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The pecking order: Cannibalism

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by multak107, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. multak107

    multak107 Hatching

    Jan 16, 2014
    Hey, this is a rather serious issue that I've been dealing with since about Nov. of last year. It all started when one of my hens died unexpectedly, which was ok at the time, since I own over 100. But the other 99, they must've been curious, because they pecked her until her insides were nearly hollowed out; & then I found her. This progressed until I felt like I was losing them all the time. They had to have gotten a taste of blood and became addicted, and so now about 90% of my 100 chickens (I've replenished the dead with new ones since) have a decent amount of their feathers missing at the base of their tail, exposing their skin. Some of them are starting to grow their feathers back it seems, while others just seem to be going with the flow, running barebutt, with no injuries whatsoever, & others still you can tell if they've been pecked because their skin is red & irritated, with minimal or no blood at all. Around halfway through Dec., I realized I had to do something, so I bought Rooster Booster from my local TSC. It's supposed to help treat & prevent cannibalism in poultry. After using, I noticed improvement. Any other suggestions for how to treat this if things get ugly again?????

  2. tatertot

    tatertot Songster

    Aug 20, 2013
    Try hot pick...and paint their bare behinds with blue kite or green food coloring
  3. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If they are kept confined they may be too cramped. There is also boredom which can cause them to pick.

    I agree with tator tot, cover the bare area with blue kote or other dark colored dye to keep them from continuing to peck the bird. Once they draw blood it will become a feeding frenzy.
  4. tatertot

    tatertot Songster

    Aug 20, 2013
    I have no choice but confinement til spring...I have a couple hens that have bare spots from featherpicking.
    no blood...they'd be isolated...I try to camouflage the bare areas....supply greens or head of cabbage...come on springtime
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    How big is your coops and runs for this number of birds?
  6. carrierose

    carrierose Chirping

    Feb 22, 2014
    Keno, OR
    I have the same problem with my 30 chickens. I have been using duct tape on the bare area of their backs to protect them and the Rooster Booster Pick-No-More on areas that can't be duct taped but I can't seem to keep up with the pecking. My 2 Sexlink & 2 Barred Rock hens seem to be the worse at picking.~~ I suspect that I do not have enough outside area for that many chickens though they do have a good sized chicken run. I do plan to add to the area this spring when the weather clears up. They did not want to go outside the coop during inclement weather this past winter and that is when the pecking worsened. I have only one rooster and 22 of the hens are less than a year old. I would like to allow them to free range in my pasture but I have three dogs that would kill the chickens if they got ahold of them. My poor Ameraucana rooster is really taking a beating from the hens. I have only had chickens since last March so I am fairly new at this.
  7. TheEggCollecter

    TheEggCollecter Songster

    Feb 16, 2014
    Sounds like a bad case of boredom. Allow the chickens lots of room to run and well..... be a chicken. If that isn't possible add things for the hens to do: Flock block, perches, benches, snacks, etc.

  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Time to decrease the stocking rate~eat or sell some birds. Usually this is a space issue...too many birds, too small of space. If a flock is managed properly there should never, ever be a picking problem, nor should there ever be bare backs on hens.

    It's a learning curve and you can't trust what the books say about space per chicken, as you are probably finding out right now. Those books never account for inclement weather and other things that require the birds be confined to quarters. Think about how many humans would fit into a space that was comparable and proportionate for their size and think about how short the tempers would get.
  9. tatertot

    tatertot Songster

    Aug 20, 2013
    How big of run would you need 50 chickens?
    30 chickens? 15 chickens?
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Allow 10-14 sq ft per each bird, if not more.

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