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Can anyone who has had a very badly pecking chicken (I mean feather eating, drawing blood and really bullying, systematically running from one chicken to another every now and then and giving them a few vicious pecks) tell me if it's truly possible to rehabilitate them?


We've got our pecker in another Bumper Bit and it's calm for now, but I'm wondering if (a) we'll ever be able to break her of the habit and (b) whether I'll ever be able to trust her with the other hens.


I could use Ukadex as well as the bit (she's managed to get it off twice today so far!) but I'm reluctant to spend all this time and money being inventive about how to break the habit if it's all going to end in tears anyway. Would it be kindest to put her to sleep and give the others the chance to live without a bully? :(

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Just a thought.... do you use limestone flour by any chance? :think:


OH who works with poultry swears that pecking is caused by a calcium deficiency. We do/did have a persistant pecker who constantly pecked my oldest girls bum raw, but she only does this when she is laying (hence needing the calcium for her shells), when she is not laying she does not peck. We also add limestone flour to the feed now.


Just an idea. :wink:


You could also maybe rehome your pecker to a rural/farmyard flock where there are more hens to contend with which would probably put her down a peg or two!

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Thanks Chelsea, but she's 15 weeks, way to young for calcium supplementation.


We've only had them 3 days - the people at Wernlas are saying that the journey caused her to peck, but she's really got a taste for blood.


I'd be disinclined to rehome her in case she simply became someone else's problem.

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Thank you all very much for your replies - as you can tell, I was quite stressed by the whole thing!


I'm afraid it's very much systematic bullying rather than establishing a pecking order. Parsnip pecks the others regularly to establish her seniority, but Pumpkin was constantly chasing the others, breaking off feathers, swinging Pickle around by her tail until the feathers came out and broke off and then ate them!


She devoured tail feathers soaked in blood that were 5" long. It's a horrible habit she's developed. She would follow a pullet around the run, pecking at her vent and pulling feathers from her fluffy pants, neck and back, then eat them. The other three were obviously traumatised and spent most of their time trying to keep out of her way.


It only stopped when she was eating or drinking.


Anyway, there is a lesson in here somewhere - although we DID correctly fit the bumper bit in the right place, we realised last night that in using pliers we'd over-extended it and created a slightly larger gap where her nostrils should be. Thus she was able to wedge it and remove it herself.


Last night my boyfriend fitted a new one by hand, no pliers, and this time it has stayed on. She's still very desperately trying to remove it despite having slept in it - I can't believe these stories of those hens not bothered by the whole thing! - but it's still on.


So peace reigns at the moment. Thanks again for your replies, maybe I can stop stressing out now! :roll:

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Sorry to hear that Little Chickadee.


It's settling down a bit now, thanks for asking. We've got Bumper Bits on both Pumpkin and Parsnip now - Parsnip started pulling tail feathers out and chasing the others to peck at the red wounds she left, so she got one too!


Funnily enough, with Parsnip this created a change in her, she's being far less dominant and far more submissive. She hangs back when food is available and doesn't push herself forward.


Pumpkin however is her usual feisty self and still regularly tries to peck the others. She just does less harm at the moment than she would do if she wasn't wearing the bit.


It's great that peace has sort of broken out, but I am a bit concerned that the Bumper Bit will degrade and come off when we're not around (they have a limited lifespan from what I can make out) and she'll just go back to inflicting damage again.


I realise how lucky I was with my first two - they were so sweet natured in comparison to these little cannibals! :wall:

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I have read lot's of stories about hens stopping the behaviour after wearing a bumper bit for a while but never in any of my cases sadly :(


I had to have two hens collected by Omlet after they attacked Rose so bad that she had terrible injuries. They wore bumper bits but I had to alternate with anti peck rings sometimes as the bumper bits ended up almost ineffective after a while.


Anyway, one of the hens would always go for the vent area and the other preferred the base of the tail. They were relentless and just wouldn't quit.


One evening I came home to find blood splattered all over the Eglu, all around the run and large drops on the run floor. :cry:


Poor Rose had been really badly attacked. The two girls (1 had a bumper bit and one had an anti peck ring) had blood all over their beaks!!!


So, to cut a long story short, Omlet exchanged the two pepperpots for two more gingernut rangers. After a few months they both had to have bumper bits fitted and a few months after that Rose had to wear one too.


I now have three hens wearing bumper bits. None of the hens have any fluffy bum feathers, two have bald legs and one has a large bald area near her tail so bad that her preening gland is on show and the other two try to peck that.


Rose is now purple as one of them drew blood on her leg by pulling at new feather quills.(Even though they wear bumper bits) :(


They look like battery hens yet they just will not stop. :wall:


They also have a walk in run, greens hanging up almost every day, limestone flour, oyster shell grit, perches to jump on, seed blocks, and anything else I can think of.


No sprays seem to stop them neither.

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Jay, I'm really sorry to hear that.


Some chickens just seem to be quite vicious, and it's not something I'd experienced before.


today it's still not settling because now little Pickle has been having a go at Pepper and drawing blood. That's three of them I've actually seen causing injury out of the four. What can you say? :(


We are in the process of building a walk in run which is fairly sizeable and I'm hoping that at the least it will enable them to keep out of each other's way if necessary.


As to whether it will ever calm down, or whether every time one of them loses a bit she'll cause harm and have to have it refitted I really don't know.


Sorry to hear about your Rose though, it's quite hard to see isn't it? Think I'll have to send off for more bumper bits though!

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Yep-I'd stock up on the bumper bits.


I just hate the fact that even whilst wearing them they are still drawing blood at times.

I'm pretty chilled about it all now though really. Guess it's because altogether I've had 5 hens and all 5 have now turned nasty to eachother. Maybe that's just the effect I have on them :?


We only got a walk in run built as we thought that maybe they needed more space but it made no difference at all.


I also try to give them free ranging time every day but I won't leave them in the garden without someone being with them so as soon as they are back in the run they start again. :roll:


They also still pull feathers when free ranging sometimes anyway so I suppose even if they were out of the run all day every day they would still make sure they found the time to attempt to massacre eachother!! lol :lol:


Worse than the kids they are :wink:

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Guess it's because altogether I've had 5 hens and all 5 have now turned nasty to eachother. Maybe that's just the effect I have on them :?



I was thinking exactly the same thing earlier, that it must be my influence or something, making them evil! I don't know why, because my first two were angels in comparison! I'm pretty sure it's not you, just down to bad luck!


It's not really settling down at all.


Pickle has blood all over her face today and poor Pepper has blood dripping from her. I've separated out Pickle, but there's no-one available today to help me fit the last bumper bit I possess right now.


I've just put some Rescue Remedy in their water in desperation!


Pepper is so wary now that I can't catch her yet - I'm waiting for her to go for a siesta in the cube when I can trap her, and check her over.


I actually feel a bit like I don't want any of them right now, it's only been a week and we've had a new drama every day so far! Do you use any anti-peck sprays Jay? I'm wondering if it would help to kill this habit - it seems to be escalating at the moment!


I too have put all sorts of fun stuff in their run, but no, they'd rather try and kill each other! :roll::lol:

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Haven't tried that Ukadex one yet but have tried various other anti pecking sprays yet it has no effect whatsoever. (Bitter beak, anti pek spray, tea tree oil)


Since spraying Roses bad bits purple-they seem to be going for her more. Really like the purple feathers it seems. :roll:


Looks like we'll have to try the Ukadex then doesn't it?


How do they preen themselves if covered in it though?

With the other sprays I think they get used to them because they still want to preen-therefore get used to the bitter taste. Would that not happen with Ukadex??



I have also read that Ukadex doesn't always work :?

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I've just phoned Sue at Wernlas and she recommends the Stockholm Tar spray. I enquired about them preening and she said it's not a problem for them - it tastes horrible etc but is non-toxic to them.


So I'm erring towards that I think. Esp as the Ukadex seems to be sooooo pongy! :lol:


Oh well, onto the next thing! :wink:

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