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dislaney

Feather damage from bullying

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Hi all - apologies to those of you who have just been through the abscess on the beak saga with me! Another bullying related problem below ...

 

My Warren Karen is bottom of the pecking order in a mixed group of 6 hybrids. She is pecked and bullied by all, rather than any one individual hen. Despite this, she is a lively and relentless bird, making sure she gets plenty of everything that's going, and doesn't back off easily despite the pecking - perhaps one of the reasons why she's a target? She is a good weight, very bright in herself, and is the best layer of enormous pale brown eggs.

 

Anyway, a little while ago I noticed that she had a bit of a bald patch appearing on her right wing, and after inspection found some crawlies that I now know to be lice. Several treatments later, the crawlies have gone but the bald patch on her wing is now about 3 inches in length. The vet told me to purple spray the patch to keep the others off it (done!), put her on Feathersure (done!) and rub Fuciderm cream into the area to encourage the feathers to grow back (done!).

 

I thought at first that Karen was removing her own feathers because of irritation from the lice, but having observed what's going on and see the broken feathers on the back of her neck as well, it's pretty obvious that the cause is the other girls. New feathers start to appear and then the next day they're gone, with the skin look a bit pink and sore.

 

Is separation the only answer now, to give her feathers chance to be restored? I've tried anti-pek spray but none of them seem to realise what it's for :doh: ...

 

All advice very gratefully received, as always. Thanks in advance.

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Sorry to hear this :( , have you tried a chicken saddle if the bald patches are on her back? It may be when the feathers are starting to re-grow that they look like little dots and the other hens get curious thinking its a bug or something. You could put the saddle on her until the new feathers have had a chance to grow, then remove it and see how she gets on. Bumper bits for the other hens may be another option, they still allow hens to feed a drink, they just don't let the hens pluck the feathers out. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than me will come along soon, but for now I hope this helps, and good luck! :)

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I'm no expert (and currently dealing with one girl with a bald neck which is driving me to distraction) but one thing I'm pretty sure of is that if you remove her from the others she will either have to stay in isolation or be re-introduced at some point, probably to the same problem or even worse.

You say she's generally well which is good news.

Have you thought about a different anti-pecking spray? In my experience Johnsons is useless, Nettex is better and a good splodge of (Vicks or similar) vapour rub is certainly worth a try. I'm only shy-ing off this for Fried because with the raw area being on the front of her neck, I'm worried about vapours near her eyes.

Have you tried bumper bits? Made a HUGE difference to our bully and if you soak one in hot water before you put it in (and get somebody to held the naughty girl), they're in in seconds and out equally quickly when the problem has been solved.

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Thanks folks! Following your advice - and after reading other feather pecking threads on this forum - I've ordered absolutely everything: anti-peck sprays, flowers of sulphur etc. Nothing has arrived yet, but meanwhile in desperation I found a pot of Exmarid for dogs that seemed to have many of the ingredients of the other items, particularly sulphur, and it smells like tar, so have smeared that on Karen as an interim measure. Happy to say after 2 days of Exmarid, the feathers are starting to poke through unmolested, and it's very noticeable that the other birds are giving her wing a wide berth. :D

 

On the not so good side, they're still pecking the back of her neck as more feathers have disappeared, so as soon as the product medley arrives in the post on Monday, will try the different anti-peck sprays and see if that does the trick.

 

Will keep you posted - thanks again!

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Great to hear and I'm glad her feathers are starting to grow back! :D ...keep persevering and I'm sure she'll turn into a lovely looking bird! :)

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