I realized I haven’t done a chicken post in a bit and since we’ve had some ups and downs in the backyard flock recently, I thought I would share and compare one of our major problems with all of you.
One of the biggest issues in recent months has been pecking. Pecking is when chickens start picking at one another’s feathers (usually due to stress) and can strip and kill a chicken.
The behavior started last spring after the coyote attacks. Not really surprising. I’d be kind of stressed myself.
There are a couple suggested ways to manage the behavior – one is a disinfecting spray that covers the red spots (the red spots are supposed to be what they’re all attracted to and encourage the pecking), it also has the lovely side effect of turning your chickens purple. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how many people asked what was up with the purple chickens. ‘Punk?’ Not so much. Kids thought it was ‘kind of cool’ though. The other method is a chicken saddle which is the camo cover on the Orpington above. Have you ever tried to saddle a chicken? Good luck with that. It definitely took two of us and she pretty much won in the end. It was like that old joke about how to give a cat a pill (and if you haven’t ever read that, it’s here).
My opinion of both methods is/was they didn’t work – at least for us. What finally did work was time and distractions. You can see in the photo above her feathers are finally starting to grow in as are the feathers of the other girls who were being picked on. I’ve been giving them extra protein treats to help and they’re looking a thousand times better. They’re also laying better which is great too.
So who else has had this experience? What did you do and did it work? I’d love to know. Seems like everyone goes through a bout of this!
Have a great weekend! Caroline