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Mrs Frugal

Bumper Bits

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Bumper Bits/Beak Clips/Beak Rings are used by some poultry keepers to prevent feather and skin pulling when they have a problem with bullying and by others to prevent egg eating.

 

Link to pictures of a bumpa bit and Gallina's hen wearing one

 

We got them from the Wernlas Collection.

 

She says it's a two person job to fit them - it really is. You have to pull the jaws of the bit apart to fit it over the beak, and I found that to be a two handed job - so the Managing Director once more had to do restraint duty on the chook's head.

 

The cross piece of the A goes into the mouth like a horse bit, so it seems easiest to bring the prongs in above the beak. The points of the A fit into the chook's nostrils. It looks uncomfortable but apart from a few sneezes to start with (and looking very disgruntled they seem to have been happy enough since.

 

So far they haven't suffocated, and they seem able to eat OK. I'll update this with progress.

 

I was surprised how tight it was, Gerris not one bit pleased having it on but we have told her if she stops pecking pip then it can come off. She has had a go at pips bottom but walked away in disgust when she could'nt get a feather :lol:

 

Here is my contribution to the bumper-bit top tips....

 

Betsy GNR had been pecking Gloria PP , and things seemed to deteriorate VERY quickly. We tried bringing Gloria indoors at night, and dousing her with a tea tree oil each morning and night, but it didn't bother Betsy one bit. I don't think things were helped by the fact that we've got no way of separating them during the day and for 3 days each week they are shut in the eglu and run as all of us are at work/school.

 

So I called the Wernlas Collection as recommended here and ordered the bumper bits. Could not believe I was expected to fit that very tight bit of plastic onto a grumpy, pecking hen's beak :shock::shock:

 

We decided to do it in the evening when Betsy would be more sleepy. I told OH he had to hold Betsy still and then I took a deep breath and tried to get the bit on. It was not easy! I could get the cross bar into her mouth, but getting the prongs into her nostril was awful! :cry: It looked like it was going to be painful, even though everyone said it wasn't and I was really nervous about doing it wrong & hurting her :?

 

It took us about 20 minutes of (gentle) trying, but then suddenly managed to get it in. Betsy GNR was really fed up with us by this stage, gave us a filthy look and refused to eat any of the treats I offered her. So I put her back in the eglu and then went inside for a large glass of red wine, convinced I had somehow managed to kill her. The only thing that kept me going was the sight of poor old Gloria PP who has hardly any feathers left and a big scab on her thigh.

 

This morning when I went to let them out Betsy was very unhappy and kept trying to 'wipe' the bit off. She didn't seem to know how to peck from the floor, but could at least eat and drink form the glug & grub. I had to go out to take DS to school, but really wasn't happy with how Betsy was.

 

Then when I got back 45 minutes later, she seemed absolutely fine! :D She was pootling around the run, scratching happily away and eating and drinking well. She seemed to have totally forgotten she had the bit in.

 

And the best bit - absolutely NO pecking of Gloria :lol::lol::lol: Horrah, Hoorah!! They've had a great day, are best of friends again, and I think Gloria will be fine in a few weeks when her feathers grow back. Although Betsy drew blood, Gloria's not limping and she's still laying each day.

 

Cannot tell you how relieved I am. I'm really glad we've got the bit, and I'd do it again (& with more confidence second time around!) if I had to.

 

Where to get them from?

 

I spoke to the lovely people at the Domestic Fowl Trust yesterday about the Bumper Bits - and they confirmed that they are happy to post any quantity of bits and also leg rings.

 

There does not need to be a minimum order for either and they will take a Credit Card payment for any amount - even a very small amount. They are so helpful and for leg rings, if you tell tham the sort of hen you have, they will help you with sizing.

 

I'm lucky as it is only a 15 minute trip for me but it is nice to know they will help over the phone as well.

 

You can get bumper bits from Sue Hammon at The Wernlas Collection.

 

The phone number is 01584 856318.

 

The Wernlas Collection

Green Lane

Onibury

Craven Arms

Shropshire

SY7 9BL

 

She asks you to put a stamped addressed envelope in with your request plus an extra second class stamp to cover the 10p price of the bumper bit as a cheque or postal order for 10p isn't worth cashing.

 

How long are they effective for?

 

Bumper bits usually work quite well until they fall off but i have noticed that since my girls have been wearing theirs their beaks have grown and some of them still try and do get a featherful

 

The lady at the Wernlas Collection told me that bumper bits come in sizes of small, medium & large so you could call her, explain your situation and ask which ones would be the best for your girls.

 

we needed to change our Ruby's bumper bits about every four weeks as the madam wore groves into hers that allowed her to get hold of her own feathers and pull them out.

 

One of my hens has had a bumper bit on for some months now, but they can stay on for years before they snap through constant wear. (If a bit got caught on anything I imagine that it would be pulled out, in which case it would not last for so long. But at 10p each it wouldn't be a tragedy! )

 

I think that bumper bits are probably better than anti-pecking rings, which are really only intended for very young birds.

 

Do they stop the hens from eating, drinking, foraging or preening?

 

I can't see any problems with bumper bits: the hens eat and preen themselves as before, and soon forget that they are wearing them. They stop the hen pulling feathers.

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