1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

7 week old feather pickers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Larkin, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. Larkin

    Larkin Chillin' With My Peeps

    155
    0
    99
    Aug 10, 2010
    Northern Wisconsin
    I have 10 assorted egg layers and 12 Cornish X that are about 7 weeks old. Since they were a few weeks old I noticed the egg birds picking at the meaties. Now that they have lost their downy fuzz, the egg layers are plucking the breast, neck and now tail feathers off the meaties! I have sprayed Hot Pick on them only to see them(eggers) pick right away. No blood yet but did have a couple bloody necks a few weeks ago that I treated with styptic powder and that worked fine.
    Why are they attacking their necks/breasts? The egg birds are all beautifully feathered and no picking on them. Odd to me.
    They are in a 11x16 coop at night and have a large run during the day/evening. I suspect they are bored during the morning and attack then. Haven't seen them doing it outside.
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    What kind of feed are you giving? How much protein?
     
  3. Larkin

    Larkin Chillin' With My Peeps

    155
    0
    99
    Aug 10, 2010
    Northern Wisconsin
    Right now they are all on 22%. I did not separate them as chicks and fed them the same feed. I give them treats from the garden during the day in their run also like tomatoes, cukes, squash, they seem to enjoy that.
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:Golly, well there goes that theory. I was wondering if they were protein-starved.

    The only other thing I could suggest is a ?Purina "flock block" if you can keep it out of the weather so it won't get moldy. I have two (it has soy in it [​IMG]) and they like them. They are supposed to help with boredom. It's a bunch of food in a block. It does have oyster shell mixed into it. Oyster shell wouldn't be good for your non-layers, so I don't know if this would be recommended for your situation.

    I let my 2 month olds peck at it, since I have noticed them even pecking a little at the oyster shell I set out.
     
  5. boogiedog

    boogiedog Chillin' With My Peeps

    360
    4
    121
    Apr 19, 2010
    Oakland hills, CA
    I had similar problems with older birds and used Flock Blocks, and also hang a cabbage head out there daily. I also throw out black oil sunflower seeds. (I also use 22% protein feed, and even with the laying continue to do so - I just suppliment with free-choice oyster shells)Ultimately I put pinless peepers on the worst offenders, and happily, the picking has abated significantly. (I got them from nationalband.com - the cheapest around. Very easy to put on; not permenant and I plan on taking them off in a couple of months to see if the behavior has been completely resolved). Good luck!
     
  6. Larkin

    Larkin Chillin' With My Peeps

    155
    0
    99
    Aug 10, 2010
    Northern Wisconsin
    I'm going to look into Flock Block and the peepers. So far they haven't been made them into bloody scabs...yet but I want to stop this before it gets to that point.
    Thanks for the suggestions. I wonder if some are just pickers, they started this pretty early. When they were all feathering out, the meaties were growing so fast that they didn't have feathers or fluff on their huge crops and you could see the pink fleshy neck, I suppose layers were just curious or something. My meaties are sure looking pathetic looking and it's getting cold at night!

    Hey, I have a goofy question I suppose I could look up but I'll ask here. Do their feather replace themselves if they are picked and not molted? You know what I mean? I know they are only going to have to make it 4 more weeks before their purpose is here but just wondering.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by