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tail feathers being pulled out

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by embrown, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. embrown

    embrown Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 18, 2009

    We have 3 Bard rocks and 3 Isa Browns. The 3 BR's have been showing that the tail feathers up at the edge of the back have been pulled out/broken off. This has been so for about a month. But there was no sign of being pecked, no blood, and everyone seems to get along, for the most part. I thought it might be just a BR thing, or possibly the beginning of a molt. Btw, they have all been raised together and are about 30 weeks now. But, today, I noticed that one BR has been pecked to a crusty spot about the size of a quarter, it is scabby and looks painful. I also notice that another BR has a spot started that is smaller but the same crusty thing. Why would it be that only the BR's are experiencing this symptom. The spot is right at the edge of the back and the start of the tail feathers just off to the right side of the bird. The IB's are all perfectly feathered. I do not observe any particular meanness in any one chicken. I assume this may be a pecking order thing, but can not tell who is trying to be the dominant to remove her. I believe they have plenty of room both inside and outside. The worst one is the one who was very sick about 6 weeks ago, but I think the worst of the pecking just occured in the last 24 hours. Any ideas as to why the BR's are being picked on, what I can do, such as put on a spray or something to discourage pecking the tail feathers, and what should I put on the soar now that it has occurred? My daughter who found the ouchy is crying histerically and wondering who and why is this chicken being picked on.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    Beth, I'm not sure what it is but I don't think it's a breed thing.....I would try to seperate the chickens with maybe a bit of chickenwire or something so the others can't pick on them. It's OK that they can see but not reach them. Let the bloodied areas heal and then try to reintroduce them. I hope you get some more experienced chickenkeepers to give some advice but for now I would make sure that they can't be pecked more. Once chickens draw blood on another they'll just keep at it. You may want to check the FAQ section or the Learning Center (up top of the page) on how to introduce them again. Good luck
  3. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 19, 2009
    What are the dimensions of the run and coop? How much roost space do you have? What feed are they on and how much do they get each day?
  4. embrown

    embrown Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 18, 2009
    The indoor coop has a floor space of 4 by 6, but there is a raised area for the nesting boxes that is another 30 inches by 3 feet. it has the two laying boxes that are 12 by 12, and 12 inches sloping to 8 inches in the front. They can purch on top of the nesting boxes, although they do not usually, and there are some food storage cans they also like to get up on to look out the window. That indoor coop has a fan for ventilation, a light,, a window, and a roof height of 7 feet. In the coop there is about 12 ft of perch, and I have seen all of it used at times but they favor 7 particular feet of it. They have access to food, Layena layer mash, fresh water, that alternates plain water, oacv in the water, and electrolytes depending on what I observe in the flock. They also have free choice of grit and shell. Attached to the indoor coop, via a guitine style door is access to a mesh floor roofed outside area that is 3 feet by 6 feet with a sloping roof from 3.5 ft down to 2 ft in the front. They are in the coop/porch area from dark at night until about 10 A.M. when most have laid. Then they go to their outside run which is a 4 by 8 a-frame. In there they have access to the same food, water, grit and shell. It is moved around our yard so they always have fresh lawn to enjoy and dig in. They are very happy birds, who are friendly and very agreeable to holding and being pet. We occasionally give them a handful of scratch, 6 days per week, they get plain yogurt about 3-4 times per week, and they sometimes get some fresh raspberries, tomatoes, and broccoli from the garden we grow and do not use any chemicals on.

    This has always seemed to be enough room, but if there is something I can do to improve it, I am open to suggestions.

    I guess, I just need to know what to do now that there is a bloody spot on one and another is probably going to be bloody soon. What will help the soar heel, besides just waiting, I would not want an infection.

    I wnet to Tractor Supply tonight and could not find anything for poultry heeling or pecking discourager. They said their poultry guy would be in tomorrow, so I will check in then, but was hoping someone on this wonderful list could help.



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