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Old 3rd April 2009, 01:33 PM   #1
Katy Hartnett
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Chickens head pecked till bald and bleeding

I have a chicken with a nasty wound on the back of its head. The feathers are gone and it is weeping. I had the same thing happen to a chicken 6 months ago and it died.

Would this be the rooster? I have 8 hens and one rooster. I have separated the chicken. Some of the other chickens have feathers missing on their back and wings. All appear to be healthy and shiny apart from that.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 01:46 PM   #2
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Re: Chickens head pecked till bald and bleeding

Hey KH welcome to the site hopefully someone experienced will be along soon to give some advice.

Is it a new hen that has been added to the flock?

We tried to add two new chooks to our flock a few weeks ago and they were pecked and bleeding before we rescued them and separated them...will try a gradual introduction when they are bigger and more confident...
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Old 3rd April 2009, 01:56 PM   #3
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Re: Chickens head pecked till bald and bleeding

Hi Katy...yes it is most likely the rooster or an unsuccessful ferret(as happened here)
I would clean it with savlon then dry and add a spray of iodine. Good that you seperated the chook till she heals...give her a little tinned catfood to supplement her normal diet and allow her to enjoy the sun during the day and to be able keep warm at night. My chook had her comb half torn off and a gouge of about old 50 cent size. She is all good now! she had her 25 chicks eaten by the ferret though!! Someone else will have further advice soon. Hope she gets well.
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Last edited by granny56r; 3rd April 2009 at 01:57 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 3rd April 2009, 02:18 PM   #4
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Re: Chickens head pecked till bald and bleeding

Yes, sounds like rooster damage, same as the missing back and wing feathers from his feet. Just check that she isn't the bottom hen and the other hens are not having a go at her head now it is damaged. Stockholm tar is a good disinfectant plus deterrent-its what shearers put on sheep cuts.

It can also be called "passion head"! ;-)
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Old 3rd April 2009, 02:28 PM   #5
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Re: Chickens head pecked till bald and bleeding

I've had similar damage on the backs/sides of my chickens with feathers missing as well as torn flesh and the damage to their heads!

I worked out that it was mainly due to that fact that these chickens are so small and the rooster was so big that he couldn't balance properly so his spurs were going into their sides and he was pecking their heads to try and grab on to something.

They healed well by separating and using aloe vera on their bad bits (i did have to pull what appeared to be loads of mud that was probably around the spur and it came out spur shaped! ), but now i separate the smaller hens from him and the larger girls during most of the day and it's not happening often, thankfully!
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Old 3rd April 2009, 02:36 PM   #6
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Re: Chickens head pecked till bald and bleeding

I wish I could refer my neighbour to these rooster horror stories, he doesn't want chicks but seems to have the idea that his girls are missing out because of no rooster in with them - I'd say his girls would be happier without one!!!!
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Old 3rd April 2009, 10:18 PM   #7
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Re: Chickens head pecked till bald and bleeding

Sue has a method of removing the spurs from roosters. I've trimmed the nails of the breeding roosters, so that they don't do as much damage. If the hens are moulting, I'd remove the roosters to the single men's pens until the following season. Otherwise you risk their skin being ripped open.

Its best not to put small hens in with large roosters or you risk them getting killed. Much better to match small hens with small roosters and large hens with large or smaller roosters.

Hens DO NOT need roosters in order to lay eggs. But in saying that, if you have a preditor problem, a rooster in their midst will protect them or die in the process.

A good rooster will look after his hens and make sure they are fed well. A bad rooster will only think of dominating the hens and the hens won't be happy with him. If the rooster is mistreating and bullying the hens and the hens are scared of him, behead him and get a different rooster. Stressed hens won't lay. Hens that are happy with their roosters are more likely to lay better.
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Old 4th April 2009, 08:00 AM   #8
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Re: Chickens head pecked till bald and bleeding

Roosters don't need to have spurs to damage the hens backs!

If you watch closely when they stand on the hens back to mate they grip the skin at the back of the head with their beak and their feet on the hens back, often with the middle toe at the level of the top of the wing. The inside toe on both feet, with the claw digging into the skin causes the rips on the backs as their feet slide backwards.
The backward pointing toes can cause some damage, but not as much as the two inside ones.
If the hens are large and fat they can also get damaged easily.

I can say this with years of expereince with Meat breeding roosters that were up to 60 weeks old and hardly grew much of a spur, but they still ripped open the big fat meat hens down either side of their backs.

To prevent this we used to 'detoe' the roosters at hatching, by taking off-with a hot cauterising blade, the two back nails and the two inside nails. Then welfare took hold and it was banned-pity the poor hens that got ripped due to so called welfare!

The light breed roosters, like Leghorns, that did grow large spurs hardly made any impression on the Australorp hens they were mated with. Rarely a ripped head and I don't recall any bare backs and gashes.
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Old 4th April 2009, 03:58 PM   #9
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Re: Chickens head pecked till bald and bleeding

You don't have any pet ducks around do you? My Peking drakes used to try to mate one of my bantam hens (at least I assume that's what they were doing) and took off all the feathers and some skin about the size of a 5c piece the first time, and the second time took off about 50c worth of skin, I swear I could see her skull. Amazingly she survived - but the drakes didn't!
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Old 4th April 2009, 04:08 PM   #10
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Re: Chickens head pecked till bald and bleeding

Kaybe roast duck huh
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Old 4th April 2009, 09:25 PM   #11
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Re: Chickens head pecked till bald and bleeding

Yeah Stu but not for me - I may not be a vegetarian but I prefer to let someone else kill my meat for me - coward, huh?
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