Stopping them pecking til bloody...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by emartin, May 11, 2009.

  1. emartin

    emartin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Until our Peepers product comes in the mail does anyone know of any ways to prevent them from pecking each other? Currently letting them free range is not an option since our yard is small and I don't like free ranging them when I am not supervising.

    They are pecking each other until bloody... Any ideas on getting them to stop?

    What about a bantam rooster (roosters aren't really allowed in my town because of the noise), or a giant hen like a Jersey Giant hen or a Brahma hen?

    Bag Balm doesn't really seem to work at all.

    Would making the run larger help? We have access to extra dog run panels at a small house we rent out that can really extend the run, the problem is we won't be able to cover the whole thing...

    Also, do they typically stop the pecking once they are older and start laying? (in other words, is this just an adolescence thing?)

    Also see this topic for more information about what's going on: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=176694

    And
    if some of you aren't familiar with the peepers product, this is it http://www.eggcartons.com/product-exec/product_id/754/nm/Pinless_Peepers_PINLESS_P . We are going to use them until we have the pecking under control and all injuries are fully healed...

    Thanks,
    ~Ed
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    More space would be the best solution IMO, so yes increasing the run would help.
    My favorite product for pecking is pine tar. Available wherever horse products are sold.
    I'm not a fan of peepers, though I guess they do have their merits. Fixing what's causing the problem is a better solution IMO.
     
  3. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    I understand your frustration - increasing the run size wouldn't hurt at all, but I'd worry if you can't cover it somehow.

    Until the peepers get there - have you tried adding leaves/mown grass to the run and sprinkling black oil sunflower seeds or a snack (something higher in protein than scratch) through the leaves/grass? That will usually keep them busy scratching and pecking for a while. Some people have cabbage heads from a string/rope so they have to jump slightly to get to it, and it keeps them entertained.

    You may also want to try pine tar. It's very nasty and not fun to deal with, but most chickens hate the taste of it. Spread it liberally on the areas being pecked - it actually helped with mine, but I had to reapply every 2 days or so. Around here I can find it at Southern States and a couple of local feed stores.

    If you get a lot of eggs, try scrambling up a dozen or so and feeding that to your chickens. You can also fry up hamburger to feed them, feed them yogurt, cheese, etc. Anything to up the protein a bit.

    I am sorry you are going through this. I KNOW how extremely frustrating it is. I really hope the peepers work for you.

    Penny
     
  4. emartin

    emartin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well after thinking about it we could put chicken wire over the top of the run, but other than that the only thing I'd worry about is the possibility of hawks or one of the flightier ones flying 6ft high over the run. Otherwise we personally let them in and out of the shed into the run every day so I don't have to worry about them at night.

    The peepers came today and we'll put them on today. We were going to the store for Stall Dry so I guess we'll pick up some Pine Tar.

    Thanks for all the ideas though...

    ~Ed
     
  5. amartinlb

    amartinlb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How effective is Pine Tar in helping it stop them from pecking. I never heard of it before...

    Just curious and wanted to bump this.

    -Anna
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:I had one minor problem with pecking when my chooks were little. Everybody wanted to pick on poor Lil' Bit's tail. I applied pine tar twice and got a little sadistic satisfaction to watch the others take one peck and then run around trying to get the pine tar off their beaks. They never bothered her tail again.
    You can find it in the equine (horse) section at co-ops and such. It's used on horse's hooves. It will probably state on the label 'not for internal consumption'. Don't worry. They don't eat it. They hate it.
     
  7. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    I also had very good results using pine tar. It is extremely messy to deal with - I suggest wearing rubber gloves. Apply it VERY liberally. If you have a bad issue with pecking, you may need to reapply every couple of days or so. But like Gritsar - my little peckers went crazy trying to get the stuff off their beaks. They hated it and it helped end the pecking. But again - apply it liberally. They need to get it on their beaks with the first attempted peck.
     
  8. emartin

    emartin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I typed this up a few days ago before I left for a few days to Baltimore, MD, and came back and apparently it never posted.

    So here's what was supposed to be submitted a few days ago:

    I added peepers to all the larger chickens (by the way they are all up to 11 weeks old now) but not to the littler ones since it kept falling off some of them.

    The suspected two bullies got peepers and were reunited tonight with the group and the two that got pecked badly are separated in dog cages for now.

    BUT, THE SUSPECTED BULLY even with the peeper did attempt to peck at either a cuckoo maran or barred rock pullet once but I think that was just because it was too close to her/in her way at the feeder. Right now they're all sleeping so we'll have to keep an eye on them tomorrow.

    We bought Stall Dry (product that's a blend of Diatomaceous Earth and Clay, in a sand-like texture) and are going to gather fresh dirt from another area of the lawn to set up a few plastic bins for dust bathing in and outside the coop in the run.

    About Pine Tar. Does it REALLY work compared to Bag Balm (Bag Balm did nothing for us)? We are prepared for the extra effort in applying it on the victims bodies above the tail feathers where they are being pecked but we don't want to bother with it if it won't work. I got the idea if we do try it to besides putting generous amounts on the pullets to put it on the bullies's beaks as well to help distract them and the hope that if they do try and peck at the victims again which have the Pine Tar on them too that they will remember it and be more reluctant to try it again.

    Lastly, is it really necessary to cover the whole roof of the run with chicken wire? We live with in HEARING distance of the Ocean and the only predators here are Hawks, Raccoons, and Opossums and all of which except for Hawks wouldn't be a threat at all when the chickens aren't locked in their shed. Currently we only have a 10ftx10ft area (the entire current run) covered with tarp to provide shade and help keep it dry and though the tarp would keep out hawks it's not going to stop any predators...

    Thanks,
    ~Ed
     
  9. emartin

    emartin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And about Pine Tar:
    Seems to work! The other chickens don't seem to want to be anywhere near the two that are covered in pine tar (especially since you can spell the odor ten feet away)...so apparently that combined with the pinless Peepers on the top 3 dominant chickens solved the problem!

    About Pine Tar though, on the bottle it said not for use on Food Animals, and I called the company and they practicly darn the idea of putting it on chickens to help heal and prevent pecking saying it is completely different than "old fashioned" Pine Tar and not FDA Approved. Do you guys think the operator knew what she was talking about?

    I personally don't think the operator knew what she was talking about since it seems that the company just doesn't want you to use the product on food animals since it isn't FDA approved....but if it's all natural (even if it is processed differently now adays...), 100% Pine Tar it shouldn't harm the chickens at all since they wouldn't intentionally eat it anyway...

    Lastly...we have 6 Wyandotte pullets about 4-5 weeks old now, and we are selling 6 including the two suspected bullies of the older 9-12week old chickens this Sunday. Should I wait another 1-3 weeks before putting the Wyandottes in the shed with the older chickens or would they be able to go in immediately after the others are sold? We don't want the older ones pecking them that's all...

    ~Ed
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Pine tar, peepers (for ordinary chickens) and such are stopgap measures. They do not address the cause. Bloody pecked areas can quickly turn into full scale cannibalism, and could require culling the flock. Overcrowding is often the cause. An uncovered run, or even running loose, is better than culling a flock that has turned into cannibals, IMHO. And trying to mix flocks, esp. if not all are full grown, can often lead to serious pecking as well.

    There are links to some helpful threads in the FAQ section on pecking.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2009

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