Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickeepoo, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 10, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    They went after Chickeepoo again, tearing into her back… she has a bloody 1/2" crater in her back by her tail even wearing an apron. I just pulled her and she's NOT going back until she has feathers and TEETH.

    From the BYC Rules:

    1. Remember this is a family board no swearing / foul language.

    I'm sorry to hear about your bird's injury. I'm sure you'll get some great advice in this thread! ~Lisa~
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2009
  2. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    Do they have enough space and protein? If so, then I would find the ringleader and have chicken soup.
  3. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Once this type of behavior starts it's hard to stop. If you remove her they will probably go after someone else. Do they have a large enough run; enough protein sources; and enough stuff "to do" like peck and scratch and bugs to find and eat?
  4. jhm47

    jhm47 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2008
    I'm going to post what I'm sure will be a very unpopular opinion:

    When hens begin to cannibalize each other, it's nearly impossible to stop them. There are many reasons that they start doing it, and very few really reliable ways to stop it.

    In my opinion, the ONLY really reliable way is to debeak the offending hens. Cruel? Well, isn't it cruel to intentionally peck at a weaker hen and slowly kill her? And---isn't it better to debeak a vicious hen and let her live out her productive life than to kill her and make soup from her? I can see absolutely no difference from a hen killing another hen than a coon or possum killing a hen.

    I'm not talking about the radical debeaking that is done in hatcheries, I'm just talking about removing about 1/4" of the upper beak. This will entail a bit of bleeding, and also some discomfort (probably less to the hen than the person doing it), but the beak will quickly stop bleeding, and it will be tender for several days to a week. The offending hen will immediately cease her picking on the others, and only use her beak for eating. When it stops being tender, she likely will have forgotten her bad habit. If she tries to pick (excuse the pun) up her old ways, she will find that the upper beak is missing, and she will be unable to sieze the feathers/skin of her victims. She will soon become just one of the flock again, and peace will again reign. Good luck!
  5. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 10, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    These are 4 hens in a 4x8 run with a playhouse coop above the run at one end. They always have layer feed, water, extra veggies and some cracked corn with occasional yogurt, oatmeal and other kitchen scraps as treats. The big change for them was a month ago when they went from free range during the day to being cooped up, so I wondered if that sent them into this behavior.

    I just came in from checking Chickeepoo, and it looks pretty nasty. I'd cleaned her with betadine solution and tried to blot up some of the bleeding with sterile gauze before removing her a few hours ago. The blu-kote I sprayed on kind of camoflauged the extent of the injuries, and the blood is coming through now. Here's the pics- please let me know what I can do for her; I'm really miffed about this and feeling bad that I ever let her go back into the coop with them. The apron did not keep them from going under it and going after her.

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  6. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    I don't know...I think I agree with Jhm on this one. It sounds like it's the only hope in your crew. I think they will continue to do this. Good luck and if you do this let us know how it works out.
  7. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 10, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Well, not knowing for sure if it's one or all of them, would I de-beak the 3 suspects? We know at least ONE of them is a cannibal… and I think I'd need someone who knows what they're doing (and a special tool?).
    What do you think of the damage to the hen? Does it look like something she can come back from?
  8. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    I've definitely seen chickens recover from worse injuries. The important thing to do now is to keep her separate from the others, in a warm place, with access to food and fresh water so that she doesn't go into shock if she has lost a lot of blood (it's hard to tell). Keep the wound clean and check it daily.

    Don't let her return to the others until her wound is completely healed. Chickens will pick, pick, pick at a wound on another chicken until the wound is much worse. Some chickens have even been killed by the others in this way. It's a nasty and bizarre habit they have.

    Just a thought... How much coop floorspace do you have for the number of birds in your flock? Being enclosed in in tight quarters can sometimes lead to a lot of picking.

    You might try distracting them with some treats; hang a cabbage from the ceiling on a string and watch them go nuts.
  9. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 10, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    The run space is 4x8, and they have a 4x4 playhouse coop set up over one end of that; from what I've read it seems sufficient for 4 of them, but the hens may not think so since they were free ranging up until a month ago. Do I have to raise chicks that never know that freedom outside of the coop for them to be happy in their enclosure?
  10. I hope that your Chook recovers from her ordeal... But Try Aloe aswell... I used it on one of my gals pecked backs and she healed well.

    I wonder is your wounded gal the lowest on the pecking order??? Is she the weakest hen. If so that is why she is pecked on by the others. They usually do that in my last flock. How often do they go on free range??? I keep my gals in their houses then let them out when I get home for as long as the sun will let me. But I also mixed in grubs and other jucie tidbits while I move out rocks and leaves so they know there is more better things than feathers to eat.

    Also, Maybe they are not getting enough Calcium, Oyster shell maybe.... for extra suppliment.

    I hope this helps....and I hope your chook recovers well.


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