I've been back home again less than a day and sure enough, a chicken incident occurs. I mentioned yesterday the chickens are going through their first molt and Leggy, my white Leghorn cockerel, is down to 2 long tail feathers. I posted a picture of him on the blog yesterday that I took that morning and he looked fine in that picture. Then, yesterday afternoon, I went out to check on the chickens, give them treats, and collect eggs. And I couldn't help but notice Leggy's back was all bloody, especially right where his tail feathers come in. I immediately thought maybe he was attacked by a hawk, but as a watched, he turned his head around and pecked at HIMSELF. He pecked his back several times while I watched. Ugh, what a cannibal. I know chickens will peck at things they don't understand. I'm glad I found him when I did.
So I went through the painful process of catching him and got a better look at him. He had large clots of blood all over his back. It was coming from a large blood feather that was missing and the feather shaft was opened where blood was flowing out. It wasn't clotting in the least bit, and he was a bloody mess. His beak was all bloody from him pecking himself.
I calmed Leggy down, because at this point he was hysterical from being chased and caught. I put him in the house in a covered fish tank and covered it with dark towels. He eventaully calmed down and went to sleep for about an hour. When Randy got home we inspected him again. The feather stopped bleeding since he wasn't pecking it anymore. We bathed his rear end in the kitchen sink and cleaned off all the old blood, but this caused the blood feather to start bleeding again.
|Leggy right after his bath|
We put some liquid band-aid on the bleeding feather shaft to stop the bleeding. It was all that we had in the house. And we put Leg in the coop with the other chickens, as it was dark and everyone else was sleeping by then.
This morning poor Leg is confined to his own chicken coop away from everyone else. I am keeping a close eye on him to ensure the feather doesn't start bleeding badly again. Hopefully he doesn't start pecking himself again. From what I read, it can take a few weeks for a new blood feather to grow in. I guess we are somehow going to have to keep a close eye on Leg for the next few weeks. Once I'm sure it wont bleed anymore I'll release him to be with the flock. Today I'll look for something to control bleeding better than liquid band aid.
Has anyone else ever had molting issues like this? Any recommendations?