Every once in awhile a chicken gets injured. Minor wounds are something you'll eventually have to contend with when raising your backyard flock.
If your hens are aggressively pecking at each other to the point of drawing blood and won't quit no matter what you try to do, you might have to consider clipping the end of their top beak to prevent the injury of other birds. Only clip off a little bit of the end. Clip off too much and the bird won't be able to eat.
Pecking wounds have to be attended to immediately or the other birds will continue pecking at it, making it worse. The sight of blood will draw them right to it. After carefully cleaning the wound, a little Neosporin and a bandaid large enough to cover the entire wound works wonders. Lift the feathers above the wound and attach the bandaid to the feathers surrounding the rest of the wound to allow ventilation of the wound. When you go to remove the bandaid, you may have to clip it off of the feathers. You may have to segregate an injured bird from the rest of the flock until it has healed and is no longer wearing a bandaid or the other birds might peck at the bandaid and rip it off.
One way to deter aggressive pecking from the start is to provide your flock with a scratch block, available at most farm supply stores. A scratch block is made of supplemental feed and other ingredients compressed together to form a very hard and very heavy block. When placed in the coop or run, it provides chickens with a safe and satisfying pecking outlet.
Aggressive pecking can happen if the birds do not have enough living space to share and are suffering from overly cramped quarters. Another cause could be a particular breed mix within the flock. Some breeds do not cotton to other breeds very well.
We have both rare breed and common breed flocks of chickens. We've noticed that common breeds are more prone to aggressively pecking at each other, within a same breed flock, than rare breeds.
If a bird becomes 'egg-bound', meaning it cannot get an egg out of its body, there is very little you can do to try save the bird's life. You can try Vaseline around the opening to see if it'll help the egg slide through easier, but don't expect miracles. Do not insert a foreign object into the opening in an attempt to remove the egg. Doing so runs the risk of breaking the egg. Broken eggshells inside the cavity can cause severe injury to the bird and even more suffering.
Overweight chickens run a high risk of becoming egg-bound so it's imperative to keep your birds at a healthy weight if you want to keep them alive and well for a long time, at least until it's time to cull your flock. Over-feeding or improper feeding and lack of exercise results in fat chickens. Make sure they get regular exercise while they are still in their laying stage!
Until next time....Happy Homesteading!
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