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should i replace my flock? (the problems are that bad) help needed

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by itsasmallfarm, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. itsasmallfarm

    itsasmallfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hello every one
    right now i have 21 hybrid leghorns (i think i have hybrid leghorns) and there picking each other, eating each other and now just started eating there eggs. i have tried many things, from toys to anti-picks, to homemade anti-picks, food dyes (natural food safe dyes) to cover there wounds, but no matter what we do they always keep on picking on each other. now where thinking about getting a new flock of heritage chickens (instead of hybrids) and just start over (butcher these birds) but they already killed one of my hens from injury's inflected by the other chickens, where looking at getting Americana, orpingtons, and chantlers to make up my new flock, or should i stick with my old flock?

    any help would be appreciated

    its a smallfarm out
     
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey there itsasmallfarm I am probably not going to be able to help you but I think others who might would probably have a few questions:

    How old are the chickens and how long have you had them?
    When did they start this behaviour?
    What is their current accommodation? Dimensions etc?

    As I said, I am not sure how much help I am going to be, but everything that you have described sounds like boredom or cramped conditions. If you can answer the above, they could swiftly be ruled out.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Before you do anything, I think it would be a good idea to figure out why you have the problem with these birds. Yes, leghorns have a rep, as do the production hybrids of being a bit more nasty tempered. How big is your coop and run? what are the exact dimensions? What are you feeding them? Protein content of the feed? What else are you giving them to eat? Treats, scratch, kitchen scraps? Do they free range at all? How much? What is the mill date on the bag of feed you are currently using? Are you providing any light in the coop? Any heat? If so, what is it? If you are giving them light to induce laying, what are you using for a bulb? Perhaps if you answer these questions, we can get an idea what is going on with your flock. If you don't figure these birds out, along with their issues, you may be destined to a repeat of this problem with your next flock.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    numbers, this sounds like too many numbers for the space. By culling some of these birds, you could solve a lot of problems. What does your coop measure, what does the run measure? How old are the birds?

    I am afraid that if you cull this batch, start over with the same number, when they get full size, you will be back in the same problem. Unless you have quite a set up, 21 birds is a lot of birds. You would need a coop at least 10 x 8.5 x 6 feet.

    Mrs K
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    You do need to address first why they are pecking each other so much. The usual reasons are not enough space and a protein deficiency. Other breeds will do the same if your conditions aren't correct.

    Chickens get mentally bored easily and don't do well under close confinement, so lots of room and stuff to do can go a long way towards burning off excess energy.

    Improper feeding can lead to protein deficiencies, especially in higher production breeds. If you are feeding a layer ration and other things your birds are probably deficient. They will get the protein from whatever source is available, even eggs and each other.

    A bit more information is needed about how you are keeping and feeding your birds in order to determine what is going wrong and why.
     
  6. itsasmallfarm

    itsasmallfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the chickens just started egg laying so maybe 20-21 weeks old right now, i have had them since they where chicks (got them by mail order) next they started maybe a month ago just the odd feather picking but we started putting anti-pick or stop-pick on them the next day. the area is about 12 by 12 and the out side is maybe 15 by 15 in a closed run with wire on top.
    my coop is 12 by 12 and the run is at least 15 by 15 am guessing, right now there on a layer mash from the store, the only light they get is a red infra light and natural sun light, (i have no idea why they started to lay with the amount of light we have) but it can get down to -49C here so i kinda have to heat the coop, its about 10C at all times, i tried not to have them lay this winter have them wait to the spring but there only getting red heat bulb and sunlight for there light, i also have silkies and do not have a single problem with them (they have the same pen area and just kept apart by wire in this coop. if i do replace my flock i only plan on getting around 10 hens or so in this 12 by 12 area

    i only plan on getting half as much next time around i would be happy with 10-12 but there coop measures 12ft by 12ft, the run i have no idea how big it is maybe 15ft by 15ft (there is just as much if not more space outside then inside) and its about 7 feet tall and dips down to about 5 feet at the ends (its a semi triangle house)

    thanks every one :)
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Too many birds in too small of a space, as well as many hens get moody during the start of laying, so you could be experiencing some pecking order issues where the bottom birds can't get away from the more aggressive top birds.
     
  8. itsasmallfarm

    itsasmallfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1. i have tried giving them tons of toys (bottles filled with treats) pie plates hanging from the ceiling, etc..

    2. right now there on a layer/grower ration (half and half) and are given sun flower seeds (shelled as well for a treat)
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    I would keep them on grower or stop feeding extras on layer. Scratch can keep birds moving and busy so I prefer to feed a grower or all flock so I can give scratch and scraps without causing problems. A separate bowl of oyster shells will cover their extra calcium needs.

    You will probably have to get rid of some birds, either the aggressors or the picked on one's. I would probably keep no more than 10-12 in that space.
     
  10. itsasmallfarm

    itsasmallfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    they have oyster shells in a bowl (and they love it)

    but am thinking that i will have to butcher some of these birds for the others (or should i butcher them all and just get heritage birds instead?)
     

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