How do I deal with broody hens?
Unless your chicken has fertile eggs to hatch, you will need to take action to stop her broody behaviour, otherwise it could go on for weeks on end and she may become poorly. In order to break the broody behaviour you will need to remove the hen from the eggs and the coop and pop her in a broody cage. A broody cage is a simple cage (a dog cage or similar will do the trick) where your hen can be separated from her “chicks” to break the broody habits – it needs no cosy corners or dark areas to stop broody behaviour. Each broody hen needs to be in an individual cage and this cage should be placed in the run so the hen can still see and interact with the rest of the flock. Broody hens have a higher body temperature and tend to pluck out their feathers to help them incubate their eggs, therefore one of the main objectives of the broody cage is to cool them down. Therefore ensure the cage has ventilation around it e.g. pop it on some bricks to enable the hen to cool down gradually. Keep her in the cage for at least 3 days without letting her out to stop the habitual behaviour. Always ensure they have plenty of food and water.
How do I know if my chickens are stressed?
Stressed chickens may lose weight and change their behaviour with their owners or other birds. It is recommended to give your birds a health check regularly so that you can identify any changes quickly and address them by changing their nutrition or environment. If your chickens appear to be stressed add Nettex Vit Boost Tonic to their water. This tonic has been specifically formulated to support chicken health, particularly in times of stress.
How do I know if my hen is broody?
Hens that do not have a cockerel can’t lay fertile eggs, but they can still become broody and attempt to sit on a clutch of eggs. Broodiness is natural instinct which happens to some, but not all chickens. There are lots of signs to look out for if you think your hen might be broody. The main one is that she won’t get off her eggs, and she may even put other chicken’s eggs underneath her too! She may appear “flattened” as she sits on the eggs and may become very vocal and even aggressive should people (or other birds) go near her. She may pluck out feathers to produce more heat for the eggs and because she rarely leaves the nest she may not eat or drink, and produce larger than normal poos when she does leave the eggs. Additionally, because she is not moving you might find there are problems when she does try to walk. Broody hens may be more susceptible to mites and lice as they don’t leave the coop where the mites live. Unless your chicken has fertile eggs to hatch, you don’t want your hens to be broody and need to take action to stop the broody behaviour.
How do I stop my chickens from pecking each other?
There could be a number of reasons why your chickens are pecking one another; firstly I’d look at their environment, check that there is enough space, and the right number of feeding and drinking stations for each chicken to have easy access. Have you recently introduced new chickens to the flock, are all your chickens in good health, or do you need to check your chickens for lice or mites? All of these cause stressful situations, which can start a pecking habit.
Remedy any of these factors first and add Vit Boost Poultry Tonic to their water, to support their immune systems during times of stress. ‘Cage enrichment’ can also be a good idea to help discourage bullying and improve the happiness of your flock but interest in toys is generally short-lived, they should be used for short periods and swapped regularly. Dust baths, perches, flower pots to jump on, piles of leaves and bits of turf to pick over can be better ways of enriching their environment and limiting boredom that can result into pecking.
If, after checking space and drinkers you still have a pecking problem, consider popping the bully bird in a broody cage (with food and water) inside the run for a couple of days to reset the pecking order. If that doesn’t work you may need to use Nettex Anti-Feather Pecking Spray.
This deterrent spray has a strong odour and foul taste to help discourage biting, pecking, plucking and cannibalism. It also contains antibacterial agents that will help cleanse minor skin wounds and abrasions and support the healing process.
Why are my chickens being bullied?
Overcrowding and bullying can cause stress at any time of the year. It is really important to make sure that your chickens have more than enough room in their run and plenty of feeders and drinkers to avoid squabbling and bullying, which can end in feather pecking and nasty injuries. If, after checking space and drinkers you still have a bully, consider popping them in a broody cage (with food and water) inside the run for a couple of days to reset the pecking order. If that doesn’t work you may need to use Nettex Anti-Feather Pecking Spray. This deterrent spray has a strong odour and foul taste to help discourage biting, plucking and cannibalism. It also contains antibacterial agents that will help cleanse minor skin wounds and abrasions and support the healing process.
Why are my chickens pecking at each other?
There could be many reasons why your chickens are pecking each other. It could be a possible mite or lice infestation, stress behaviour if there is not enough room in the coop, hot weather or visible cuts or wounds. It may also be because one of the chickens is bullying the others, trying to establish or disrupt the pecking order. Regular health checks will ensure you know what is “normal” for your chickens and help you identify any changes quickly. Additionally, observing your flock quietly will help you to identify any bullying behaviour.