How to Heal Pecking Wounds on a Chicken
Among chickens the pecking order is well known, with top hens often picking on a single, lower ranked hen. Certain breeds are noted for being more aggressive than others. Although aggression is reduced by having fewer hens in a larger space, it is still a well known problem even in the most ideal of situations. Other injuries occur when roosters mate, as they grasp the back of hen with their feet. As such knowing some basic first aid for poultry can come in very handy for anyone who keeps chickens, or other fowl.
Some things you may want to keep in your chicken first aid kit are things you would use around the house anyhow:
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Tree Pruning Sealer
How to Treat a Wounded Chicken
It may be best to remove the pecked hen and isolate her until she is better healed. She should be given ample food and water, and her isolation area should be clean and dry.
The wound can be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide, and or, treated with neosporin, which is an antibiotic.
Another trick is to use a spray-on tree pruning sealer. This will stop bleeding and offer protection to the hen while new feathers grow back, and works well when larger areas are injured. It tastes bad so will discourage pecking. It can be applied fairly thick, and in layers (drying between spraying again), in such a way that the other hens will not see the red sore area underneath.
©by author - noting that chicken behavior may be related to the fact they evolved from dinosaurs
How to Prevent, or Reduce, Hen Pecking
Some hatcheries cut the beak of their chicks at a day old, as this reduces their ability to inflict damage upon one another.
Do not house less aggressive breeds with those that are more aggressive. Breeds that are more related to the jungle fowl are the ones that tend to be more aggressive, with some bantam chickens being very passive.
Increase the space per bird ratio, by either removing some birds, or enlarging their enclosure. True free range birds tend to have fewer problems with pecking.
There are toys for chickens which will keep them entertained by forcing the chicken to try to get the treats from within a ball that rolls.
Feeding harder to eat treats such as a pumpkin, can keep the birds occupied for longer.
Having more than one feeding, and watering, area will help.
Some studies have shown that birds kept under bright white light have more cases of cannibalism, as such reducing this can have a positive effect on reducing problems.
Most livestock feed stores offer products for sale that are designed to help heal the wound and to prevent further pecking, one is sold under the name of Blue Kote.
How to Prevent, or Reduce Rooster Aggression
The best way to deal with this is simply by having more hens per rooster.