Anecdotes / Chicken Health / Chickens

Chicken Pecked

The kids are growing up.  The little Ameraucanas are now a full 10 weeks old; still smaller than the other birds were at their age but feisty, and one Silver boy actually began crowing at about seven weeks old!  He sounds about as good as the two Welsummer roos.  The Easter chicks are 15 weeks old, and in three to five weeks (I hope!), I’ll be expecting some little pullet eggs from my Speckled Sussex pullet, Henny, and the Welsummer pullet, now named Rosie.  The three Easter Egger hens, Lady the black and white pullet and the two unnamed hawkish ones, will probably not start laying until they are 26-28 weeks old.

Big and small, living with a fence between

Well, the little ones are curious, especially the smallest pullet with the green legs, Willow.  She has flown over the 7’ fence between the pens on a few occasions, always when I am there: I think my presence emboldens them.  When this happens, I rush over and scoop her up to put back in her own pen.

Willow

It seems, however, that she was feeling a bit bold yesterday while I was studying for my statistics final (I’m in a five-week summer statistics course – a lot of work), and flew over into their pen.  This was not good.  Even though she’s been across the fence from them for months and they have free-ranged together on occasion, she was an intruder, and they pecked the heck out of her.

When I went out at about 8:30 pm yesterday to close the pop doors and do a head count, she was over in the big kids’ pen, pacing back and forth along the fence line to her run, peeping like mad.  I picked her up and began to carry her over, and I noticed that her comb was really red.  When we got to her coop and I saw her next to the others, I realize that it was really, really red, almost bloody, and did a closer inspection.  Her little comb and tiny wattles had been pecked, and they had pulled out all the feathers from a patch on the back of her poor little head.

So, she spent the night inside.  I checked her over and tried to clean her wounds with hydrogen peroxide, which freaked her out.  Perhaps the smell was too strong.  I gave that up and just applied Neosporin to all of her wounds and settled her in a little crate with some water.  I tried to feed her, but she just wanted to sleep.

That night, too tired to eat

This morning she looked much better.  Most of the redness was gone from her wounds, and she was up and about when I poked my head into the bathroom.  I fixed her up a bowl of the finest fare: warm 10-grain hot cereal mixed with sunflower seed butter and mashed hard-boiled egg.  She ate happily and drank extensively.  I checked her over and thought she looked pretty good.

I wished that I had Blu-Kote,  a blue-tinted antiseptic made to be sprayed upon animal wounds.  The cool color discourages the others from pecking wounds, but alas, I had not followed through on my plans to get together a little chicken first aid kit.  (I surely will now.)  I had read that you can put some water with blue food coloring on their wounds, but the oil from the Neosporin made it just bead up.

Her wounds weren’t that red, so I figured I’d see how she did.  I took her up to her coop when I went up to let them out for the day, and they treated her just fine.  Her comb was by then less red than the boys’, so it did not draw much attention, and the bare patch on her head just looks like her yellowish skin.

I’m glad she’s doing better, and next time, I will be better prepared.

Willow, center, back with her buddies (note the bare patch on her little head)

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3 thoughts on “Chicken Pecked

  1. Pingback: Basques at 7 Weeks Old « Scratch Cradle

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