Monday, January 9, 2012

The Pinless Peeper

As you know, back in early December, I had my Vet put a pinless peeper on Coco.  Coco was bullying Ginger to no end and I was really afraid Coco was going to kill her.  And really, one should be able to do this themselves.  It's not that difficult.  But I couldn't do it and Coco being such a feisty bird, it really was a two person job.

So for starters, be sure you are putting it on correctly.  Many people accidentally put them on upside down.  See the image of Coco to get the idea.

They say that you don't need a tool to do this.  Either pry the plastic apart if you have strong hands, or soak the plastic in hot water for a few minutes.  But a pair of snap ring pliers really do make it easier.  If you soak them in hot water first, the bird has a better chance of knocking it off with its foot before the plastic has a chance to cool down and set.

Either way, once on, the bird can't see what's in front of her.  And it DOES work.  I'd put treats into their treat bowl and Coco would give Ginger a warning Bok Bok.  But when she looked up to peck Ginger, she couldn't see her, and would go back to eating.

But it forced Coco into a molt.  Which I felt awful about.  Depriving a bird of food is a sure fire way to force them into a molt.  And she just wasn't getting as much food as she was used to.  And she molted hard and ugly as you can see from some of my older posts.

So I removed the peeper after about three weeks.  Coco was much more passive and docile and it gave Ginger a chance to finish her molt and get some much needed weight back on her.  So I don't regret doing it.  But would I do it again?  Tough question to answer.

I can see how people with larger flocks swear by these things.  They really do work.  But when you just have two hens that you treat as pets, they do seem rather cruel.  But it did nothing to reset my pecking order or change Coco's "alpha" ways.

Coco is definitely my alpha hen and makes her position known.  The problem with only having two hens, is that all her aggression is directed directly at Ginger.  Thus, the reason for me to get more chicks to help mix up my flock dynamic.  But out of this, Ginger has learned to recognize Coco's warning Bok Bok's and quickly moves out of her way when she gives her warnings.

The babies are growing up quickly and I'm eager to integrate them in with Coco and Ginger.  I'm hopeful that out of this, Ginger will have a buddy she can relate to, since the new chicks are Buff Orpingtons just like her.  And that as Coco asserts her position as the alpha hen, it's not all directed at Ginger as there will be three other hens roaming around.

And I also have to wonder if Coco won't have a run for her money as the alpha hen.  Spice is quite the feisty chick and clearly in charge of Honey and Sugar.  Her name fits her PERFECTLY!!!

So stay tuned.  I promise to keep you all updated on the process of integrating Honey, Sugar and Spice in with Coco and Ginger.


  1. Great post and info... Hopefully I'll never have to use the peepers, but it's good to know they work if I do need them some day... Love the photo :)

  2. Thank you! SO glad to hear your point of view.

  3. I always wondered about these. Thanks for letting us know your experience!

  4. Thanks All. I'm not sure I could ever bring myself to put a peeper back on a hen again. But in the very same breath, I will say that they work and work well. I really hope that adding all these new BO babies to my run will force Coco to just chill. Only time will tell.

  5. My hen developed a habit of eating feathers and I was considering the pinless peepers for her...until I read your post. Our chicken run is long and narrow so we take advantage of the vertically space with things they can jump up and down on. I would think the pinless peepers would be dangerous if there are a lot of obstacles to maneuver around. Thanks for the info!