8 week old chickens pulling out other chickens tail feathers...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cointoss, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. cointoss

    cointoss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 1, 2008
    Gaylordsville, CT
    They don't seem to actually be cannibalising or eating the feathers. Just pulling out tail feathers on a couple other hens (only two so far)... I've watched them do it: they'll just yank one out as the other chicken walks by and drop it on the floor. They don't play with the feathers or eat them or anything. And they don't go after the chicken more than that. Very strange! They are getting protein feed and corn scratch, plus lots of insects and forage, so I don't know what could be going on. They have plenty of room...

    They are at the age where their long tail feathers are just coming in (a couple don't even have them yet) and I have seven kinds of chickens in together, so I'm not sure if they just think the feathers are odd??? It seems to be mostly the black australorp and welsummers that are doing the plucking, though there may be others... Need to set up camp out side the run and watch more. Any suggestions?

    I heard white vinegar in the water can help, and perhaps sunflower seeds?

    Thanks all!
     
  2. spotstealer

    spotstealer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2011
    Poynette, WI
    I had the same thing happen to me just this past week. It coincided with them starting to lay eggs. Four out of my six had this happen to them. There was no blood drawn but they have bare spots just in fromt of their tails. I checked for fleas and lice, i haven't seen any. I gave them a spray of blu kote just to be safe. As soon as I did, the others tried to peck at it! Anyway, after they realized it wasn't edible (I don't know what flavor it has, but they shook their heads after tasting it! I also found out it stains my skin, it was the first time i had to use it. I'm sure it will wear off, but I have a partially puple hand now. After saying all that, it sounds like yours may be a bit young for laying? I thought it may have been that one bird was trying to get the other out of the nesting box as the girls seem healthy otherwise.
     
  3. cointoss

    cointoss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 1, 2008
    Gaylordsville, CT
    Hmm, interesting... they might be hormonal, could be! They are definitely young for laying, though a few of them have been going in the nesting boxes this week and burrowing in. They have DE in with their feed and their litter, and no mites that I can see... I read somewhere that talcum powder sprinkled on all the birds can help, too (something about changing their smell, I think). Getting a flock block today, and keeping up with the vinegar, hopefully that will help! Also going to add some more protein, just in case something's off there, though they get more protein than my other girls ever did...
     
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Stop the corn scratch, insects, forage, and DE. Eight week old chicks need only be fed starter/grower feed, it has the recommended minerals and vitamins needed for growing pullets. Switch to layer feed at around 18-20 weeks old. They should be provided grit sprinkled around their feeder. You can put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV) into a gallon of water and provide them with that to drink. All this other stuff isnt necessary as their innards are still developing and they cant handle the 'extra' stuff you're giving them. Put some Vicks vapor rub on their tail feathers to deter feather picking, it wont hurt them.
     

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