RE: Chickens with red bottoms and legs

Craig1060(NSW Aust)November 14, 2005

Hello i Have 10 chooks and they have bare red butts and legs and are eating their eggs (all of them) if anyone has any recommendations on how i could prevent this or what i might be doing wrong.

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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

It could be a pecking order thing (how long have you had them?) but more likely it is the result be a protein deficiency: feather and flesh are both excellent sources of protein. What are you feeding them and how old are they? How big is their yard - or do they free range? A bit more info would help us to pin down the problem.

In the meantime, you might give them a protein boost: a can of cheap skipjack tuna, meat scraps, mealworms, scrambled eggs etc. Some people feed cat food, but personally I do not care to give my chickens unidentified meat byproducts. After all, I eat their eggs and eventually I eat them.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 11:42AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

It could be poor diet, overcrowding and/or boredom that is contributing to this...make sure that they have adequate room to roam, a healthy, balanced diet including lots of protein, calcium and fresh greens, and some kind of distraction--something else to peck besides each other's bottoms. :)

If you click on my 'My Page' link, there is tons of chicken info there that might help you, especially under the 'chicks' section...I like to give my birds things like fresh, raw corn on the cob to eat, it takes a long to to eat, is entertaining, is good for them and distracts from the pecking each other thing. As for the egg eating, are they more interested in the egg itself or the shell? If they go at the egg yolk first, they may need a protein boost. If they attack the shell first, calcium. Also, if your birds are actually EATING the feathers they pluck from each other, they may need more protein.

Good luck!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 1:52PM
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Old_Hazza(Portugal)

This question should have been asked on 1st April. It is a spoof. This character claims to live in Newfoundland, NSW. No such place.

Maggie & VS, Just assume it was a genuine question. Read the post again. He did not say they were eating each other, just the eggs. A featherless rear end is not a protein problem. Neither is egg eating, it is simply a vice. But VS, if you are able to tell whether a hen prefers the shell or the yolk of an egg it is eating, then why did you not stop it eating the egg in the first place???? Old McDonald.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 5:25PM
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teresa_va(Northern Va)

whats a spoof? And whats a Chook? Hey does that rhyme. really I dont know.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 8:04PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Theresa - A spoof is a hoax or joke. Chook is slang for chicken - a popular term in Australia.

Old McDonald - It could be a spoof, but I am willing to bet that Craig was a little careless when he entered his member information. Sometimes when you click on an item in a dropdown menu you get an adjacent item instead. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. If I'm wrong... well, I guess the yolk's on me!

Velvet - Good point about whether they just pull the feathers or whether they eat them too.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 10:08PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Old McDonald, I suggested the egg eating observation as a test to try and diagnose WHY the birds are eating the eggs (other than a nasty habit, that is). If they all go after the shell first and kind of eat the rest after, I'd suspect a calcium deficiency. If they fall on the yolk and ignore the shell, they may need more protein. Even if you have to sacrifice one egg towards the greater good, at least you have a better shot at discovering what the problem is. Hey, it's worth a shot! :)

And anytime you see a group of hens with bare butts and red hineys (other than natural skin color), you can bet they are plucking each other, if a roo is absent and over-mating can be ruled out. Typical reasons for feather plucking are boredom/overcrowding, mites or nutritional deficiency, especially if there are no feathers on the ground. The egg eating and feather plucking/eating together points strongly to a protein deficiency and/or boredom/overcrowding.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 4:13AM
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Craig1060(NSW Aust)

This is no "spoof" or what you want to call it. my chooks are in a 3M x 6M yard with a 2M x 3M house inside the yard i sometimes let my chooks out to wander around and i do give them plenty of corn, vegies and pellets i will try giving them some extra protein and see what happens. and i will make the yard bigger.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 4:06AM
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sgoetz

One suggestion I have are to make sure there are one nest box for every three hens and that they are absolutely pitch black inside so the chicken cannot see very well.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 9:46AM
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mommagoose(z5 NY)

I would check for mites. Naked butts are very common when mites are present. It has been suggested that you put a white piece of paper under the roosts at night and check for mites in the morning( all I got was paper covered with poop). Its easier to watch the chickens and see if they are itching or pecking themselves. If they are they probably have mites. I gave my chickens a dust bath made from a wooden box filled with a bucket of wood ashes 4 cups of Diotomacious earth and a bag of sand we propped an old door over the box to make a leanto to keep the mixture fairly dry . The chickens seem better now.
As for the egg eating anything to raise the percentage of protein should help things. I heard field peas are really easy to grow and have a really high protein percentage. Some people also use kelp Good Luck
Linda

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 3:50PM
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Craig1060(NSW Aust)

thanks for your help people i will try all these and see what i get thankyou.
Craig

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 4:14AM
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