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Bullying and pecking

Posted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:21 pm
by effingpot
I have 8 lovely hens who all seem to get on well - and I'm still getting 8 eggs a day despite the cold and dark days, here in Hampshire.

Two of the hens have bald patches on their backs just above the tail where they have clearly been pecked by the others.

However I have seen nothing and they seem to play quite happily - I can see them from the house.

In the past (I have had chickens 14 years) if there is pecking you can see the behaviour but nothing now.

I suspect it happens in the coop at night and one of the pecked girls regularly gets left outside when the coop door closes, shortly after dark.

Any bright ideas? I feel bad for the bullying and it must be very cold having a bald patch in this weather :-(

Re: Bullying and pecking

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:35 am
by chrismahon
Sounds like you may not have enough perch space in the coop Effingpot. 9" each is the recommended for large fowl. I've found anti-pecking sprays don't work and the best solution is to identify the pecker(s) and fit a bumpa beak bit, but if it's happening in the coop identifying the culprit is going to be difficult, if not impossible.

Re: Bullying and pecking

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:44 am
by effingpot
Well the perch space is interesting. There are two decent length perches and they all try to get on one of them! One always sits.on the floor though interestingly they avoid the nest boxes. I may try and move them to four per perch tonight though that may also cause arguments!
You are right. Hard to work out who is doing the pecking.

Re: Bullying and pecking

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:33 am
by Marigold
Hi Effingpot, and welcome to the Forum.
Are you sure the bare patches are down to pecking? Any signs of infestation eg by Northern Fowl Mite?
Curiously, one of my hens, a Leghorn, had a similar problem for some weeks, despite being well up the pecking order and fully able to look after herself. I couldn't see any skin problems and she was obviously healthy and still laying most days, so I left her alone and after a week or so feathers began to grow, so I concluded it was a partial moult. She's fine now, fully feathered again in front of her tail but slowly shedding the odd white feather in what is evidently a very slow moult, fitted in with the demands of egg laying!

Re: Bullying and pecking

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:59 am
by chrismahon
Worth checking for lice. They can be very irritating and cause them to pull out their own feathers.

Favouring one perch of two could be down to height or draughts.

Re: Bullying and pecking

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:45 pm
by effingpot
I just went outside to see if I could check for mites but it's very muddy and the chickens are not playing ball so I can't do that at the moment.
I did get a photo that kind of show the ball patch - could they do that to themselves?