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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:16 pm 
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Hatchling
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:45 pm
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Hello folks,

We have a bit of a problem in our coop. Two new point of lay Isa Browns joined two 18 month older girls a month or two back. Despite all the socialisation techniques we read up about, introducing the two new birds has caused immense stress in the coop. The older pair have now stopped trying to kill the younger ones at least, but still hunt them away from the feeder, water dispenser and roosting points.

The younger couple were laying when we bought them, but have now stopped laying completely, and seem to spend their day in absolute fear of the other two running to keep out of their way. The older two also seem to spend most of their time practicing domination skills and feed consumption has dropped dramatically - and one of the two older birds has also stopped laying - so we are averaging about half an egg per day between the four birds.

Now it seems we have a lice problem as well, but with all the social disharmony, we can no longer get anywhere near the birds without an immense flurry of "fight or flight" hormones taking over. We have attempted dusting the nesting box and dust baths with diatomaceous earth, but thus far have only manager to actually catch one of the birds once for a more personal dusting. The coop is covered in feathers, and all the birds are pecking at themselves, and from a distance it looks as if especially the older birds have gaps in their feather cover and redened skin showing from underneath.

If they were bees, I'd be giving them a good smoking to calm them down so we could do a diatomaceous dusting. Just spraying the dust into the air at them seems to aggravate them far more than any potential beneficial outcome. We aren't really sure what to try next... Throw a net over them? We might catch them that way, but would become an enemy for life I'd expect.

Would love to hear any suggestions...

Thanks in anticipation.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:09 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:15 pm
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Location: ACT area
Hi pcal - sounds like you are all rather stressed.
ISA are notorious for being antisocial (to the point of serious agression ) to newcomers. Start by setting up a couple of extra feed and water stations so the newbies don't need to challenge the old gangsters.
Most birds are moulting atm so loss of feathers and no eggs as normal. Stress will also cause this and a parasite burden adds insult to injury.
I wouldn't use DE as it is hazardous to inhale (natural does not necessarily mean harmless) and has very little residual effect.
Get some Pestene (or a garden Permethrim or Pyrethrin dust from supermarket or Bunnings- cheaper). Will kill any parasites on contact and has some residual effect.
Put a couple of layers of clear blue manilla file plastic (or cellophane) over the lense of your torch. Lift the chooks off the perch one by one at night, dust them thoroughly and put back to bed. You will be able to see but the chooks won't. If you hold them securely they will be quite relaxed.

Repeat in about 10 days to kill any hatchlings.
Wear a mask and use the DE on floor, perches, cracks and crevices.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:48 pm 
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Hatchling
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:45 pm
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sue55 wrote:
Put a couple of layers of clear blue manilla file plastic (or cellophane) over the lense of your torch. Lift the chooks off the perch one by one at night, dust them thoroughly and put back to bed.


With thanks - we just completed our second successful dusting of all four birds. They were a lot more relaxed about it second time around, and the pecking at themselves has reduced drastically. Not convinced they couldn't see at all - a couple tried to fly the coop as it were, but no escapees.

Appreciate your wisdom. :)


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