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hen pecking problem Options
CountryKitty
#1 Posted : Monday, May 07, 2007 12:53:02 PM
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Your DH hit it on the head. Roosters grab a beakful of feathers on the back of the hens neck to help balance and stand on her back while breeding. The feathers pull out or get broken a few at a time. Nothing sadistic about it, just the way they do things.

I have 11 hens and one rooster and still have this problem to a certain extent. The 2 smaller hens seem to get the worst of it; I'm going to keep 3 or 4 hens out of this years hatchings to flesh out the flock a bit. Hopefully with more hens the roo won't pick on any one bird in particular.

cwatson
#2 Posted : Tuesday, May 08, 2007 4:09:42 AM
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I have the opposite problem.  I noticed my bantam Roo has a huge bald spot in his poof.  I haven't notice any of my hens being excessivly agressive but they must be doing it behind closed doors.  I have 9 hens and 1 rooster (who we just recently found out he was a rooster).
Frosty
#3 Posted : Thursday, May 10, 2007 9:28:27 AM
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A lot of my hens have bald backs from the roos... If it bothers you, you can always research poultry saddles on line and make little canvas saddles to protect their backs.  This is more important for turkeys, it isn't uncommon for a tom turkey to rip the hen open during breeding.  With chickens, it's not as bad. 

 

cwatson, if you recently found out that you have a roo, I assume they are still pretty young?  Your roo is probably at the bottom of the pecking order, for now at least.  Just make sure that it's just feathers missing.  If the hens start drawing blood, spray it with blu-kote or something so they don't keep picking and kill him. 

 

 

cwatson
#4 Posted : Friday, May 11, 2007 3:26:10 AM
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Yeah they are still pretty young, born Feb. 28th.  I did notice some blood the other day but no blood today.  What is blu kote?  I guess I can check with my feed & seed store.  He already has a pretty big attitude that is why it surprised me when he was being pecked.
Frosty
#5 Posted : Friday, May 11, 2007 3:34:59 PM
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Blu Kote is a livestock spray.  If you ever have to use it, wear old clothes and maybe plastic or latex gloves (unless you don't mind having purple fingers for a while...)  It does stain.  It protects wounds and protects picked on chickens by hiding the red.  Often, when a chicken starts bleeding, the others go after it and kill it (and partially eat it).  Sounds like the roo plans to be at the top, and the top hen(s) in the pecking order are still challenging him.  It'll work out... eventually.     
cwatson
#6 Posted : Friday, May 11, 2007 11:20:42 PM
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Thanks Frosty.  I will give that a try.  I don't know what I would do without all the help I get on this forum. :)
farmgirl25
#7 Posted : Saturday, May 12, 2007 4:36:30 PM
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Since I have had chickens I have had a few hens with bald spots on there back I have 21 hens and 2 roos I think those are the favorite hens I wouldn't fret about it unless they start bleeding.
lgmadonna
#8 Posted : Tuesday, May 22, 2007 3:59:42 AM
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Thnks for your replys. The problem seems to have gone away. Maybe it was an over abundance of roos. 
Kim----Bringing my family home to mother one experience at a time........
seekswondernwisdom
#9 Posted : Wednesday, May 23, 2007 12:32:49 AM
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Going back into history (over 50 years back) when we had chickens picking on each other we'd give them some fresh grass clippings or greens.  If it worked then it should work now and shouldn't be a costly  fix.

Best of luck

Seeks
cwatson
#10 Posted : Monday, June 04, 2007 12:06:52 AM
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Our local feed and seed didn't have Blu Kote so I asked for their recommendation and they said to use pine tar on his head.  We captured the little booger and smeared it on.  I told my husband if nothing else they would leave him alone becauase he smells so bad.  It worked.  H e is now growing new feathers and seems to have taken his place again as big bad rooster.  Thanks for all the help and advise.
mother-love-bear
#11 Posted : Thursday, July 12, 2007 7:15:48 AM
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there are also studies of tea tree (malaleuca) oil applied if you notice bleeding. the other chickens cant smell the blood and will leave them alone. the teatree oil is also an anti-viral and anti-septic, so the healing takes place sooner. you have to apply it twice a day with a cotton ball. kinda monotonous. I have a small flock of laying hens in town. no roos. the larger hens will pick on the smaller ones. they establish a pecking order like wild dogs. i've seen the dominate female hen mount the subordinate hens (more than once). and the larger 3 will actually grab a beak full of feathers and shake (like a dog) to rip feathers out. i swear i've heard them almost crow! theres not much you can do it's nature. the tea tree helps though!
lgmadonna
#12 Posted : Thursday, July 12, 2007 7:15:48 AM
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Posts: 134,494

Background info: 7 bantem hens, 3 top hat hens; HAD 7 roos till Friday now have 2 roos.

My bantems were getting pecked awfully bad. The frizzel looks down right scary ugly!  I seperated all of the hens from the roos. Put hte girls in a hoop coop right next to the condo coop. The girls wore a path along the side of the hoop coop that  sat closest to the the condo coop through the lush clover in a matter of hours. Any way, after a week it didnt seem that the girls began to regrow feathers. So I put the top hat hens back in the pen with the roos. Now, one week later it seems that the bantem hens are regrowing feathers and it looks as if the top hat hens are beginning to loose feathers on the middle of their backs and the back of their heads. THe same places all of the bantems are bald. 

My dh says its the roos doing it when they service the hens. Is this so?  If it is, now that we are donw to 2 roos will the problem become less noticeable? Or is it just a sadistic rooster in our group? Or is it a hen?


Kim----Bringing my family home to mother one experience at a time........
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