coppertox for chicken's red bottoms : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

a neighbor suggested that i use *koppertox* a treatment for horses with thrush; but when i called the feed store to ask for it, the lady said it wasn't used to treat animals that you planned on eating. (we are). i read about usind pine tar to stop the pecking/cannabalism from the other chickens. this neighbor said it's because they see the color red. i guess i'll try more protein, or the split pumpkin option so they'll have to work a little harder for their food instead of pecking one another. we've separated the two that were the worse, and they're doing better. breeds: RI Reds, astralthorp, barred rock and 2 black sexlink roosters. maybe they are too crowded? doesn't seem to be, but i'm not sure. also, has anyone ever tried treating w/koppertox? it turns the chicken's behinds green and supposedly the pecking stops. thanks gloria

-- gloria j geary (, March 22, 2001


Man, I wouldn't use Koppertox on chickens! The second half of the word is 'tox', short for 'toxic'. It says on the bottles not to get it on your skin or the horse's skin and scrub it off it you do.

If all you want to do is hide the red colour (I'd think about putting something on it like an antibiotic cream if you think there's an infection, or calendula cream to heal it), why not just plain green food colouring? That's sure safer than Koppertox.

-- julie f. (, March 22, 2001.

Yep, I'd mix some green food coloring in a spray bottle and give everyone a green bottom. The Koppertox could also burn the tender skin on the chicken. It's stout stuff, and copper is very toxic.

-- melina b. (, March 22, 2001.

Take a head of cabbage ,cut it in half and place it in their cage.They love to peck on something.It works with mine.I know one guy who uses styrofoam.But I'd never feed my chickens that.It works also but I'd imagine he gets some strange tasteing eggs ,he thinks it passes through them undigested .I think it's toxic.The pumpkin would work good also,I don't know if it's less exspensive and if they are so easy to get this time of year.Don't put the chickens that were peck on, back with the rest until all their feathers are back or they'll get pecked again.Don't use toxic chemicals on the chickens.The whole point of raising your own ,besides enjoying to raise them, is to produce a healthy supply of meat or eggs.

-- Steve (, March 22, 2001.

I agree with the other posts, don't use the Koppertox. They sell an ointment at many of the farm supply stores called antipick lotion(Ointment). It is black in color to cover the red which encourages them to pick but is also has mentol in it which I think also discourages them for liking what they're pecking at. We have used it with great success. The food coloring is a good idea too but if their bottoms are red/sore I'd try the ointment as it will promote healing also. You could always add coloring to a home prepared ointment too. Good luck.

-- Trisha-MN (, March 23, 2001.

Dang! That's gotta sting! Would you want it on your red bottom? dh in nm

-- debra in nm (, March 23, 2001.

Covering up the red bottom bird with other stuff won't work. You have to separate that bird from the flock until it heals. If you don't, they could peck her to death. Are you sure she doesn't have a prolapse?

-- ~Rogo (, March 23, 2001.

okay, OK!!! i got the message. thanks to everyone who wrote. I will not, in any way, shape or form use koppertox...i guess my neighbor, who usually is a reliable source (having farmed for over 20 years) was wrong! i think all the suggestions were very good. I will keep you posted on improvements. I think it's over-crowdedness. As for putting coppertox on myself like debra in nm suggested (IF i had a red bottom), i don't think so. sometimes debra, you have to hurt something/someone to help it! You must belong to PETA!

-- gloria j geary (, March 23, 2001.

Easy now, Gloria! Just the thought of it made me wince. I once spilled a little gentian violet on an open wound (of mine). Yeow- za! Good luck to you, hope you find something that works. dh in nm

-- debra in nm (, March 23, 2001.

It looks like Gloria was just attempting to sell her product. I couldn't understand why a poultry person would suggest such a product; now I know. She's not a poultry person! It appears that anyone who responded to this post would get an e-mail like I got. I never wrote asking about the product. Anyone else get it?:

Re: Response to coppertox for chicken's red bottoms From:"Auto-reply from" Date:Fri, 23 Mar 2001 21:30:51 -0500

Thanks for contacting Misty Mountain Products. We''ll get back to you in a few days or less!

-- ~Rogo (, March 23, 2001.

for rogo, no, i'm not just attempting to sell a product. wow! someone must've been burned by the internet. that's my automatic response FOR my business i set up a long time ago! also, you forget that you did respond to my original query. here is your response: * Covering up the red bottom bird with other stuff won't work. You have to separate that bird from the flock until it heals. If you don't, they could peck her to death. Are you sure she doesn't have a prolapse? *

then you wrote: She's not a poultry person! It appears that anyone who responded to this post would get an e-mail like I got. I never wrote asking about the product. Anyone else get it?: Rogo, You're right!I am not a poultry person, that's why i wrote the original query!!! I wanted to know more about my chickens--and become a treasured poultry person, like YOU! I have a flock of bantams, rhode island reds and others. Please check your facts first before accusing people! I have some pix of my chickens on my web site. but please, don't go there! I don't want to be accused of trying to sell you anything!

-- gloria (, March 24, 2001.

just for the record, i don't sell coppertox or anything like it. i have no idea where rogo got that idea. i guess he doesn't understand what *auto response* is. let me clear it up for you, rogo. it's when you send a message with your computer without writing it, an *automatic response*! thanks for letting me clear that up! really, folks, i am not trying to sell anyone anything! just asking a question about chickens got rogo thinking i'm trying to sell him something. i still haven't figured out what i'm trying to sell him!

-- gloria (, March 24, 2001.

I'm sorry, Gloria, but when I get a bunch of e-mails with the subject 'response to coppertox for chicken's red bottoms' and the message reads:

== Thanks for contacting Misty Mountain Products. We'll get back to you in a few days or less! ==

it sure looked like spam. I've had auto responses from friends, but they're not a business.

I read this Board on the web; your mail showed up in my personal e-mail box. To me, that's spam.

-- ~Rogo (, March 24, 2001.

Let's get back to the chickens pecking each other, ok? I have three seperate runs of chickens, Australorps, Silver Wyandottes and Buff Orpingtons. The Buffs never peck at each other. The Wyandottes and Australorps did and we couldn't figure out why. All were in the same type of runs, fed the exact same mixture of feed at the same time of day. Each run has automatic waterers and feeders, so chickens can eat all day or whenever they are hungry. The one difference in the runs is the AMOUNT of chickens in each. The Buffs had less chickens per square foot. So we eliminated the worst pickers and added stuff to the remaining Wyandottes and Australorps diet like watermelon, grass clippings, etc which gave them something besides prepared feed to pick at. The Buffs also get these additional things now. We don't have any picking at all now. It took us a while to figure out what was causing this. The chickens would pick the feathers and EAT them. We also figured out that the behavior is learned. When one hen would pick at another, the other hens would join in. When we added younger hens to the flock, they would "learn" to do this same thing. So no more hens will be added until we "stew" up the old hens completely and start over with young stock at a reduced amount per square foot. We will continue to add greens, hard to peck at fruits like watermelons and pumpkins, and of course plenty of baked, crushed eggshells. Everyone here has great ideas, but we learned the hard way that if the picked on chicken is not immediately removed from the flock and allowed to heal, the others will peck it to death. So please separate the one being bullied if you'd like to keep her. Good luck.

-- Cindy (, March 24, 2001.

I like Cindy's suggestions. We always used to go and rip up tender grass, chickweed, dutch white clover and dandelion leaves for our chickens, ducks, pheasants, and geese, and they surely enjoyed picking at that. We also gave them watermelon rinds that they would pick at a while, and strawberry hulls they snapped up in a hurry.

Seeing that it is still early for such delights as stawberries and watermelons, and depending on how northern your location, and whether you still have stored pumpkins or squash and so on, perhaps you could also add things like dry feed corn on the cob that they would have to work at removing, or spread some straw or hay around and sprinkle whole corn on that,so that they have to get in and dig around and hunt for goodies to give them something to relieve the boredom. I've noticed that even animals considered very low on intelligence (chickens, mice...) have the intelligence to get bored.

I always recycled my eggshells back to the chickens (I'd bake them in the over first, just to be sure about salmonella) and they always ate them happily.

I didn't consider that automated response as anything other than a polite acknowlegement of help give.

-- julie f. (, March 24, 2001.

I found that my bantams used to peck at eachother, but this behavoiur stopped after I gave them cut (in half) apples, fresh alfalfa, and a lot of oyster shells in their diet, along with the usual scratch and poultry feed. I also gave them an excess of available nesting spots (2 or 3 for every hen) so there is no bickering over space. I also try to arrange their general roaming area so that it is divided into X areas, for X number of cocks to prevent battles over hens and nesting grounds. This I do with extra bales of hay and particle board, and give each cock about 50+ square feet to call his own (to be shared with a few hens of course), and with the main food supply in one or two different locations to encourage tolerance of eachother. This is all possible, however, because I have a lot of space available, and I'm not trying to make money off these chickens. I have them around for insect control and comic relief. They sure love insects, they make up a large part of a wild chicken's diet, and bugs have a whole lot more protien than corn. I often find them leaving their food alone for days, just eating the "stuff" they find growing, crawling, hopping, ect. on the ground.

-- Farmer Al (, March 13, 2002.

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