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#72595 - 01/11/09 08:50 PM chicken pecking/cannabalism
Indians Quip Offline
New Egg

Registered: 01/08/09
Posts: 3
Loc: Missouri
For the past few days we have also been dealing with our first case of chicken pecking/cannabalism. We scoured the boards for info to help us and found many helpfull hints and suggestions from removing the injured chicken to the application of pine tar to stop the pecking. We have done both, removal and the pine tar which i might add is a sticky mess" (WEAR GLOVES). At any rate in our online quest to end the savagery we came across a post from a man out in california who had a website posted that sold two very interesting items. First item: chicken bits. Yes thats right I said chicken bits. They are tiny c shaped pieces of metal or plastic that keep the chicken from closing their mouth all the way but still allow them to eat and drink. Second: chicken blinders...some might refer to them more as tiny shades or spectacles but chicken blinders none the less. When i first read this it was shown to me by my mother who had been searching the world wide web in hopes of stopping the madness that had taken over the hen house. She was even to the point that she had asked me if we should install a baby monitor out there so we could hear what was going on and I suppose her idea was we would hear the ruckus and run out and stop it at what ever god for saken hour it was taking place, but then she had this website all fired up and ready for me to look at. Chicken bits and blinders. I honestly thought she had let her blood sugar get out of hand but after looking at it saw she was serious and these two items were Real. They sell them in packages and they arent too expensive. Havent used them yet as we ordered them today and will post back our results. if you would like to know where i found them you can go to there is a little link to the upper left called bits and blinders. heres to cannabalism free hen yards and houses.

#72596 - 01/11/09 09:41 PM Re: chicken pecking/cannabalism
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1283
Loc: Canada
This is going to sound negative and unsupportive. And in your case these bits and goggles might do the trick, but so might taking all your chickens in for frontal lobotomys.

There just seems to be all sorts of shortcuts around a few basic facts. Chickens are chickens. They act and think as chickens. They have no sense of loving kindness to their fellow chickens. They do not agree with our idea of fair play. So it becomes management, and not gadgetry, that is required of the poultry keeper.

There is also the understanding that not all pecking is feather picking and that feather picking can become cannibalism, but there are lines that separate these behaviours. On the roost at night, Boss Hen always gives Lower Hen a shot to the head if Lower Hen does not act in an appropriate, subordinate way. In my hen house there is the nightly shots and jabs until everyone has settled in their appropriate place. The Walton's it ain't! frown But this is NOT feather picking, this is NOT cannibalism, this is chickens.

Even when their true nature does get out of hand, true feather picking to the point of baldness and cannibalism to the point of finding dead hens, then I have to step in with heavy handed measures. In my case I unfortunately had to cull ALL my Leghorn mix brown layers. They were atrocious amongst my more easy going breeds. I have not had that problem since.

I feel like I'm being really mean and if these are your beloved pets then I realize you wanting to do everything BUT the necessary steps. However, there is a massive difference between how your pet chicken feels about you and how your dog feels about you and while your dog may be able to modify its behaviour to please you, your chicken could not care less about pleasing you. And it almost strikes me as cruel to apply means of physical modification on a creature of limited intellect.

Sorry to offend all those whose chickens are currently in first year university. And I do not say this heart heartedly, I have been accused of being a chicken kisser. I guess the poultry equivalent of a tree hugger. confused I just think resorting to gadgetry to solve the true nature of a chicken is skirting the issue.

You need to be certain that what is going on in your hen house is problematic. Not just hen pecking, but savage pecking. You need to be aware that a weak or sick bird is a target and the others are just doing what nature designed them to do. Removing one bird from your flock might change the dynamic enough to stop the picking. Keeping them in total darkness at night might reduce picking. There are tried and sometimes proven management methods for you to attempt. But I think spending money on gadgets is a poor use of money and was designed by someone with their bank account in mind rather than helping you become a better poultry manager.

Ask a person who keeps thousand of birds if he'll be putting little sunglasses on them and bits in their mouths to keep them from picking. But then again, I might be wrong. Maybe people will post photos of their birds all decked out, looking bewildered and wondering how the heck to get these uncomfortable contraptions off their heads. cool

Do not be discouraged by this post. Be sure that the problem is as severe as you suspect but be aware that gadgets do not replace hard management choices. (I'm really not as hard nosed as I sound)


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