1 Hen picking on another?

The place to discuss everything else to do with chickens.

Moderators: Marigold, victorias poultry

Katy-may
Forum Contributor / Grower
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:53 pm

1 Hen picking on another?

Post by Katy-may »

Hello, this is for my mum. She has 2 bluebells & 2 pullets. Lived very happily together for a year, but one of the bluebells has started to peck one of the reds. Enough for red not to come out, she is moulting would this make the other attack? Mum has bought anti-peck spray, and would like to separate blues from red which I think not a good idea as would have to adjust back to each other. Any suggestions?! Thank you!! X
Has 16 animals and still adding ...
User avatar
chrismahon
Forum Guru / Wise Bird
Posts: 5001
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 10:29 am

Re: 1 Hen picking on another?

Post by chrismahon »

Problem with anti-pecking spray Katy-May is that the victim suffers most as she gets a beak full of the foul tasting stuff when she tries to preen. Has to be regularly applied and often doen't work as the pecker finds another one to attack. We always now target the pecker. The pecker will be going for the blood filled fresh quills and needs quickly to be forced to break the habit. Which means immediate isolation until the pecked has feathered up. Keep her in a coop and run in close sight of the others and then hope that the other Bluebell doesn't start. Bluebells are weird and very intelligent things so when they find a tasty snack they will keep at it.

If, when re-introduced, she starts pecking again she will have to be permanently isolated (or despatched) because she will then go for every bird moulting every chance she gets. We've had a few hens like that; jury is out on the latest one.
User avatar
darkbrowneggs
Regular Forum Contributor / Laying Well
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:14 pm

Re: 1 Hen picking on another?

Post by darkbrowneggs »

Just a thought, and may not work, but how about isolating the attacker and try feeding her some nice juicy minced beef, if it is the blood and protein she is after and she gets what she needs in other ways it might just stop it, and try making sure she has access to ground seaweed meal. It contains the full range of minerals, and she may be lacking something she feels she needs.

The other thing (if she is one you are fond of) is to try some spectacles on her. I know someone who had some very pecky Welsummers, and they spectacles certainly helped, though from memory they had to stay on the birds permanently, and I always think they look a bit unkind, but its probably not any worse than having pierced ears and wearing earrings.
If you want to follow my travel journal see
www.theworldismylobster.org.uk
Chuck
Part of the Flock
Posts: 1262
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:48 am

Re: 1 Hen picking on another?

Post by Chuck »

In this instance, I don't think the anti peck spray will work as you would have to spray too much of the bird if she's moulting. Is she hiding because her feathers are being pulled or because the blue one has decided to set on her, which they will do. However, if just one area is being pecked at, apply the spray to that area. I would absolutely not feed red uncooked meat as this could lead to even more trouble.
Why these problems start is a bit of a mystery but is probably boredom and close confinement and there is no proof at all that a dietary deficiency is involved.
Keep a close eye as if blood is drawn, then the situation becomes very serious and the bird should be taken out until healed. If you are sure which one is the bully, you could try isolating her as suggested.
If you are willing to go that extra mile for your poultry - make sure you're going in the right direction !
graham
Forum Contributor / Grower
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:04 pm

Re: 1 Hen picking on another?

Post by graham »

Hi,I had this problems years ago,a nasty buff orpington,I tried all the usual tricks and nothing worked.One day for a completly different reason I switch my drinkers for gient rabbit drinkers because I was feedup with the bird keep pooing in it, within minuets of me putting it down.
To my supprise it stopped my feather pecking problem over night.Try getting two must be the gient ones they can't seem to use the smaller ones,get two to avoid fights.The chickens realy seem to ejoy pecking them, this seems to divert there atention.
It dose seem to start around molting time I wonder if darkbrowneggs has a point just not red meat,lots of people up the protein levels of there feed at this time buy feeding a tins of tuna in spring water or dog food or maybe evan meal worm or though these are high in fat so don't over do it.This will also help feather them up quicker and bring them back onto lay sooner.

Graham.
Katy-may
Forum Contributor / Grower
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:53 pm

Re: 1 Hen picking on another?

Post by Katy-may »

Thank you all for your really helpful advice! Mum has separated the blues from the reds this morning, not going to use the pecking spray. If when they are put back together, and start again I think I will have the blues as have much more space & not confined. That is strange graham about your buff, it's like they are trying to tell us something is wrong!! Chris what happened to your latest one?!
Has 16 animals and still adding ...
User avatar
chrismahon
Forum Guru / Wise Bird
Posts: 5001
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 10:29 am

Re: 1 Hen picking on another?

Post by chrismahon »

Well Katy-May. She was isolated because she started eating big softy Arnold's neck feathers. He had a mini-moult, as many have had with the funny weather. As the new ones came out she ate them and he let her! So she was isolated. But then we had that fox attack and had to rehome the remaining hen. To make it easy on her we removed Arnold and then re-introduced the feather eater (she is tagged now) to make a threesome. They have all settled down now and two are laying. Big softy Arnold's neck has feathered up and we are near to re-introducing him. But we've just had a big move-around because some hens are going to a friends to replace some stolen two weeks ago. Some are going back to their original owner and the TNN hens arrive today, the cock Friday and we will be busy with them. So unfortunately Arnold will have to be patient. We should know in a few weeks- she should have been distracted enough with her bossy new co-habitee who has replaced her as top hen so I think things will be OK.
User avatar
cuwiar
Regular Forum Contributor / Laying Well
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:45 pm

Re: 1 Hen picking on another?

Post by cuwiar »

darkbrowneggs wrote:The other thing (if she is one you are fond of) is to try some spectacles on her. I know someone who had some very pecky Welsummers, and they spectacles certainly helped, though from memory they had to stay on the birds permanently, and I always think they look a bit unkind, but its probably not any worse than having pierced ears and wearing earrings.
Hi DBE, what are these spectacles you mention? I have a feather pecker at the minute at wonder if they are worth trying - although they do conjure up a very strange image!!
Katy-may
Forum Contributor / Grower
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:53 pm

Re: 1 Hen picking on another?

Post by Katy-may »

How are the new hens Chris? All settled in? I gave my mum my log in to here to read all your really helpful comments, she has done tuna today! So far 24hrs without a attack, so fingers crossed! The spectacles... Where on earth do you buy those?! X
Has 16 animals and still adding ...
User avatar
dinosaw
Part of the Flock
Posts: 1478
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:03 pm

Re: 1 Hen picking on another?

Post by dinosaw »

Cuwiar and Katy theres some photos of chicken spectacles here:

http://milkweedandteasel.blogspot.com/2 ... icken.html

And you can buy them from here:

http://www.ascott-dairy.co.uk/acatalog/ ... cking.html

Not sure what to make of them.
Post Reply

Return to “Any Other Discussion About Chickens”