Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hen Pecked

We have a pecking problem up here on Poplar Ridge.  You may recall that several months ago, we discovered two hens with severe wounds that were without a doubt spur wounds from the rooster, Miney.  Miney no longer lives here.

However, while I was hoping that the bare backs and necks of the hens would gradually improve once Miney wasn't around, it didn't happen.  In fact, it seems to have gotten worse.  Both JP and I have witnessed the hens pecking each other while roosting in the Chicken Barge.  Why?  Who knows what sorts of thoughts race through the brains of birds?!

I've done my research.  I've tried ambushing the hens at night and spraying them with Vetericyn, which seemed to work wonders in healing up the terrible wounds on the two aforementioned hens, as well as the pullet cockerel.  Didn't help.  I read that dusting the hens with baby powder will keep them from pecking each other as they cannot distinguish each other by scent.  I ambushed the hens at night with baby powder.  All that seemed to do was stir up clouds of baby powder and extreme squawking and ruckus each night.  Someone suggested rubbing bag balm on their backs, as they dislike the smell and will no longer peck.  Rubbing bag balm on the backs of hens is easier said than done.  I dislike the smell of bag balm too.

I read that chickens LOVE the color red and will peck unmercifully at anything red.  I have to question this, as none of the hens has gouged anyone else's red eyes out yet.  We decided, however, that the only thing to do at this point, is cover their naked and tender red skin.  Luckily, there are such things as "Chicken Aprons" that do just that.

I decided to personalize my Chicken Aprons before putting them on the hens.  I wrote in black sharpie, things like "Cool Chick", and "Bird Brain."  I could only manage getting 6 hens into aprons last night, and gave them a good smear of bag balm too, while I was at it.

Let's hope that our flock will someday stop looking like a refuge for old and battered hens.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How did you make out with the feather problem. We are having the same issue. Our hens are laying a lot of eggs but look horrible