Originally Posted by DesertChic
I had two very persistent feather pickers, not quite as bad as you described but close. As it your situation it made no sense to me why these two girls were so horrible. I put them on 18-20% protein feed and they still wouldn't stop. Then my son left our freezer door open and we didn't find out until the next day. Half of the meat was thawed and I had no time to cook that much meat....so I fed two pounds of raw ground pork to my chickens rather than let it go to waste. The feather has picking stopped completely since then, and all of my birds are feathering out beautifully now. @Turk Raphael is right...the quality of the protein is so important. That one mistake taught me a HUGE lesson.
Ouch.... came home after long weekend to a smelly house... refrig died. Had to toss everything as everything looked and smelled like they were at room temperature(and you know exactly how HOT that is for us lol) for 2 days or so. UGH. You have my sympathies, glad you managed to get some use out of that incident.
I had a feather picking issue in the recent crop of chicks. Due to not having incubator and several different project lines I have to do few but big batches of very different chicks. The "oriental mix" chicks suddenly started to pick at the bigger and much more placid meat mixes.. to the point one died and several had bloodied tails and elbows. They targeted primarily the white chicks, apparently the red shows through their pin feathers just too temptingly.. what I did was separate all the whites and added eggs to chick starter(22%, no animal protein- not my choice! Grr).. basically, wet the mash, break eggs over it and stir. They love it and the picked seemed to stop overnight.. however I noticed all of the chicks from an EE hen were literally hunting for pin feathers- going from chick to chick despite the addition of eggs. So all the EE and oriental mix chicks are now separated from the rest.. chicks are feathering out like crazy, but there is still some evidence of feather picking in the oriental/EE group. To be honest I've thought of culling all of those, even though I love how the adults look. It's so frustrating.
From what I've read, there certainly can be a genetic aspect to feather picking and sure looked like it from the recent experience as the meat mixes are all feathering out really well and fast, did not see any attempt at picking from those- aside from when the oriental/ee were still with them, they did become interested in the bloody tails but not 'hard core'. They seemed to take a bite then go hmm that tastes good.. while the others were like wood peckers, very intense about it too.