Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Q&A: Dear Lizzy:
I have a question for you...any suggestions on how to get a hen to stop pecking the head of her rooster to death? I have two polish and he is truly hen-pecked. His poor little head sometimes bleeds. I need help Lizzie!!
The beautiful Polish Breed is one of the most picked on of all breeds of chickens. Most probably because the other hens are so jealous of the fancy top hats they display - so amazing! (And that's where the HUMAN saying "hen pecked" comes from, don'tchaknow?!) Chickens tend to pick on other chickens for such reasons as age differences (getting rid of the younger competition!) or because one breed is a different color than what the main flock is used to being with...or, a different and intriguing style of head-dress, such as your Polish Rooster. I will try to address this concern to others who may have Chicken troubles with large flocks as well. Read on.
Ms. Lizzy's advice here would be to remove the Roo from that offending Hen (or flock, as the case may be) for a time, and treat his wounds with Scarlet Oil, found at local feed mills or perhaps your Tractor Supply Store (Click HERE for information of the product and where to find the TSC nearest you!). You can also apply a medium coating of Petroleum Jelly on the injury with good results, but Scarlet Oil is something Ms.Lizzy highly recommends...it covers the scent of blood and helps disguise it from the flock once the bird is returned to the group after about a week, depending on the depth of damage. Chickens cannot resist the smell of blood and will often continue pecking to the death of the injured bird. The mere thought makes Lizzy SHUDDER!!!
You do not state the age or size of your Roo - that makes a difference in the PECKING ORDER of the flock. Mature Girls perfer a Mature Roo, or one that is the same size or a tad bit smaller than the rest of the flock. BEWARE! Any bird too young should not be introduced to a mature group of chickens - that could be a cause of many a life lost!
Are there other Roos picking on him as well? One Roo to a flock of 10 Girls, please! Otherwise fights may ensue for breeding rights! And one parting note: Ms. Lizzy will offer that there could be a chance your Roo may never be able to be turned loose with the rest of the gang for long periods of time without strict supervision. For his own safety, he may have to be kept in a Bachelor Pad away from the Girls, unless you desire baby chicks, then allow him access to only the most docile of the Group for courtship!
Hoping this Helps -