Bird Veterinary

Have Bird Questions? Ask a Bird Specialist.

Ask a Veterinarian,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Due to my chickens being confined from free ranging this…

Customer Question
Due to my chickens being...
Due to my chickens being confined from free ranging this winter I have a chicken pecking problem. 4 out of 8 chickens are missing almost all tail feathers and the areas are red. How do I treat and stop problem.
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Bird Veterinary
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Bird Veterinary Question
Answered in 51 minutes by:
2/20/2016
Bird Veterinarian: Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian replied 2 years ago
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23,440
Experience: As a veterinary surgeon, I have spent a lot of time with bird cases and I'm happy to help you.
Verified

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee ones today.

Are they being allowed to free range now or are they still indoors?

Do any of the affected birds showing breaks in the skin or sores?

Ask Your Own Bird Veterinary Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
I am free ranging them when possible. They seem mostly very red with a lot of tail feather loss
Bird Veterinarian: Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian replied 2 years ago

Thank you,

I have received your reply + will not start typing out my full answer and post shortly (just wanted to make sure you didn't think I popped away).

Speak to you again shortly,

Dr. B.

Ask Your Own Bird Veterinary Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Thank you
Bird Veterinarian: Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian replied 2 years ago

Thank you,

First, as I am sure can appreciate, there are a range of issues that can motivate birds to feather peck one another. This can include behavioural issues, overcrowding (hopefully less likely with such a small group), nutritional issues, and when the victim bird is unwell or in a vulnerable position.

Now based on your situation, with the birds being indoors and 50% of the flock being targeted, we’d be most suspicious that behavioural issues are triggering this. Specifically, we tend to see pecking due to the birds being bored indoors and unable to practice their normal foraging behaviours (which naturally occupies 50% of their daily activity) as they would outside. As well, just to note in case you aren’t seeing feathers around the house, nutritional deficiencies could also being playing a role here.

Now since none of the birds have active wounds at this stage, we don’t need to isolate them for supportive care at this stage. Instead, if we can reducing the pecking of their peers that should be enough to give them a chance to heal.

In regards ***** ***** that pecking, there are some steps we can take. First, we’d want to adjust some of our indoor environmental settings if you have not already. To start, we want to make sure the house isn’t overly warm. High temperatures can actually predispose birds to pecking. Therefore, we’d want to keep the house around 70*F or matched with the outdoor temperature (depending how chilly it is). As well, do make sure we have good ventilation for them in the house.

As well, we need to assess how much light they are getting in the house. It has been found in large production flocks that when we have too much or too intense light in the house, this can also trigger pecking. Therefore, at the moment, we’d absolutely want to dim the lights (it will relax the birds, reduces the behavior, and will make those red vents less attractive for pecking) and make sure we are keeping the lights on for no more then 13 hours a day with bulbs < 40 watts.

As well, just touching back on possible nutrition issues, we do need to check that their diet is well balanced for their needs. A mash diet is better then a finely pelleted feeds since they require the birds to sift through the variety of ground particles and take longer to consume. As well, just to give them a protein boost (just in case) and also help distract them with indoor foraging indoors, you can throw some extra pellets or cat food into their litter. That way they have something to scratch, peck, and devote time to instead of pecking their friends. And you can even add green leafy vegetables, or grass clippings to the litter to again give them something to root through (though only give enough that they’ll eat and not leave to rot since that would need to be removed).

Furthermore, we can also try to lessen their focus on one another by trying to enrich their indoor environment Now rather then write you a long list of toy options for your birds (since I am conscious this is getting to be a wee book I am writing ;)), I'd advise a wee peek HERE @ http://hubpages.com/animals/Chicken_Toys for suggestions (they even have videos of the hens at play) So just like toddlers, if we divert their energy into non-harming activities, we can keep them from doing those things (like pecking) and can settle signs.

Finally, as we do all of the above, we can also use some deterrents to help the guilty parties give up their negative ways. Specifically, we can use anti-pecking sprays, which taste unpleasant and usually deter pecking. As well, we could use one with a color additive to determine if we have one problem bird lurking in the flock (since if this persists and one bird is to blame, she may need to be removed from the flock).

Overall, this is a very common issue when birds are overwintered indoors. That said, we can use the above to reduce their predisposition to do this and keep them distracted and active with positive pursuits while indoors. Of course, if you do find one bird is guilty of all this pecking, then she may need to be removed if we cannot settle her naughty ways with the above.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. *Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need, as this is the only way I receive credit for helping you today. Thank you! : )

Ask Your Own Bird Veterinary Question
Bird Veterinarian: Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian replied 2 years ago
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Hattie, Clara, Gertie, Gladys. How is everything going?
Dr. B.
Ask Your Own Bird Veterinary Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with a bird veterinarianLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Dr. B. Your Own Question
Dr. B.
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23,440
23,440 Satisfied Customers
Experience: As a veterinary surgeon, I have spent a lot of time with bird cases and I'm happy to help you.

Dr. B. is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete!

Bev & GeorgeBoca Raton, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Pat

Dr. Pat

Bird Veterinarian

3,596 satisfied customers

25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds

Dr. Bob

Dr. Bob

Veterinarian

2,854 satisfied customers

35 years in general practice, including avian.

Dr. MD Stafford

Dr. MD Stafford

Veterinarian

233 satisfied customers

20 years in private practice, contract veterinarian Dickerson Park Zoo and attending veterinarian Missouri State University

Fiona Steel

Fiona Steel

Veterinarian

224 satisfied customers

BVMS MRCVS

Dr. Bruce

Dr. Bruce

Veterinarian

220 satisfied customers

15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian

allpetsdr

allpetsdr

Veterinarian

142 satisfied customers

I have been practicing for 10 years. I work with exotic pets, dogs, cats, small ruminants, camelids and pigs.

Dr_Kitty

Dr_Kitty

Bird Veterinarian

122 satisfied customers

Mostly experience with chickens and ducks.

< Previous | Next >

Related Bird Veterinary Questions
I just noticed that the backs of 3 of my chickens, just about
I just noticed that the backs of 3 of my chickens, just about the tail area, are missing feathers and have a little blood showing. One of the chickens, the one with the biggest area like this, has a y… read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
DVM
3 satisfied customers
, just noticed one of my chickens has missing feathers and
Hi, just noticed one of my chickens has missing feathers and looking sore round the top of her head… read more
Dr. B.
Dr. B.
Bird Veterinarian
Veterinary Degree (BVMS)
23,440 satisfied customers
i have 12 hens, 10 of which have bald and very red rear ends.
i have 12 hens, 10 of which have bald and very red rear ends. I suspect hen pecked. my concern is the impending cold weather. will they freeze? they have very adequate shelter and a roofed run. I have… read more
Dr. Dan
Dr. Dan
Veterinarian and practice owner
Doctoral Degree
5,376 satisfied customers
We have several chickens with missing feathters. I do know
We have several chickens with missing feathters. I do know some is normal around the wings and head because of the rooster, some from a bully in the flock. What concerns me is that some of the exposed… read more
Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
2,854 satisfied customers
Severe feather loss, particularly on the abdomen and top of
Severe feather loss, particularly on the abdomen and top of thighs. Skin bright red. No sign of mites on bird or in hen house. 5 other chickens showing no signs. No sign of pecking. Appart from the fe… read more
jmayerdvm
jmayerdvm
11 satisfied customers
Two of our 3 chickens have lost a lot of feathers around their
Two of our 3 chickens have lost a lot of feathers around their tails. They are otherwise well, eating and laying fine. I have tried mite powder, no change. What might this be and what can I do to help… read more
Fiona Steel
Fiona Steel
Veterinarian
Bachelor's Degree
224 satisfied customers
My chickens are losing feathers around the tail area and in
My chickens are losing feathers around the tail area and in a couple of them there is bare skin I suspect picking by the more dominant chicken. What can I do?… read more
Fiona Steel
Fiona Steel
Veterinarian
Bachelor's Degree
224 satisfied customers
Hi, I have 4 Burford Brown chickens. They are free range
Hi, I have 4 Burford Brown chickens. They are free range in an orchard. We usually get 2/3 eggs a day. Fed on organic layers with seperate grit. Hutch regularily cleaned and dusted with red mite and l… read more
Fiona Steel
Fiona Steel
Veterinarian
Bachelor's Degree
224 satisfied customers
my 3 chickens have large bald patches, red skin and broken
my 3 chickens have large bald patches, red skin and broken feathers. I have washed and washed the coop and dusted them with a sulphur smelling stuff from the pet place at least 4 times and let them fr… read more
Dr. B.
Dr. B.
Bird Veterinarian
Veterinary Degree (BVMS)
23,440 satisfied customers
Hello, I have a hen and she has a red, irritated rash at the
Hello, I have a hen and she has a red, irritated rash at the base of her tail. It has irrupted her so bad she has pulled all the feathers out in that area. I have recently wormed all my hens, as well … read more
Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
2,854 satisfied customers
My freinds dog got my rooster and plucked all the feathers
My freinds dog got my rooster and plucked all the feathers off his back and tail feathers. Will they come back and can I put something on it. He is a good bird,I don't what to lose him… read more
oopiedoc
oopiedoc
27 satisfied customers
I have a 7 month old layer, a blavk astrolorpe. She has a swelling
I have a 7 month old layer, a blavk astrolorpe. She has a swelling beneath her vent. I checked to see if she is egg bound and she seems ok and she just laid an egg this morning. She does not seem to b… read more
Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
2,854 satisfied customers
i have 2 rocks, 4 r.i. reds, and 1 goldenbuff. the 1 rock is
i have 2 rocks, 4 r.i. reds, and 1 goldenbuff. the 1 rock is exceptionally larger than the others ( all hatched together). the others are thinner. they all are missing feathers mostly around vent, one… read more
Fiona Steel
Fiona Steel
Veterinarian
Bachelor's Degree
224 satisfied customers
15 chickens seem healthy except for loss of head and neck feathers.
15 chickens seem healthy except for loss of head and neck feathers. Now, 2 dead in one week. All seem to have some degree of feather loss. Cascade mountains, so cooped up extensively this winter due t… read more
Dr. Wally
Dr. Wally
Small Animal Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
270 satisfied customers
Since last winter weve dealt with featherpicking. We have
Since last winter we've dealt with featherpicking. We have the nutritional problem fixed now, on advice from the university extention poultry expert. What is a problem is how to break their habit of j… read more
Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
2,854 satisfied customers
Chicken with swollen eye, hard scabby bump on her back. pics
Bantam hen has swollen left eye and hard, scabby bump on her back. Photos here: http://mikeandlisasfamily.shutterfly.com/19… read more
andrea roberts
andrea roberts
veterinary surgeon
Bachelor's Degree
1,292 satisfied customers
bullying: as she was pecking the others tail feathers..sprayed
At first it appeared there was same bullying from one chicken as she was pecking the others tail feathers. we isolated the bully and sprayed the ckickens with a product called Stop Peck. This doesnt s… read more
Dr. Lisa
Dr. Lisa
Doctoral Degree
1,297 satisfied customers
I have a Black Copper Maran Cockerel, 2 Black Maran Hens and
I have a Black Copper Maran Cockerel, 2 Black Maran Hens and 2 Cuckoo Maran Hens all just over a year old. In all ways the birds appear healthy and produce 4 eggs a day. The Cockerel is very active wi… read more
andrea roberts
andrea roberts
veterinary surgeon
Bachelor's Degree
1,292 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x