1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Someone is hurting the others! Finding feathers bitten clean off, bleeding....

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by countrygirl74, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,313
    79
    153
    Oct 19, 2012
    Northern Arizona
    Here's the scenario....

    We have 12 chickens, 3 of which are silkies. They stay outside all day (temps are anywhere from 50-65) but I bring them in at night as the temperature has been fluctuating between 17-30 and I do not supply heat to the coop. The coldest they've been out in is around 35-40 before I bring them in. They are all 8 weeks old tomorrow.
    When I bring them in at night, I separate them into 2 rubbermaid bins for the night. They have food and water in their bins. I always keep the silkies together with a couple of the other bigger hens.

    2 days ago, as I was sitting in the coop observing them in the morning after letting them out, I noticed one of the silkies kept pecking at one of the bigger girls backsides. Then I saw some blood. I picked her up and noticed that she was swollen, bloody and a good chunk of her tail feathers on one side was snapped clean off. I washed her wounds, have been applying neosporin, and keep her isolated in the house. She seems to be healing up.

    Then today I again let them out in the morning, hung out in the coop for a bit and noticed that another one has exactly the same thing going on!! So, I put her in isolation in another bin and treated her as well.

    I decided to check out all the chickens closely to see if I was missing anything else and found one of the chickens healing from the same type of wound only instead of being on her tail, it was both wings on exactly the same spot on either side. Her wings looked like they were already healing so I think it happened a few days ago. I went ahead and applied some neosporin to it to be on the safe side.

    Then, this morning as I was watching, I noticed a couple of the chickens pecking at one of the silkies feet. I looked closer and noticed she was bleeding too! Some of her feathers were snapped off. So, now I have 4 chickens in 4 separate bins in my house!

    So, I am wondering - is there any way to possible figure out if just one mean one is doing this? I am not sure if it's happening outside all day - they have plenty of room outdoors. Or, could it possibly be happening because they are in a bin overnight? I have 6 in one bin (a large rubbermaid) and 6 (including 3 silkies) in another slightly smaller rubbermaid. Should I just start leaving them out overnight or will that be too much temp shock for them? The house is around 50-55 at night and that's what they're used to. Again, outside temps at night are upper teens to 30 at the highest. Since they are 8 weeks, maybe they will be fine? Can the silkies handle those temps? I am open to suggestions as I just want to find out what circumstances might be causing this.

    I am just surprised that someone is doing all this damage. I can't end up with 12 bins for a bunch of injured babies!!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    450
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Large fowl breeds are old enough to be in the coop all night even at your temps. I've never owned Silkies but I suspect they would also do fine if they had a fluffy pile of hay or whatever to snuggle into. Actually at that age they might all prefer to sleep that way, especially since they have not been sleeping on roosts. It's hard to say whether bringing them in is causing your problems, but I'm guessing it is, since overcrowding is the prime cause -- that, and too little protein intake. Some extra protein at least for a while might help turn this around. They may actually be uncomfortably warm sleeping that way, which could certainly cause some pecking.

    Sometimes if you watch them long enough you can identify a lead bully or even a lone bully, and remove that individual for several days then reintroduce. And, some people find they need to separate their Silkies if they are going to avoid pecking injuries, while others keep them with large fowl without a problem.
     
  3. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,313
    79
    153
    Oct 19, 2012
    Northern Arizona
    Thanks so much for your thoughts! I think I might try to leave them out at night now and see if that helps. I was wondering if maybe they didn't like staying in the bin all night. I'll just keep the wounded in for a couple more days. I will also add some more protein to their diet. I guess I might have been causing them more problems by being too protective of them with the cold!

    At what age is it safe to start giving them scratch, as I heard that helps them put on some extra weight for the winter?
     
  4. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,313
    79
    153
    Oct 19, 2012
    Northern Arizona
    So, I left 6 chickens out with 3 little silkies last night for the first time. It got down to about 25. I have to admit, I went and checked on them at midnight but they were all good! They were huddled together in a big bed of straw and their little bodies were all warm. When I went out this morning around 7:30, they were walking around inside their house waiting for me to get them some fresh water as it did end up freezing. Now that I've made it through the first night, I am good! LOL
    I still have 3 hens indoors in three separate containers because every time I try to let them mingle, the other chickens immediately notice their wounds and start in on them. How long does it usually take for their feathers to grow back so I can let them join the others outdoors?
     
  5. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,313
    79
    153
    Oct 19, 2012
    Northern Arizona
    Oh, and one more thing... no more wounded chickens! So, I guess having them in those bins overnight was the cause. Thanks so much for the advice!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by