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They nearly pecked her head off =o(

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ovaunda, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. ovaunda

    ovaunda In the Brooder

    Apr 4, 2008
    Enoch, UT
    VERY new to all this...

    Yesterday all was fine and this morning when going out to clean the coop we noticed a lot of blood. One of my girls was pecked nearly to death. She was walking around and alert but you could see straight down to her neck bone. My husband had to put her down, she surely would have died due to the injury but we are miffed now. I was crying like a baby. [​IMG]

    What do we do? We don't know who is bullying. I know there is a pecking order and they are about 16 weeks old. None seem overly aggressive other than the roosters, we know there are at least 2. They were all raised together and moved to the coop together.

    Any recommendations or just let nature run its course?
  2. mmajw

    mmajw Songster

    Jan 31, 2008
    If you see injury remove that bird immediately and keep them seperate. You may not have needed to cull that one. How many hens do you have for your 2 Roosters? If you dont have enough hens they can get injured.

    Oh and [​IMG]
  3. ovaunda

    ovaunda In the Brooder

    Apr 4, 2008
    Enoch, UT
    It wasn't my choice, DH said it was for the best. I still am not happy about losing her.

    We have 12 total now and 2 we know are roosters. They crow day and night.

    I meant that they are NOT overly aggressive. We hope those are the only roos however we don't know for sure, they're the only 2 crowing. One other that we thought was a roo doesn't crow but they pulled out all his tail feathers and pecked his comb.

    I'm ready to give up - we thought it would be a good learning experience and I'm quickly learning...with frustration.

    I don't know if I am cut out for chicken raising, I am so attached and don't want to get rid of any of them, by choice or otherwise.
  4. momma's chickens

    momma's chickens Songster

    Mar 10, 2008
    Hugs to you, I am having this same problem but on a lesser note. My only rooster pecked one of my hens feathers out of her neck but it doesn't sound as bad as yours was. I am trying to decide if I should rehome him.
  5. mmajw

    mmajw Songster

    Jan 31, 2008
    Dont give up too quickly.

    How old are your birds?
    You should have 8-10 hens per Roo. So if you have 2 Roos you need to house them seperate from your hens or get more hens so there are enough to go around.

    Sometimes getting started can be a rough process but keep at it things will get better. How much space do they have? Sometimes overcrowding can cause pecking as well.
    Can you post pics of your flock and maybe we could help you identify hens from roos?

    If you notice any more injury or blood get that one out asap or the others quickly turn into cannibals and will keep after it.
  6. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    They are tough on each other when young. I had a few that were nearly pecked to death. Once they see blood, they all jump in. It is usually not just one of them doing it, but all of them.

    Don't give up. Once you seperate males from females, that does help somewhat. Young males are not very practiced at mating, and they are really rough, and that is sometimes how it starts. I have found if there is only one roo in there, it makes a difference.
  7. Poorfarmer

    Poorfarmer In the Brooder

    May 25, 2008
    Sherburne NY
    Welcome to the world of chicken. Mine were fine until yesterday when some of them ganged up on 2 and now i have two less. it happens [​IMG] :mad:
  8. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    I would pull up a chair, relax and watch them for awhile. If you are around them enough you will get a pretty good idea what is going on. I had a feather picker last year, and I caught her little Rhode Island Red heiny up and sent her packing.

    How are your birds housed? Are they in small quarters? Do they have enough to do? Small quarters/boredom/frustration are often precursors to pecking.

    * Ensure the chickens have enough room to get plenty of exercise.
    * Make sure weaker chickens have full access to food and water (may require more than one food/water station).
    * You might provide hiding areas for weaker chickens (we put up run perches and a customized "stool" they could hide behind or run around). Make sure it isn't something they can get trapped in and pecked worse, though.
    * Give chickens something to peck at and keep busy: I set out squash halves, pumpkins, cabbage, cauliflower and other things they can work on during the day to entertain them.

    Whether it is hens or roos, it is VERY important to nip this problem quickly. They can and will kill each other if a pecking problem gets bad enough. It's a nasty way for a chicken to die.

    Good luck! Please keep us posted.

    Jen in TN
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  9. ovaunda

    ovaunda In the Brooder

    Apr 4, 2008
    Enoch, UT
    Quote:They are around 16 weeks or so, probably a little older. We got them in a straight run at the local feed store.

    Quote:Oh boy - spent some time with them last night and we have 2 roos for sure, the 2 that crow and 2 others we suspect that might be from their posture.

    One actually reared up at me and attacked my leg. I sent him flying with a swift kick of the foot (not hurt) startled him for sure. He seemed ok after that, even ate corn from the cob by hand.

    They have an area to run that is about 12x12 - we can't let them free range because our dogs aren't quite sure yet.

    I think we are going to divide up the pen into smaller pens and have to separate them.

    I will try to get some new pics so you more seasoned pros can help me identify my girls from my boys.

    I did notice another one that had some pecking on the tail feathers so we moved a smaller dog run over next to the coop and put her in it. We are thinking about separating the hens from the roosters in their own coop but will the roosters fight more?
  10. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Sounds to me like they may not have quite enough room. In this case, you'll definitely need to make sure they have things to keep them busy. I put plastic milk cartons and things like that and move them around every few days; I'll also lift one side up & lean it against the side of the run so they can get under it. Try a suet feeder, and put veggie scraps, 1/2 cabbage, or pumkin, squash - whatever fits inside, and hang it so they have to work at it to get the food out. Also, they MAY have a lack of protein going on...could be why they are feather plucking (sometimes eating feathers is an indicator of not getting enough protein). I throw a handful of dry cat food in about once a week and they eat what they need. As SOON as you see blood, immediately take the bloodied bird out; as dangerouschicken said, once they see blood, they'll all go for it and gang up on the hurt one. Remove the injured one to a dog crate or some other smaller container you can watch/treat them in. I use an old horse trough and put a dog crate panel over top of it. Also, make sure they have plenty to eat. If I were you, I'd get rid of at least one, if not both, of your roos. Especially if they're causing trouble....sounds like you need the room for the girls!! GOOD LUCK!!! [​IMG]

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