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Bullying

No One Likes a Bully

Bullying can be a problem when new hens are introduced to the flock but it can also arise for no apparent reason. You can get sprays to use on the bullied bird which make her feathers taste unpleasant to the other birds and this is often enough to deter pecking. If the skin is red, sore or broken, separate the injured hen straight away and you can use Veterinary Wound Powder on her to help stem any bleeding and promote healing. Hens are morbidly attracted to the colour red and will peck at wounds until they are in a dreadful state if nothing is done so Gentian or Purple Spray is very effective as it stains the skin purple and this makes it a much less obvious target for the bully. Stockholm Tar is also very effective as it acts rather like a plaster covering the wound and allowing it to heal underneath. It also tastes very unpleasant which should stop the other hens from pecking at the injured area. We have found that some of the anti-pecking sprays cause the feathers to clump together and this can make them more of a target for a bully so a puff of Veterinary Wound Powder or even household cornflour in an emergency disguises the sore area effectively and helps stop bleeding. All these products are usually available from the Omlet shop, animal feed merchants in the equestrian section, and large petshops. If a hen develops a wound of any kind, remove them and allow it to heal for a few days before reintroducing them to prevent the wound being pecked.


Separating the bully from the rest of the flock can help. If you removed her for a week then re-introduced her, she may find that she's lost her dominant place in the pecking order and this can be enough for her to forget her bullying ways.


If these suggestions don't help, you can get things called Bumper Bits from the Wernlas Collection. Their contact details are as follows:


01584 856318.


The Wernlas Collection,


Onibury,


Near Ludlow,


Shropshire,


SY7 9BL.


Bumper bits are little clips that you fit onto the beak of the offending chicken which prevent the beak tips coming together properly and therefore stop feather pulling and pecking of the skin of the other bird. They do not prevent the hen from eating or drinking or doing any of the usual things and usually within a week of putting one on, the pecking habit is forgotten and harmony reigns so the little clips can be removed again.


When there is a lot of feather pulling, it’s worth checking to make sure that it’s not being caused by the irritation skin parasites cause.

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