Started as feather picking escaladed to pecking causeing injury

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Dirtrider73068, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. Dirtrider73068

    Dirtrider73068 Out Of The Brooder

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    I noticed on one of my hens she had a spot pecked at on her back at the tail feathers, thought just been fighting for order, went out a couple days later to check and tend to them and noticed that now it was pecked down to the bone, so I removed this hen to inside in a giant wire dog crate, bought some wound cleaner at the feed store along with stuff they said works called pick no more lotion. I kept the hen inside for about a week, this wasn't working out as my inside routine and noise did make the hen jumpy so to say. I had to put her back out, in the time this hen called Reverse(she looked like a shunk when a chick) thats hurt was inside I notice two others my back and white one called Moo had her butt feathers missing as well as one of my reds had the same tail feather spot as Reverse, so I watch closely to see who is doing the picking, it came about my big yellow one called Dasiy.

    Since Reverse was making a mess of the cage and be loud and just all around anxious I decided to try to put her back out in the pen, when I opened it up I found Moo which I loved had been killed, to my surprise the same injury and spot on her tail end. I gave Dasiy a taste of the no pick, applied the no pick the others being pecked at. I let them out yesterday for a couple hours with Reverse outside as well, one of the red ones chased her and wanted to fight with her but Reverse bowed up and pecked back.

    Well this morning I get up go check on them and hear one clucking rasing a fit and go watch Dasiy and one of my reds has started to peck at Reverse again drawing blood, so Reverse is back inside again. I am at a loss, I don't know what to do other than keep Reverse inside till she is healed up but in this behavoir going to keep on or will it stop?

    I do have a small coop one from atwoods its the barn style coop had 6 now down to 5, could this be a room issue or something else, its been cold but also warm outside. I was told it could also be a vitamin problem, so I bumped the feed from 16% to 18% but need to fill the feed up with the 18% also got some life-lytes mega tabs to put in the water hopeing this will help. I do plan on adding a run to the side of the coop, but even this morning as soon as the door the pen opened Reverse came running at me with the other two chasing her like she was saying dadddy help me they won't leave me alone. I read also once chickens get a taste for blood they don't stop. I don't want to loose anymore my chickens but I also have a time stretched schedule with my work I tend to work long hours but have a injured chick to tend to.

    I am also afraid of letting them out in the yard they will fly over the fence but don't want to clip wings in case they need to fly up to escape danger, there is also two big dogs behind me that can stand and tower over the fence but have not showed signs of wanting to jump over at the chickens yet they just bark at them. Would they be ok to let out during the day to range and put up at night or let out for a couple hours while I am home to keep watch.

    I have to do something as its Daisy and one of my reds chasing and pecking at Reverse tail. Am afraid they will kill her like they did Moo.

    Sorry for the long post wanted to give as much detail and explanation as I could.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    The usual causes of feather picking are usually considered to be too little protein, too little space, or both. Once the behavior is well established, it can be very difficult to reverse. I'll give you a few links that should give you a good assortment of approaches and experience that others have had: Good luck!

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/back-to-basic-living-feather-picking-plucking-and-cannibalism

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/697052/i-think-i-found-a-miracle-cure-for-feather-picking/0_20
     
  3. Firekin1

    Firekin1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Coop size could be an issue depending on the size and breed of bird. And boredom.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
  4. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Plan to spend some time out there soon. Watch for the attacks, and immediately spray a hose at the attacker. The more you can do it, the faster the attacker will quit.

    It worked on my one hen who was going after an injured one. Bullying behavior has not returned, and a less brutal hen took over dominant position in the flock.
     
  5. Dirtrider73068

    Dirtrider73068 Out Of The Brooder

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    Well my flock has been together since they were chicks have grown up together, this didn't start till just recently but there has been some cold snaps and this weekend got our first snow of the winter, I live in central Oklahoma so the weather can be goofy at times but this summer they did fine they may have fussed at each when I put scratch down or feed them some treats but nothing like this. The premade coop I will call it is about 6 feet long thats a outside run adn coop with nesting box by think about 3 feet. I did at one time would let them out to wonder but my work had me working 60 hours a week I didn't have time to let them out to watch them and what time I had on weekends was running around doing other things so half could be they were bored and wanted out to wonder, I just fear the hop a fence or something. I did let them out usually on sundays when I feed them and watered them to wonder around a little.

    The run I plan on added is going to be either 4x6 or 6x8 I haven't decided depends on width and lenght of wire I can get, trying to build the run on a budget but little cutting just i can get it together quick as I can so I can get them in it to get use to it, right now they are out in the yard and seem content, I walk around them, dogs barking don't seem to bother them, I even hear one in a over turned bucket scratching I thought what in the heck is that where is my chicken and went looked and there she was lol.

    I also just filled the feed with the 18% and refilled the water with the life lyte tabs. I hate having the one in the house in a cage not being able to do anything but stand there and stare at me, but I have to protect it, and in hopes I don't loose it, but keeping it inside keeps the others from bothering it and keeping the would clean and free of dirt.

    I will read those links and in the mean time plan up a run and see what I can do. I love my chickens like I love my dogs the eggs they give me are great and keep me stocked up way more than a need and tend to have to give them away, but do find people know I have fresh eggs are all over me wanting them.
     
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    The space you have them in is very small, how many birds do you have in there? Give them as much additional space as you possibly can. The problem is, at this point this behavior is going to be hard to break as long as they are confined to any small space. Adding 24 or 48 square feet more is not enough to solve the problem. Letting them out as much as possible will help. You might want to consider pulling out and rehoming the most aggressive birds and see if things settle down. If you do that, make sure the new owners know what they are getting.
     
  7. Firekin1

    Firekin1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Usually the minimum size coop for standard birds is 4 square feet per bird, bantam is 3..so your coop alone for standards should be at least 20 square feet for 5 birds, that would be about 4x5, then in a run they should roughly 7-10 square feet per standard sized bird. Bantams require a bit smaller. Roost space should be about a foot of space for each standard size.
     
  8. Dirtrider73068

    Dirtrider73068 Out Of The Brooder

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    The coop is a run and coop together was a kit so to say, it has a open door to enter the coop from the run, just guessing and looking its all together 6x3 I am looking at adding a outside run it will be 6x8 and about 3 feet tall. I have 5 in my flock, I think 3 are RIR I have a canary yellow one I don't what breed she is and the one hurt is a funky coloring but has small tuffs of feather on either side of her face. They have been in that pen since they I got them and they were old enough to be outside that was back in the late spring when the weather warmed enough, they have always been together, I kinda think its turned into a room issue and think adding a run on the side to gove them room get away from each other will help, and plus letting them out when I can, they have been out ranging since about 10 this morning and have been doing fine, in fact if I go outside they come running up to me like they are wanting something.
     

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