Hens pecking other hens insides out - HELP

Discussion in 'Behavior & Flock Management' started by kkracus, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. kkracus

    kkracus New Member

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    I'm not sure what to do about this and have lost 3 chickens in the last week. I went into the coop yesterday and one of my chickens had something in her mouth that looked like meat and other chickens were following her to get it. Come to find out there was a hen in the corner and her insides were coming out and I immediately took her out. I don't know what to do I have Black Australorps, they started laying in September and we just got their chicken run built. Are they missing something in their diet? I give them oyster shells and Layena. I also give them scratch.
     
  2. Bird_slave

    Bird_slave Junior Member

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    Welcome to the forum. Chickens are cannibals, plain and simple. You say her insides were coming out? I assume you mean out of her vent (hindend)? She likely had a prolapse, the others saw it and begin pecking.

    Room is probably what they need more than anything. If they can get outside in a run now, I would suggest that you keep light subdued in their coop. You might try upping their protein too. Layena is 16% protein. See if you can find a higher protein feed to mix in with it or to replace their scratch with. Scratch is typically mainly corn and relatively low in protein. High protein treats are a good substitute - cheese, plain yogurt, scrambled and/or chopped hard boiled eggs. They also sell commercially made "flock blocks" that give bored chickens something to peck at. I prefer to make my own and can post a recipe for one if you'd like. Some folks hang heads of cabbage to give bored chickens something harmless to peck at.

    Really severe cases of pecking chickens can be dealt with by taking more serious measures - pinless peepers (effective, but I hate them) and pecking ointments to give the aggressive peckers a taste of their own medicine, so to speak. I know some folks swear by blu-kote or peck-no-more; but I've found them useless. Pine tar, a remedy commonly sold to heal horse hooves works wonders. If you notice any pecking injuries you can apply a small amount of the pine tar. It's stinky, messy to deal with, but I promise you I've yet to see a chicken that wants more than one taste of it.

    See if you can identify your worst offender and work from there.

    This latest hen to be pecked. Has she survived?
     

  3. kkracus

    kkracus New Member

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    Thanks for your quick response. This is the first time the chickens have been outside and only a few have ventured outside the coop. Would love the recipe for the flock block.
    The chickens peck at me also, the beeks are long and I thought maybe that was the problem. I picked this type of chicken because I have heard so many good things about them. I have other chickens at my father n laws house because we moved and didn't have a coop and I have never had this problem before.
    I would like to find some pine tar to use. Will the flock block give them more protein?
    The latest hen did die, it was so sad.
     
  4. Bird_slave

    Bird_slave Junior Member

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    Sorry the hen died. How sad.

    Here's the recipe for a homemade flock block. You can experiment with using different things to bind it with - like stale bread crumbs - if it doesn't come out hard enough. To make it high protein, add extra black oil sunflower seeds (sold in bags for wild birds). Chickens love BOSS and it is high protein. The flock block will also help them trim their beaks naturally.

    3 cups finely ground corn (sold here as scratch or "chops")
    1 1/2 cup wild bird seed or a combination of BOSS and bird seed
    1 cup of oatmeal

    Enough water to moisten the mixture, but not make it soupy
    Packed firmly into a greased shallow baking dish
    Baked at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours until the edges were brown

    Pine tar you can find in the equine (horse) section of most feedstores. It's normally sold in a can that looks like a small paint can. Remember...it's messy and gooey. I've tried several different things as applicators before giving up and just using a finger. Don't worry if it says something on the label about "not for internal consumption". They don't ingest enough of it to hurt them; they hate the taste.

    Hope this helps. Good luck to you.
     
  5. Bird_slave

    Bird_slave Junior Member

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    I forgot to mention that pine tar has anti-microbial properties, so it helps with healing the wounds.
     
  6. kkracus

    kkracus New Member

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    Thank you so much for all your help.
    Kathy
     
  7. toybarons

    toybarons I luv Polish & Houdans

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    Just want to add the following to Bird_slave's advice. If you ever have it happen again where you find a hen with a prolapse, remove her immediately from the flock. I have dealt with prolapse within my own flock. I find the best way to treat the affected hen is simply to remove her and put her by herself. Usually, a prolapse can repair itself if the hen is given time to heal.

    Sorry for your loss.
     
  8. Bird_slave

    Bird_slave Junior Member

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    I agree. You do want to remove any birds with pink or (blood) red wounds showing to avoid setting off cannibalism, for their own safety.

    I recently dealt with a prolapse. We were going out of town for a few weeks on an emergency and I tried fixing it before we left, with no luck. I started to cull her, not wanting her to suffer; but my caretaker was willing to keep an eye on her. Left alone and her prolapse healed itself.
     
  9. kkracus

    kkracus New Member

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    Thank you for your advise. My husband thinks they need wormed and deliced. I went to the local feed store and picked it up, we have automatic waterers for the chickens and will put the wormer in a waterer and shut off the water till they drink everything. He was going to take care of them this morning. I hope this helps but I will also take the advice from these posts.
     
  10. mollycat79

    mollycat79 New Member

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    Thankyou for posting info on pine tar and the pecking block!!
     
  11. wyldflwr

    wyldflwr New Member

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    Thanks for the info!
     
  12. ReTIRED

    ReTIRED New Member

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    sorry...misread the info.
     
  13. puppidoodle

    puppidoodle New Member

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    I hang a red cabbage in the coop. They play "cabbage ball" for hours, and seems to fill some pecking need.