Your Chickens - - Feature | Tips And Tricks -

Preven­tion will al­ways be bet­ter than the cure, but when it hap­pened to one of my hens many years ago, my ini­tial re­ac­tion was one of guilt and shock. I had some ve­teri­nary wound pow­der on site, so was able to douse it on the af­fected tear which healed in a few weeks. The feath­ers took a bit longer to come back through, but it was a les­son learned and I haven’t al­lowed it to hap­pen again.

If you have ex­pe­ri­enced a case of ‘cock dam­age’ in your flock - no mat­ter how many fe­males your male is in with - then it needs ad­dress­ing and fast. Our res­i­dent vet Vic­to­ria Roberts will have the best ad­vice on the lat­est treat­ments for torn skin, but any fe­males that have feath­ers missing on their backs [as a re­sult of the male’s feet] should be in­spected fur­ther for any dam­age that’s not vis­i­ble while ‘on the deck’.

So go ahead and en­joy breed­ing from a single pair of birds, but keep your eyes peeled, make an as­sess­ment of the situation and re­mem­ber that ob­ser­va­tion is key. You will get a feel for what is right, and it’s a big help be­ing aware of these things be­fore they are al­lowed to hap­pen. With the above ex­am­ple, you may like dif­fer­ent-coloured eggs and em­brace the new­com­ers that help your pair-mat­ing en­deav­ours run smoothly.

Many of the top breed­ers swear by only breed­ing from ‘a pair’

Marans-based hy­brids in with the Brahma male help share the bur­den with the Brahma fe­male

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