Another Feather Butt Pecking Thread...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sunnysidedown, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. Sunnysidedown

    Sunnysidedown Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2014
    Hi Folks,

    I've read several threads here and on the injury site about this problem and suggested solutions. My situation is 5 hens with lots of living/run space, little or no stress. But 1 Buff is pecking the other 4 hens butts and neck areas and will not stop it. This 1 Buff is the only one doing the butt pecking and it's the only one left with a full cover of feathers. I've scolded it repeatidly without success. For the past 3 days I have separated this Buff from the other 4 hens only to allow it to roost with them after dark. But as morning comes it immediately starts pecking the butts of the others, and they do not fight back!

    For now I am going to keep it isolated and not let it roost with the others at night. If after a week when re-introduced to the flock it still pecks at butts I will allow it to free range during the day before isolating it at night. If nothing else a hawk will take care of it for me. In the meantime I will shop for the recommended ointments (Blue Coat / Stop Peck) to heal the damage already done. Once I get the pecked hens medicated I may try to see if the ointment deters the pecking. I hope to come back here to let you know how/if it works.
    Still open to any ideas....
     
  2. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you noticed if she's eating the feathers? There may be a protein deficiency.
     
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Tn
    There may be a protein deficiency, what is the protein percentage in your feed? Also, if its winter where you are, it might just be boredom. Or, she could just be a bully, some birds just have bad temperaments and are predisposed to aggressive behaviors.
    Separating her may knock her down to the bottom of the pecking order and stop the feather picking, or not. You might also consider something like a flock block or hanging a cabbage to give her something else to pick at. Another option is Pinless Peepers, they're like little chicken blinders, to keep her from being able to target her victims as easily. Pin tar applied to the picked parts of the other birds might also curb her habit a bit.
    There are lots of options to try to put a stop to her behavior, but in the end, you might find that its just become a habit of hers. You could rehome her, just make it absolutely clear that she's got issues (though a move and new flock mates may set her to rights as well).
    Good luck, I've never dealt with a feather picker and I hope I never have to. One thing I've learned about chickens is they're creatures of habit. And, once they get something stuck in their beady little heads, its usually pretty difficult to break them from it.
     
  4. Sunnysidedown

    Sunnysidedown Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, the Buff is eating the feathers. But it gets the same layer feed diet as the other 4 hens which do not eat feathers. All 5 hens also get plenty of "greens" and hi-protein snacks each day. I have read that feeding it a little meat might help? Open to other suggestions.
     
  5. Sunnysidedown

    Sunnysidedown Out Of The Brooder

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    Howfunky, it's 16% protein layer feed. No animal protein products in the ingreds. Maybe I should up it a bit? But I think this pecking Buff just does it because it can and it likes it.
     
  6. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since you are feeding greens, it may help to switch to a higher protein feed. My local feed store has a 20% pellet that is both cheaper than the big brands and is made with animal protein. It's not a layer ration so I offer oyster shell but I chose it because I also feed 3-4 pounds of mixed fodder each day and a few handfuls of scratch.
     
  7. Sunnysidedown

    Sunnysidedown Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Nupe, that's a good idea as I do give them fresh collards almost daily and that probably takes them away from the regular feed. I believe that my local feed store stocks pullet feed too at 18%? and will check to see what they have to offer in the way of high protein poultry feeds. I also offer ground oyster shell and grit on their menu, it's feeder is mounted separately for easy picking when they feel the need. Here on the east coast it's gonna get brutally cold all next week so the extra protein won't hurt.
     

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