flock of 6. 2 buff orpingtons, 2 australorps, 2 wyandottes. 4 of the 6 have been brutally pecked and are actively bleeding. I took the 2 girls that were uninjured and separated them. Any suggestions on what to use to isolate the other 4 so they don't peck each other to death? All of them are pecked in the same place... large spot right next to the vent. When I went out this morning, one of them has also had all of her neck feathers removed. I don't know if they have already suffered too much damage... how much damage can they take and still heal? Also, I don't know which one of the uninjured are doing the initial damage, or if it's both of them.
     
  2. mrchicks

    mrchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,406
    125
    176
    Jul 29, 2013
    Wisconsin
    I'm so sorry to hear about your girls. [​IMG]

    We had a pecking problem last year. I sat in a lawn chair and watched them interact. When we found out that it was the two BO's that were doing it, they were removed from the flock. We used blu-kote on the pecked hens and they healed up just fine. We do have one hen that must wear pin-less peepers or she starts picking at the others. Other than that, all of our girls get along great now.

    Try the peepers, and the blu-kote. With the peepers they can't see straight ahead, and the blue spray hides the red spot and helps them heal.

    You are going to have to figure out who's doing though.
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Chickens can heal from horrendous injuries but you definitely want to stop this asap or they will indeed be killed. Watch them closely and see if you can figure out who is the instigator and remove that bird/birds. Sometimes the rest of the flock will settle down but sometimes if it's been going on for a while they will pick up this habit and you won't be able to break them of it.

    I would just keep the wounded ones separate and coat them up with BluKote as mentioned and just keep a very close eye on them that they don't start picking at each other. It would be best if each bird was separate but I realize with multiple birds that's a problem.

    The next thing is to try to figure out the cause, whether they are bored, stressed, in too small a space or if you just have a nasty, aggressive bird in the flock.
     
  4. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,401
    172
    143
    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    A few of my hens are mean grumpy old hens that are prone to peck & bully the lesser hens unmercifully. Matter of fact they're the most vile, dispicable hens I ever had but they always peck on the head, neck and back. I've never had butt pecking, even when they had poo & grass stuck around their butts. So...that makes me think it's a space problem.
    That's just my wild arse guess (WAG) on the internet.

    Far as the injuries & healing, x2 what everybody else said.
     
  5. Hogs and Horns

    Hogs and Horns Chillin' With My Peeps

    53
    6
    86
    Dec 17, 2011
    We have two new girls, only 8 weeks old. Last night I saw the New Hampshire Red peck at the Buff Orpington. I want to stop this behavior asap, and am curious about the pinless peepers you mentioned. Where do you get them please? Thank you very much for your help!
     
  6. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

    23,607
    1,332
    396
    Jul 24, 2013
    If you have the room to do it, I would separate each individual pecked bird. If that isn't possible, though, just spray them with Bluekote or another wound spray and hope for the best. I would also advise cleaning each of their wounds, drying the area, and then putting some antibiotic ointment (nothing that contains "caine" ingredients--those are bad for birds) on the wound. Until the wounds heal, I would continue putting antibiotic ointment on the wounds, as you don't want them getting infected. The Bluekote will help with infection, too.

    Don't worry too much about your hens healing. Chickens have a remarkable ability to heal quickly and completely from horrendous wounds. In a few weeks to a month, you probably won't even know that your hens were ever injured. To prevent further pecking problems, you might consider pinless peepers and/or isolation of the problem bird(s). Lack of space can also cause cannibalism, so make sure your hens have enough room. Adult large-fowl laying hens should have at least 2-3 square feet each in the coop, and preferably 5-10 (more is always better) square feet of outside run space.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    Chickens hone in on the color red and will peck at it relentlessly. If possible isolate any birds that are bleeding or have redish wounds.

    If you cannot isolate them, the recommendation of BlueKote is a good one in that its color (it is a blue spray) masks the red color, reducing the amount of pecking the others may do.

    Poultry can heal from these types of wounds quite well, as long as a secondary infection does not set in. Keep the wounds as clean as you can.
     
  8. mrchicks

    mrchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,406
    125
    176
    Jul 29, 2013
    Wisconsin
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by