To me, one of the most confusing things about being a newbie chicken owner is the vast amount of information, much of it conflicting, available to me on the Internet. Seems like everyone’s got their own opinion on how big the coop MUST be, how to brood the chicks, what kind of feed to use – it goes on and on.
I’m not an expert, but after owning chickens for a while and spending vast quantities of time reading about owning chickens, I have developed some opinions of my own. I will share one of them now!
I have a recommendation if you, like me, have a chicken that is aggressive and picks feathers off the others. It’s no fun to see one of your sweeties being picked on, sometimes to the point of bloodiness. When it first happened in my flock I was determined to stop the behavior, but couldn’t find a clear answer on what to do.
Should I apply a stop-pick ointment? Change feed? Isolate the offending chicken? Isolate the offended chicken? Give the flock more room to roam? Give them some entertainment because they’re bored? Have them wear aprons or saddles? (Please not that solution – looks too silly to me!) Re-home or even KILL the meanie?
Or, maybe none of the above. I used pinless peepers on the offending chickens, and they WORKED. Pinless peepers are little plastic gadgets that attach to a chicken’s head with prongs that fit inside their nostrils. They work because a chicken can’t peck what a chicken can’t see, and pinless peepers prevent the chicken from seeing what’s in front of it. They can still see to the side – they have no problems eating or drinking or doing all the other things chickens do.
I got pinless peepers a little over a year ago when Maude started pecking the butt feathers off most of the other hens. (I wrote about that adventure here on Just The Right Things.)
For some reason I didn’t think of them immediately when Liberty started goin’ all crazy with the hens. But I put the peepers on him and the drama in the barnyard has reduced dramatically.
He still has his way with the ladies. Louise is still terrified of him. But her feathers are growing back in and the other hens are leaving her alone as well.
Putting pinless peepers on the offenders takes a few minutes, is easy to do and is harmless to the chicken. Some retailers suggest a tool to help get them on, but we soaked ours for a few minutes in warm water to make the plastic more pliable and that worked great. A helper to hold the chicken is advisable. You can get them at EggCartons.com
I’d certainly suggest trying peepers on a chicken before, say, KILLING IT. Slightly less dramatic, don’t ya think?
(Shared at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Homestead Barn Hop, Backyard Farming Connection Hop, Down Home Blog Hop, The HomeAcre Hop, Farm Girl Blog Fest, Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop, Farm Fun Friday and The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post!)