My Bullied light sussex :(

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Dsanders89
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Joined: 28 Jul 2013, 10:12

My Bullied light sussex :(

Post by Dsanders89 » 28 Jul 2013, 11:09

Good morning all,
I was hoping to get some advice regarding my first 3 chickens I got 5 weeks ago.

we have 1 french maran, Pepper (roughly 19-20 weeks old, not yet laying), 1 ginger hybrid, Paprika (roughly 30 weeks old, laying daily), and 1 light sussex, Penelope (roughly 19-20 weeks old, not yet laying). They were kept in an eglu go for the first 3 weeks and allowed to free range every evening for a couple of hours when i got home from work but by the end of the 3rd week we noticed Penelope being the victim of what looks to be quite casual pecking from the other 2 followed by eating of the feathers, after some research it seemed it could be a protein deficiency so we gave them a tin of tuna which did not help the situation at all. the following day when i got home from work i saw that Penelope was bleeding at the base of her large tail feathers which i instantly saw became the focus of the pecking. The same evening a took a trip to my future mother in laws to collect an old rabbit hutch and run for Penelope.
photo 1.JPG
photo 2.JPG
Now for the past two weeks she has been in her own coop and run within a few feet of the other 2 in the eglu, and let out at alternate times to avoid any pecking during the healing process, although most of Penelopes time out has been spent walking around the edge of the eglu! last night we let them all out together in the garden after putting Nettex anti peck spray on Penelope, there were a couple of initial fights and chases as expected, but then the pecking continued from both other birds, the spray stopped some pecking around the rear end, but this only moved the pecking further up the body.

any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Dan :)
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Henwife
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Re: My Bullied light sussex :(

Post by Henwife » 28 Jul 2013, 15:18

Re-home Penelope. The others are bullies where she's concerned and the only alternative is for her to live a solitary life. Third alternative is to get a small breed drake (they're silent) as a companion.
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Dsanders89
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Re: My Bullied light sussex :(

Post by Dsanders89 » 28 Jul 2013, 16:22

Thanks for the quick reply, but just the news I didn't want to hear. We don't really want to have to have two sets of birds living separately in the same garden as having a separate coop and run takes up a large portion of their free ranging area.

If any other options or advice is out there I would really like to hear it.

Thanks
Dan

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CP
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Re: My Bullied light sussex :(

Post by CP » 28 Jul 2013, 17:21

A bit difficult of both the others are pecking her, but if only 1 is the instigator, separate her for a week or so & see if Penelope is OK with the other one. Might upset the pecking order enough to stop the attacks. Another alternative is to put beak bits on the peckers for a while. ;)
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Dsanders89
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Re: My Bullied light sussex :(

Post by Dsanders89 » 07 Jan 2014, 15:03

Hello again everyone, I haven't been on the forum much recently but i'm afraid I'm back again seeking your advice. Since I first raised this issue mentioned in my original post my 3 chickens have been getting on well with the addition of perches and toys for them along with as much free ranging as possible as long as we're at home, but over the last month or two due to the shorter daylight hours they are not getting out as much as I, or they would like. This is not helped by the fact that they are all now fully grown and much bigger than when I first posted.

For the last few weeks they have been out all day everyday due to us being off from work for Christmas, but it has been this last week that Penelope (Light Sussex) has a very large, and sore looking bare patch on her rear due to pecking again. Paprika (our hybrid) seems to be the offender even though she has a bumpa bit fitted she can still grab hold of the feathers and do a bit damage.

I feel that due to spacing issues, and the pecking that we need to re-home one of the girls, we've almost certainly got a willing recipient in the form of the lady who runs my mother in laws livery yard, to my knowledge she has quite a few hens of different breeds who are allowed to free roam to their hearts content over a large area.

The question I would like help answering is which hen to re-home, Paprika the apparent lead offender, or Penelope the victim? I fear that if I re-home the offender, second in line Pepper may becomes top of the pecking order and begins bullying Penelope; and If I re-home the victim, Paprika, the offender may turn her pecking to the middle hen Pepper.

Any advice will be greatly received.
Regards
Dan

P.S will the adverse wind and weather over the last few weeks stressed them out and caused the pecking?

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son of eddy
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Re: My Bullied light sussex :(

Post by son of eddy » 07 Jan 2014, 23:47

If the victim is still showing red, ie any open wounds, spray it purple with a horse wound spray as any red showing will make them want to peck more. I'd agree with henwife I think it may be a good idea to rehome the victim, whilst she's the bottom of the pecking order now and will be when she enters a new flock she will find her own level in time.

I think the issue is overcrowding and boredom. The eglu pen is simply not big enough to accommodate that number of poultry, so reducing numbers will reduce stress. Whilst I appreciate they get let out when you are at home as you say in these short day time hours thats not enough.

When battery egg production was on the go, they had top de-beak the hens because they were so crowded they would have pecked each other to death. Its a stress reaction in the hens thats causing the behaviour. As you say when you improved conditions it improved behaviour, reducing numbers will probably have a positive impact on behaviours.

This is DEFRA's guide to minimum space for poultry -
http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/y5169e/y5169e05.htm

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kated
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Re: My Bullied light sussex :(

Post by kated » 08 Jan 2014, 16:43

Have you thought of this?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/12-Bumpa-Beak ... 1292852584

Although they look like torture, chickens very quickly get used to wearing them and they can be very effective. It's not guaranteed but I think it would be worth a try.

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son of eddy
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Re: My Bullied light sussex :(

Post by son of eddy » 08 Jan 2014, 17:26

The answer is not fitting external devices to stop the behaviour. The answer is stopping the cause of the behaviour in the first place, ie overcrowding and boredom.

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kated
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Re: My Bullied light sussex :(

Post by kated » 08 Jan 2014, 19:44

From experience, once it has started it is often impossible to stop it by merely improving living conditions, however desirable that may be. I know that some breeds do seem to be more prone to it than others.

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Re: My Bullied light sussex :(

Post by jillychick » 08 Jan 2014, 21:21

I think kated is right I had a bad experience with a bluebell which was behaving in exactly the same way when I started keeping hens. I tried everything advised but sadley it got worse. She was eventuality rehomed to a more experienced keeper than me who free ranged his flock on a large field. It got so bad she was culled in the end. Like all other species it's not unusual to get the odd rouge one that has bad behaviour issues. In my opinion I would remove the offender as soon as possible and see if things settle down, hope you get it sorted out, I know how stressful it feels good luck
1 very lovely Golden Retriever 2 Dutch Rabbits ( belonging to my grandson ) no snobs in my bunch of hens 2 Ambers. 1Black Tail 2 Copper marans. 4 White Leghorns 1 Gold Top constantly broody! Nugget the cockerel and his sister petal
Oh and a very lovely husband who puts up with my pets because he loves me very much.

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