Vicks Vapor-rub or Bitter Apple: which would you recommend?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BarkerChickens, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    I have a hen who getting the last bit of her feathers in from her last molt. Some how, either her or another hen, pecked the pin feathers, so she is bald on her lower back. (I had posted previously trying to figure out the cause of it). I have noticed that when one of my girls walks past this particular hen and sees a stray pin feather in the bald area, she'll pick it out quickly. Dot, the bald hen, doesn't seem to care. The others girls are not continually pecking at her either. It seems to be more of a "Oh, that doesn't look right, here let me help ya" and then two seconds later they walk off. I don't mind separating her, but I have 2.5 week old chicks in the house and thought it might be safer to not bring her in (biosecurity). My conclusion is that she pecked them due to the pin feather growth itching and now it has turned into a habit for them. No blood, no scratches...just bald.

    So, with that being is my question. We don't have blue-kote (plan to get some though), but I have heard Bitter Apple and Vicks Vapor-rub might work. Has anyone had experience with these and prefer one over the other? Again, no open wounds or even raw skin...just bald.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  2. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    I don't know which would be better. Personally, I would try to find a way to separate her until she isn't bald anymore. Sooner or later somebody could draw blood, and then the dangerous picking will begin. Also, you may want to up the protein in their diet. A lack of protein is a common cuse of feather picking.
  3. kkoerner

    kkoerner Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2009
    Cumming, GA
    I have noticed that a few of my hens have small bald spots to larger bald spots on their backs too. I was thinking it was because of my rooster (all of my chickens are a year old). I have not noticed any chickens pecking at each other. Should I put something on the bald spots? Or leave it alone unless I notice them pecking at each other?
  4. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Most bald spots are from roosters...however, we don't have one (yet). If it is from hens pecking, it needs to be corrected before blood is drawn. The trick is why are they pecking? I think mine is because she pecked them herself and now it is bald and they see it, so they've joined in.
  5. EngieKisses

    EngieKisses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2008
    Collinsville, Oklahoma
    We use a stuff called Better Bitters by canopy for our parrot. It is designed for avain pets.
  6. Poppycock

    Poppycock Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 10, 2008
    Alpine, UT
    I have used Vicks Vapo Rub and Bitter lime both. The bitter lime didn't seem to deter them one bit. The Vicks worked for a few weeks and then they seemed to get used to it and it didn't bother them anymore. Good luck!
  7. Cyberous

    Cyberous Chillin' With My Peeps

    So I have no information for you but have to say your story made me laugh out loud (really)!

    Thank you for the humor!!

    Don [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Quote:They aren't normally pickers, so I think I only need enough time to let her grow her feathers back. I put Vicks Vapor Rub on her and the girls are leaving her alone. A dirt bath later and she's got dirt caked to her back (even though it was a thin layer of Vicks). The girls are leaving her feathers along as far as I can tell and she even has a couple pin feathers coming back! YAY!

    Maybe the Vicks only lasts a few weeks because the girls realize the world smells clearer with a little Vicks sniffin'! [​IMG]
  9. SandraChick

    SandraChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Pine tar also works

    Blue coat is the easiest least messy solution...

    You can also put an apron on just as good about pecking as a rooster over mounting.


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