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    • CommentAuthorMark
    • CommentTimeMay 6th, 2010 8:42pm (May 6th 2010) edited
     
    Can anyone help? I have just noticed one of my chickens pulling out another ones tailfeathers. There are a clump of feathers on the pen floor and the picked on chick has a big bald bottom. We brought the the chickens home 5 days ago and until now they had seemed to be getting on fine. Does anyone know why this has started happening? The two chickens concerned are a Silver Link and a Rhode Rock the latter having the bald bottom issue!

    Any advice welcome.
    • CommentAuthorleevaux
    • CommentTimeMay 6th, 2010 9:08pm (May 6th 2010) edited
     
    Hi Mark Welcome to Hencam
    Chickens pull feathers when they are bored and to confined of an area, if that's the case then they need more space.How Many chickens do you have and what space do they have Mark ? :bigsmile:
      welcome_chicken.jpg
    • CommentAuthorMark
    • CommentTimeMay 6th, 2010 9:17pm (May 6th 2010)
     
    Hi Leevaux, thanks for the welcome and comments.

    We have three chickens, they are caged although have quite a bit of space aprox 4m sq in addition to their coop. They were scratching the grass and foraging when one just quicky turned and pulled the feathers from the rear of the other. Very concerning!
    • CommentAuthorleevaux
    • CommentTimeMay 6th, 2010 9:40pm (May 6th 2010) edited
     
    Mark if you have only just got yours chickens from different places they will not no each other and have to establish a pecking order which is not very nice for about a week or so or if when the feathers are pulled out and they see blood they will keep doing it make sure they are not board and have space and plenty of protein cat food,Meal worms ect you could also try this if you want to its very good. http://eshop.widgits.co.uk/shop/article_37/Barrier-Anti-Pecking-Spray-400ml.html?pse=coa
    • CommentAuthorMark
    • CommentTimeMay 6th, 2010 9:47pm (May 6th 2010)
     
    Thanks again Leevaux. I cannot see any blood, I'll keep an eye on it and hope it stops. I'll give it till the weekend, if it continues i'll give the anti peck spray a go!
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 6th, 2010 9:49pm (May 6th 2010) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Hi Mark, :welcome:

    It could be that they are sorting out the pecking order, and the chicken with the bald bottom is sadly at the bottom of the pecking order. In this case, just make sure she gets access to food, water and has enough room to escape. Chickens at the bottom of the pecking order are always treated worse when they are first introduced together, to make sure they understand they are at the bottom, and then it generally settles down...although they will always be pecked occasionally!

    Watch out for any blood, because chickens are attracted to the colour red which makes them peck at any injury more. If she gets bloody, separate her until she is better.

    If it is just one chicken doing the feather pulling, you can try taking her out of the coop and seeing how the others interact without her.

    Feather pecking can also be due to, in rare cases, a calcium deficiency (and so some feathers are eaten in this case in order to get more calcium) try adding calcium-rich food to your girls' diets; such as soya yoghurt, cat food etc etc, just to be sure this isn't the case

    Checking for mites could also be a good idea; although feather picking due to mites generally occurs with a hen pecking out her own feathers. Still, you can check the base of your chickens' tail feathers for little white clusters (lice / mite eggs) and check her feathers or skin to see if you can see any mites running for cover. If you see any mites don't panic, you can buy lots of treatment to remove lice from them.

    They could also be picking feathers due to boredom (?) so try chucking in a football, adding mirrors, or tossing in a whole cabbage / lettuce head into the coop with them. You can hang them up for them to jump and peck at too, if you want - it's fun to watch :)

    We recently tied a small wicker basket to our chickens' coop rook, and put treats in it. It's great fun watching them peck at the basket to get the food, they have no trouble with it at all and it keeps them entertained for hours.

    Good luck with your chickens, hope it works out!
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 6th, 2010 9:50pm (May 6th 2010)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Mark, just wondering, is the feather pulling a one off event or is it happening continuously?
    • CommentAuthorMark
    • CommentTimeMay 6th, 2010 9:58pm (May 6th 2010)
     
    Hi Red, Have not seen the feather pulling before today and the bald bum definitley only became visible today. You have given me plenty of things to try. Hopefully they are just establishing the pecking order. I'll keep an eye on them, naughty girls!
    • CommentAuthorleevaux
    • CommentTimeMay 6th, 2010 10:02pm (May 6th 2010)
     
    Good Luck Mark and don,t hesitate to come back and speak to us we are very friendly :045:
    • CommentAuthorMark
    • CommentTimeMay 6th, 2010 10:06pm (May 6th 2010)
     
    Oh I'll be back alright! Thanks for all the advice. :)
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeMay 6th, 2010 10:28pm (May 6th 2010)
     
    Welcome Mark! Please do come back regularly - we're pretty friendly and just a little bit mad! - and we'd love to know how your girls get on and how you resolve the feather plucking.
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeMay 7th, 2010 6:03pm (May 7th 2010)
     
    Hi Mark and welcome to Hencam
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeMay 7th, 2010 7:31pm (May 7th 2010) edited
     
    I'm afraid that with Livia on the nest (4 eggs), all Onion's attentions are turned on Littlebeak and she's looking very bald...:(
    Helloooo, Mark!
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeMay 7th, 2010 7:41pm (May 7th 2010)
     
    I thought it was Little beak that was broody CC or was she and gave up !!
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 7th, 2010 9:10pm (May 7th 2010)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Aw bless her CC!! You can buy special saddles for chickens if any rooster's are giving them too much special attention ;)
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeMay 8th, 2010 6:27pm (May 8th 2010)
     
    Really??? I bet that would be fun to put on...like nailing jelly to the ceiling! Where on earth do you get 'em and what are they called?
    Littlebeak was broody for a whole afternoon...and then got bored! Short attention span...
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 8th, 2010 8:04pm (May 8th 2010)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Aw, bless Littlebeak :laugh:

    Oh yes, I don't envy anyone trying to get these on a hen that doesn't enjoy cuddling!! Here's a link to some if you want:
    Chicken saddles to buy!
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeMay 8th, 2010 11:49pm (May 8th 2010)
     
    Littlebeak has a longer attention span than my youngest son - he's bored after a couple of minutes!
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeMay 9th, 2010 1:34pm (May 9th 2010)
     
    They don't seem to do purple ones...seriously, she's only losing feathers and otherwise seems quite happy. I think she'd be far more distressed at being picked up and stuffed in a canvas vest (provided I could catch her in the first place - unlikely with a chest infection) than being rogered by Onion!
    • CommentAuthorMark
    • CommentTimeMay 9th, 2010 9:00pm (May 9th 2010)
     
    Hi All, I said that I'd be back!
    Poor Littlebeak, my Lucinda sympathises. I do keep telling her that bald bums are all the rage. I let my 3 choocks roam free for the weekend and yes the flower beds are a disaster area. I thought that the feather pulling/pecking had stopped as they were getting along fine but as soon as they were back in the pen it started again. Darn that Pearl she's relentless! I bought the anti peck spray (WOW IT STINKS) and have covered Lucinda with the stuff, go on Pearl have nip if you dare. I'm thinking that Pearl is jealous of the size of Lucindas' eggs (they're big) but then maybe size is not that important in the chicken world. Oh well, I think they are about to go to bed now, here's hoping the spray works.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeMay 9th, 2010 9:13pm (May 9th 2010)
     
    Hi Mark, glad the free ranging seems to have given her a bit of respite from Pearl. Poor thing though having stinky stuff all over her butt! STill, if it works its worth it. She'll be relegated to the end of the perch - have you given the other girls a peg for their noses?!
    • CommentAuthorleevaux
    • CommentTimeMay 10th, 2010 5:32pm (May 10th 2010)
     
    I can just see you Mark spraying a chickens bottom!!!!!!!!!!!!!:rollonfloorlaughing:
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeMay 10th, 2010 7:39pm (May 10th 2010)
     
    Littlebeak's decided to help Livia sit on her eggs. Or perhaps she's just hiding from Onion. Either way onion is v. lonely and extremely grouchy today..
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeMay 10th, 2010 7:50pm (May 10th 2010)
     
    Poor lad, not getting his nookey!?
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 10th, 2010 8:25pm (May 10th 2010)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Hi Mark, so the pecking only happens when they are in the coop?

    If she's still being pecked after a few days with the spray, try adding some new things to their coop and try and distract them. A large bucket containing soil will keep them busy scratching for bugs, or you can fill it with hay and mix raisins in with it. Or mirrors, footballs, lettuce heads, hanging treats etc etc.

    If she is still being pecked, you can always see what happens when you remove Pearl from the coop! :laugh:
    • CommentAuthorMark
    • CommentTimeMay 11th, 2010 7:35pm (May 11th 2010)
     
    Hi Red, Yep the pecking only seems to happen in the pen. I have already put a few toys in there with them, A hanging bird feeder with an apple in it and a football but they ignore those completely. I think I'll try the mirrors too as they do love there own reflections.
    Is it okay for them to have hay in the coop? I was told that they should not have hay as they can react badly to it! It would be great if they could have hay as I've got masses of the stuff which I use for the rabbit.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 11th, 2010 8:51pm (May 11th 2010)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Hi Mark! Hay can be problematic to use in nest boxes as when it is damp it can harbour mould spores that can be dangerous and cause respiration problems in chickens. As long as it is changed recently in the nest box or coop it will be fine. Or straw is another option, it's what we use with our girls :smile:
    • CommentAuthorAvoca Valley
    • CommentTimeMay 12th, 2011 2:11am (May 12th 2011)
     
    Hi all

    I'm new to this forum too and have a problem with two of my pullets (a silver laced and a gold laced wyandott) missing feathers on their tails. We had 3 silver laced and 1 sussex speckled to start, and then bought another 2 silver and 2 gold at the weekend from the same breeder. They're a little bit younger - I think about 16 weeks and the others are about 6 months. Just checked them this morning and the goldie is looking red raw with blood all over where it's tail feathers were. The silver isn't too bad, looks like feathers might be growing back, but I'm concerned about infection with the goldie plus it looks like some of it's tail is actually missing.
    I've had a read through all your helpful comments but wanted to ask if anyone had tried pine tar? Found it here.... http://www.plamondon.com/faq_healthcare.html :face-sad:
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 12th, 2011 1:49pm (May 12th 2011) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Hey Avoca, welcome to the forum :)

    Hmm, I don't know much about pine tar...the only thing I remember about it was one chicken owner saying don't put it on large areas...

    Gentian Violet is a similar product that you might want to try. You spray it on wounds, and not only does it help conceal them from other chickens in the flock (chickens are attracted to the colour red) but it also helps the wounds to heal.

    http://www.hyperdrug.co.uk/prodinfo.asp?number=GEN240&Variation=
    Amazon sells it too:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wells-Poultry-Equipment-Battles-Genitian/dp/B001RU47BK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1305203977&sr=8-3

    You're probably gonna need to separate the new pullets from your existing hens. Are your birds free-range or cooped? If they're going to be kept confined add things to keep them busy and distracted. Hanging wicker baskets filled with treats where they have to peck the food from the holes, rocks and logs to stand on, mirrors, hanging heads of lettuce or cabbage all helps keep them interested.

    You're especially going to need to separate any that are bleeding / have scabs. The best way to separate them would be with some netting that each flock (newbies and oldies!) can see each other through, but so that they can't get to each other and fight through. The newbies should be okay with each other, but watch to make sure they don't start picking at each other's bloody scabs either.

    Keep them separated like this for a week, after that (providing the wounds have healed) you can begin letting them free-range with each other. Start off only letting them out for half an hour, with you to supervise. If they start fighting badly, distract them with treats, loud noises / flapping arms, or even chuck some water at them. If this starts going well, increase the amount of time. Once you're at a few hours with minimal scrapping, you cans start putting them all in the same house to sleep together then separating them in the daytime. After 3 / 4 nights of this (and free-ranging for a few hours in the day) try leaving them together at night and in the day.

    It sounds like it'll take a long time and is a lot of effort, but it's probably worth taking it slow seeing as the pecking was so bad to start with.

    As for infected wounds, try keep it clean. Wash it gently with warm water once a day (if the chicken's aren't tame yet you might not want to do this, as it will stress them out a lot, and make them more prone to infection). Keep the Gentian Violet spray on as it will help them heal without becoming infected and stop pecking (or Pine Tar, whichever). I'd also add small chopped bits of garlic to their feed, and Apple Cider Vinegar to their water - both of those will help boost immune systems to avoid infection, and lower stress levels.

    For the chickens who have lost all tail feathers, they may need to be separated from the others for longer. Try feeding them high-protein treats (plain yoghurt is very good for chickens, and grated cheese makes a tasty treat) and crushed egg shells to help feather growth. Scrambled eggs will be enjoyed by all too!
    Hope this helps and makes sense, feel free to ask any more questions :)
    • CommentAuthorAvoca Valley
    • CommentTimeMay 13th, 2011 12:01pm (May 13th 2011)
     
    Thanks so much for those detailed comments :) We bought some antiseptic spray which we were told was the same as the Gentian Violet......I guess I now know where the name comes from because ours is......BRIGHT RED!!!! Damn, I thought it might go brown....

    We're going to try and separate the injured ones tomorrow because there are two parts to their coop and see how they go. They don't seem to attack during the night so sleeping together shouldn't be an issue. I also put some extra tree branches through the fencing at different points to give them something to jump up to grab and that seemed to occupy them nicely, so over the weekend we will try and put some more things in there to stop them getting bored. We're also going to try your suggested dietary changes to help the healing process too - the silver one has started malting as well, so no doubt stress isn't helping them.

    I'll let you all know how we progress.:face-crying:
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 16th, 2011 7:06pm (May 16th 2011)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Sounds good - watch carefully with the birds that have the red spray on, the red colour might attract more pecking. Good luck mixing them, it's great that you've added extra things to stave off boredom. Let us know how it goes :bigsmile: