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Need to stop feather pecker fast w/ limited options

post #1 of 2
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Just this past week, my White Leghorn has been eating the butt and neck feathers of my (accidental pet) Cornish Rock. I very much doubt that she has a protein deficiency; she eats a regular layer crumble supplemented about once a week with a hard-boiled egg. I think she is probably just bored and is eating his feathers in the same way that the flock would eat the insulation in their coop before it was covered up.

He doesn't seem to mind so much (I haven't checked for lice yet; perhaps lice reddened his skin to begin with, she started pecking, and he allows it sometimes because it brings relief) but his skin is red and irritated and she is pecking more often than ever. I am afraid that, while I am gone, only checking in to feed them once in the 4 days after tomorrow, that she will break skin and tear him apart after she sees blood, or the behavior will spread to the others. I only have tomorrow to fix this, or at least lessen it. And I cannot isolate either victim or perpetrator because there is a huge snowstorm going on right now where I live and only the one warm coop. I'm planning on giving them some additional toys tomorrow to curb the boredom (including filling their dust bath box). Does anyone know of anything nontoxic to chickens I could apply to his vent that would dissuade her? In addition, how do chickens denote a human's presence--how do I watch them without them knowing I'm there, so I can know how often it's really happening?

Thank you in advance to anyone with any potential solutions to this problem!
post #2 of 2

:welcome

 

Spray him with Blue-Kote. It masks the red color. Be generous with it and happy with a blue-butt chicken :D

 

Layer feed has the bare minimum of protein needed for most production bred birds to churn out eggs. It's not always enough for all layers. It wouldn't hurt to change to grower for a while to boost protein intake. Or add cat food, meat scraps, etc. Egg really isn't that high in protein overall. 

 

You might check with your local feed stores and see if anyone has pinless peepers or similar, to inhibit her pecking. 

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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