Vent Picking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by clpearson79, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. clpearson79

    clpearson79 New Egg

    Dec 24, 2014
    Hey everyone, I'm relatively new to the forum so I apologize if this has been covered before. I'm still learning how to search for topics.

    My entire flock seems to have a vent pecking problem. We had a nest box bully once before, but this time I don't know which birds are doing it (if not all). My poor girls all have red butts with at least a few missing feathers.

    How do I break this habit? I currently have 1 nest box for every 2 hens, but they all lay in the same one. I assume they are fighting over it. I have 2 girls isolated to heal, but I'm afraid the entire flock needs seperate quarters.

    I'm going to be spraying their butts with the blue stuff (I forget what it's called) to hopefully get them to stop long enough to heal. Has anyone else had this problem over an entire flock? Must be more than one offender because all the birds are affected.

    The bully hen is gone BTW, so maybe she passed on her bad habit to some of the others? Ugh, it's so frustrating. I have had hens for years with no problems and now this.

    I don't know if it matters, but I have a plastic Eglu cube and I powerwashed it today just in case it could be some kind of sickness vs a bully...but I don't know if any sickness that would do this. Thanks for any and all advice!

  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi and welcome to BYC. It could well be a behavioural problem, as you describe. Please read through this thread, as it should help you try to identify where to start in trying to remedy the problem. It may be a little bit of trial and error, and it's unlikely that just one intervention will provide a remedy (but I'd suggest starting with the low hanging fruits first). Good luck
  3. clpearson79

    clpearson79 New Egg

    Dec 24, 2014
    Thank you so much!
  4. coloradowildflower

    coloradowildflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2008
    Rooster Booster Pick no More lotion has been really effective for us in various occasional picking problems. Also, try a flock block or other distraction to keep them entertained. A bored chicken is a pickin' chicken :) Good luck.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    'Eglu cube' is always raises the 'over-crowding' red flag for many birds do you have?
    Another first check thing about feather pecking is diet.....what and how exactly are you feeding?

    Bugs may be another thing to eliminate.
    Bugs check
    Have you checked them over real well for mites and/or lice?
    Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.
    Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).
    Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.
    Google images of lice/mites and their eggs before the inspection so you'll know what you're looking for.

    If you do find some...check out this thread:
  6. clpearson79

    clpearson79 New Egg

    Dec 24, 2014
    We have 4 hens right now in 1 Eglu cube and an additional nest box.

    I did check for mites and didn't see a thing. I also powerwashed the coop the other day, just to be on the safe side (nice part about having a plastic coop). I used DE under their perches as well.

    The hens run around in my garden all day, right now since nothing is growing we put down hay for them to scratch in and toss out some scratch grains for them to search for.

    They are also on the purina flock raiser which is supplemented with oyster shell for calcium (we had a rooster up until a hawk attack a few months ago, hence the flock raiser vs layer feed) and we supplement with veggies occasionally.

    In addition, we keep a flock block in a plastic bin and open it up to them on rainy days when they won't leave the sheltered area to forage. We have one of those balls with the bell that you can put veggies into as well. We do that about once a week and put it just out of their reach so they have to jump for it (a little entertainment for me and exercise for them).

    Most of my girls are easy to catch, just cal them and they come to me and do their sit thing so i can pick them right up. I'll try to catch a few and post some pictures. (If I can manage to hold a chicken and use a camera is another story).

    Thanks again for all the advice!

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