3 feather pluckers in the flock!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by m_shuman, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. m_shuman

    m_shuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Today I sat and observed my flock of 7 hens and 1 roo. Everyone except one chicken has bald spots. No it is not from mites I have looked them over really good and dust them regularly with 7 dust and DE. I have witnessed the BA's pulling out feathers. I had all 8 of them in a 4x8 coop with an attached 16x10 run and I let them free range every afternoon for about an hour so I don't think space is an issue. I feed them layena pellets with egg shells mixed in for extra calcium. They get greens and cracked corn for treats along with other kitchen scraps including shrimp shells and leftovers I do not give them scraps everyday so I do not think diet is an issue either. SO today I watched them to see who the feather plucker might be. In the past I only witnessed one but now it seems that all 3 of my BA's are plucking feathers. So I isolated the 3 BA's in a 10x10 dog kennel secured with 4' 1/4 x 1/4" hardwire cloth around the bottom. I am hoping if I disrupt the pecking order then this behavior will stop. I really don't want to put pinless peepers on them. My question is how long do I need to seperate them from the group to effectivly disrupt the pecking order? Also how long will it take my other girls and roo to regrow their feathers? (The poor roo looks like a naked neck chicken, my Delaware has a bald butt and one of my EE's has a bald back.) If you have experienced this problem before and have any words of advice please help. Thanks!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    In my experience feather plucking is something completely separate from the pecking order. It is a bad habit that these 3 birds have picked up. A better solution might be Pinless Peepers until the rest of your flock have regrown their feathers. Good luck, and I hope that the temporary isolation will work for you.
     
  3. LaurelRidgeDreams

    LaurelRidgeDreams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I am also thinking that habit is now the main issue. I went through a similar experience and tried everything suggested looking for any solution other than pinless peepers. Nothing worked! So I finally gave in and tried the peepers. I am so thankful I did, the peepers have worked beautifully. My chickens have had no issues. With our new group of pullets, two are wearing them out of 18. When I noticed a couple of fluffy butts looking not so fluffy I watched until I figured out who was picking. My DH helped and we put the peepers on them. I have purchased enough peepers for all of my chickens and have decided to use them at the first sign if picking. Last winter I was spraying with blu kote every three days, supplementing with additional protein, adding "toys" to the run, separating as best I could, and my birds were not crowded. That was a very frustrating winter and almost extinguished my desire to have chickens. Good luck!
     
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I've not had to deal with feather picking, but I did seperate a bully hen a few years ago, during an integration. After a week in jail I reintroduced her to the flock and she did not return to her former bullying ways.
    I believe it takes a few weeks for feathers to regrow, but I admit I never timed it. If the feathers are plucked out.

    Good luck,

    Imp
     
  5. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    I had quite the go-round with feather picking last year. I tried everything, and I do mean everything, to stop it. I finally resolved the situation, but the cure was almost worse than the problem- I culled half my flock. Any bird caught feather picking was marked. Any bird with 3 marks was culled. Problem solved. Separation didn't help initially because the birds were working in groups. Once I removed the worst birds, I could separate the lowest birds with the nasty problem and they eventually stopped, but you are going to need to break up the group and house them apart from each other.

    Feathers can take a long time to grow back. I have one bird that is finally getting some feathers back now, and it has been about a year since she was picked bald. The only reason she is finally sprouting feathers is because she molted. If your bare patches are bad, then I wouldn't hold out hope for them re-growing until after a molt.

    Pinless peepers are the only tool on the market that is even moderately successful in dealing with this issue. If you have them, put them on the birds. Feather picking is a nasty and contagious habit that will ruin your flock. My problem started with 3 birds, but I ended up culling several because it is readily learned and imitated. By the time I was done 13 of 19 birds in my flock had bald patches and 3 of them had more than 1/2 their feathers missing.

    I would trade out the cracked corn treats for some BOSS. BOSS is higher in protein and sometimes a lack of dietary protein can lead to picking.

    I hope this helps. I can sympathize, believe me.

    Good luck.
     
  6. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That's the god honest truth. I've had this problem forever & I'm probably gonna end up culling as well. I culled my roo a few days ago because he started getting cocky with me. I have customers that come to my farm & I'm not gonna have a rooster attacking them. One thing I've learned about raising birds there will be a time you will have to cull some. I now treat all my birds as livestock not pets. Their still my buddies but you gotta do whats best & sometimes it just doesn't work out the way you think it will.
     
  7. m_shuman

    m_shuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Everyone Thanks for the advise. I ordered the pinless peepers today. I put all but one hen back with the flock. The hen I am keeping isolated started pulling feather out of the others as soon as I put her back in the run. The other 2 seem to have stopped for now. I will keep a close eye on them. I have covered the bare spots with Blue Kote I am hoping the dark color makes the white patches of skin blend in better and the others stay stopped. I also bought some Manna Pro Poultry Conditioner. I am hoping this supplement helps their feathers come back in. If worse comes to worse I will cull the one that is the worst offender. There are 2 things I have no tolerence for in chickens and they are a nasty roo and a hen that bullies the others. I am going to isolate the bullly for about 2 weeks. Put the peepers on her and then put her back in with the rest of the folck and see what happens. BTW how do you get Blue Kote off of your hands?? I am afreaid I am going to have purple hands for Christmas! LOL
     
  8. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Nail polish remover. [​IMG]
     
  9. m_shuman

    m_shuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks I will give it a try!
     
  10. LaurelRidgeDreams

    LaurelRidgeDreams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hope the pinless peepers work for you as well as they have worked for me.
    [​IMG]
     

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