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What to do to stop hen pecking, and why now?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nursecat9, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. nursecat9

    nursecat9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2009
    My girls are now 24 weeks old, and I've been getting between 12-16 eggs per day out of 25 hens. I have 5 ss, 5 slw, 5 bo, 6ee, and 5bo's. My roo is not doing any manly duties yet including crowing, and no my eggs aren't fertile yet either. 4 out of the 5 slw are picking at each other, and now starting on the others. They've only been doing this for about 3 weeks, and it started that they were only doing it to each other! 2 of the slw are almost bare, with an open bleeding area. [​IMG] I increased their protein level in their feed when I first noticed it about 3 weeks ago. The only other thing that is different is that we started keeping a light on at night for production. We've been leaving it on all night. None of the other breeds are doing it....any ideas to help....and what's the best thing to get them to heal up the fastest? Thanks so much!
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    It could be the light being on all night is making them feel psycho. Normally when light is added for production, it is only to extend the daylight so that they have 14 hours of light. I.e., if the sun comes up at 7am and you have 11 hours of daylight, you would have the light come on at 4am to increase the lighted hours to 14, while still giving them SOME night hours of darkness. I can't say for sure this is what is causing the pecking but if they're not getting a chance to have any night hours at all, this would be the first thing I'd change.
     
  3. Marbleheader

    Marbleheader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 18, 2009
    Marblehead, MA
    Nursecat, how big is your coop and run? Is it possible that they've grown to the point where they're overcrowded and acting out due to the srtress that overcrowding causes? Are the pecking when they're in the coop or in the run?
     
  4. nursecat9

    nursecat9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They have 100 sq ft in the coop, and 256 sq ft in the run. I let them out first thing in the am, and only close them up once they're in for the night. I would have thought if it was space, they'd all be picking, and not just the 4 slw....[​IMG]
     
  5. AK Michelle

    AK Michelle Bad Girl of the North

    Mar 17, 2009
    Palmer, Alaska
    Once in awhile mine start picking. When anyone gets picked on I treat the area with BlueKote. It's antiseptic plus it dyes the red or pink spot a blue-ish purple color. I don't know how it tastes but I haven't noticed any picking at treated areas. I bought a bottle at the feedstore, it wasn't expensive and it gives my white polish a fun punk-rock look.

    Have fun.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Marbleheader

    Marbleheader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 18, 2009
    Marblehead, MA
    Quote:That sure seems to be enough space, so I'd cross that one off your list.
     
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Just a tiny nightlight is fine for night lighting. Bright lights all of the time is stressful. And as another suggested, use the Blue Kote to keep others from picking at the bleeding bird. If needed, isolate her to keep her safe. Personally, if I was having this problem w/ my hens, and it persisted for more than a few days, I'd isolate all the guilty hens for a while... Good luck!
     
  8. nursecat9

    nursecat9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2009
    Thank you all so much for the helpful information. [​IMG] We just went down and turned out the lights! I'll be heading to the feed store tomorrow too, to get the BlueKote! Hopefully a good night sleep for the girls and they"ll stop all that pickin! At least that's what I do for my kids too! [​IMG]
     

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