Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dealing with the Pecking Order

When we first got our chickens, being somewhat naive, new chicken owners, we had generally assumed that the dominate (or only) rooster would "rule the roost" and be at the top of the pecking order.  We have since learned better, and see the contrary in our own flock. 

It seems Fred the Golden Polish rooster is not at the top of our order and has been suffering a bit for it.  We've known for some time that there was some pecking going on, but as winter came on and they started hanging out most of the day in the coop, the crown of his poor head has had most of the feathers pecked out and was bleeding in places. 

A little research on De's part came up with a suggested solution of a product called Blu-Kote.  It's a blue spray-on germicidal, fungicidal, wound protection antiseptic.  We treated him and Wilma (our one Golden Polish hen who getting the same treatment) once, a couple of weeks ago but didn't get pics.  Wilma is doing much better.  Fred is doing some better, but still shows signs of being pecked.  We re-treated Fred today and did take time for pictures.

The Blu-Kote not only protects the wound, but also puts a bad taste in the mouths of the offenders.  Since we treated Fred's head he's been getting pecked at the base of his tail feathers so we treated that too.  The treatment for that is under the feathers, so with nothing to see we chose not to take pics of a chicken's backside. After we treated Fred did see a Red Star shortly after with a blue beak.

The crown of Fred's head with some signs of recent injury.

Fred's head treated with Blu-Kote.
The stuff will come off of my hand in a few days, and we've been pretty happy with the results from the first treatment.  We'll keep everyone up on the results.

Col. 1:9-12,



  1. Plus, you don't have to worry about your hand being pecked badly by those mean chickens!

    The old timers up here told us that when the chickens were cooped up in the house during the winter, they used to hang a deer bone with some meat left on it in the chicken house. Supposedly it gave the chickens something to do, thinking that the reason they start to pick on each other is from boredom. (Apparently chickens get cabin fever, too!) They would pick on the meaty bone getting some nourishment from it while keeping themselves occupied. We've never had a bad problem with pecking so I can't say if it really works or not.

    1. Just last week we put what amounted to a big hard seed/suet cake in there with them at the suggestion of someone on a chicken-centric blog that De follows. They've been working that, but I can't tell if its made a difference for Fred. I do like the idea of a bone with a little meat. I'll have to see if I can location one.

  2. I appreciate the recommendation for blu-kote. Sounds like something to keep on hand.

    I was surprised as well, about our first rooster not being at the top of the pecking order. Our Delaware hen was! I began to understand the meaning of the term "hen pecked".