7 week old Barred Rock picking at her feathers

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by treeves, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. treeves

    treeves Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 5, 2015
    El Paso,Tx
    We have a 8 week old barred rock hen. She's outside in a coop by herself her brooder mates turned out to be roosters (we can't have them). Today during my daily time with her(free ranging in the garden) I noticed she kept pulling at her feathers. At first I thought she was grooming herself. But, noticed she was pulling some of the smaller feathers out of her wings. Is this something I should be concerned about?
     
  2. HarrisOBIE

    HarrisOBIE Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 7, 2014
    NOPE..... this is normal for chickens, there are a couple reasons for this.

    1. they are not getting enough nutrients so the eat feathers

    2. they are not getting enough protein even if they are free ranged.

    The feathers may have the actual amino acids in proper proportions needed for feather growth or there is some benefit for the function of the digestive tract.
     
  3. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Make sure her diet is not deficient in protein. At her age, she should still be on feed for chicks with 18 to 20 percent protein (e.g., chick starter/grower, or all-flock feed). Avoid "treats" as this can significantly dilute the overall protein a chick gets from its starter/grower feed.

    Is she alone? If so, the behavior may be a result of her solitary condition. Chickens are very social and will not do well as solitary animals. They need to be in a flock, even if it's with only one other chick of a similar age (+ or - a couple of weeks).
     
  4. carikermoon

    carikermoon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My understanding is that chickens are social critters--maybe adding another chicken would stop the behavior?
     
  5. treeves

    treeves Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 5, 2015
    El Paso,Tx
    Thanks! I was wondering if she's not getting enough food. We're offering medicated starter feed and a vitamin crumble with it. She only gets a treat in the evening (a hand full of oats) to coax her to bed. We dont have the room for another one her age. If the others weren't so little I'd let them "play" everyday. As is she comes into the house every morning and runs around while I'm doing chores. Then she goes back in her coop (in the run) until about 430 and I let her free range in the garden until about 6. I'm in there most of the time doing stuff.
     
  6. HarrisOBIE

    HarrisOBIE Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 7, 2014
    keep that starter food join until the chick is about 12 weeks old then switch to scratch.
     
  7. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    Scratch is like candy and is very very lacking in protein. It should only be given in very small amounts and not mixed with regular feed or given as the main feed. The poor thing could die of malnutrition then.

    Starter feed until point of lay usually 20 weeks or so and then layer feed while laying.
     
  8. HarrisOBIE

    HarrisOBIE Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm just reading what my starter feed bag says.
     
  9. JJSS89

    JJSS89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Scratch is typically comprised of corn, wheat, milo etc. It ranges between 7-10% protein which averages about half as much as chickens need once they are 4 months old.

    Layer feed is a more complex feed that has higher protein components such as peas, soy, fish meal etc. If that's what you are referring to then that is fine but I'd hesitate to use that term when making recommendations because the stuff in stores called "Scratch" is intended only for supplementing and treating.
     
  10. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    My starter feed indicates 18 weeks before the switch. I myself want to see that they have actually started laying before I introduce extra calcium into the diet. I wait for that first egg. I am also switching to using all flock instead of layer since I have finally found a good oyster shell that they will actually consume. The All Flock is 18% protein.
    I do supplement with mackerel 2 times a month to give them a protein boost and a shot of animal protein since it is so dang hard to find proper omnivore food for them. Everything is labeled vegetarian now and I am pretty sure a nice grasshopper is not considered a vegetarian option. (my chickens would kill for a nice grasshopper or mouse)
     

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