Terrible Pecking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by patrolman490, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. patrolman490

    patrolman490 In the Brooder

    Apr 30, 2009
    Have a quick question regarding a pecking problem. Someone at a local feed store reccomended debeaking to prevent pecking, but after what I have read here I can't imagine doing that. So my question is do they make saddles to protect the damaged area which is their rear ends. Five of the six have no feathers there and the skin is red. The one who has all the feathers I am sure started the whole thing but they are all doing it now. If they make the saddles where can I get them and do they work?

    Thank you
  2. CalebtheChicken

    CalebtheChicken Songster

    Jun 5, 2010
    Jeremiah, Ky.
  3. Neilette

    Neilette Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Happy, healthy chickens won't feather pick. Giving them more spacious and enriching living quarters is an important step. You may also want to increase the protein % in their diet.
  4. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Songster

    May 31, 2009
    Are you talking about the damage done by a rooster or by the hens pecking each other? Saddles are mainly for hen protection on their backs from the rooster mounting them. In this case a saddle will help.

    If you're talking about hens pecking each other, then it's likely to be a management problem. Hens engage in severe pecking when they don't have enough room to live with each other, not enough protein in their diet or another deficiency or stressor in their lives.

    Try to increase their protein intake by either getting a higher protein food like Flock Raiser (20%) or by giving them high protein snacks like meat or meal worms two or three times per week.

    More importantly, examine their living area. The minimum recommended spacing for standard chickens is 4 square feet per bird inside the house and 10 sq ft per bird outside for a total of 14 sq ft. This is a minimum and most chicken people, including myself, agree that more is better. I have six birds and while they have the 4 sq feet inside the house they have 160 sq ft of run and then the entire yard (1/10 acre) during the day.

    You'll probably find that pecking will decrease with more room.

    If this isn't feasible you can try chicken toys like a Flock Block, hanging cabbage heads or the like, but they're of limited effectiveness if the chickens don't have enough room.

    But if they're getting a good feed, the likely culprit is space.


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