Beard picker

chickenmomma16

Crowing
8 Years
Jul 16, 2012
889
622
256
Buckley, Washington
This is driving me absolutely insane. I was hoping to start showing my Wheaten Ameraucanas but I have one hen who is a beard picker. I recently re homed all my adult birds but 1 (wheaten Ameraucana) hen then I acquired a new breeding quad of Wheatens. It’s not a nutrition issue, I know how it all started... the beard picking was started after a couple hens started egg eating which was started by a blue jay that was caught red handed pecking open the eggs. Egg eaters are gone and I kept one of my older Ameraucanas (who is really like to keep one more season) who is relentless with the beard picking! How can I get her to stop? I’m afraid she is going to teach my new hens to do it too. :he
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
5 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,234
2,843
377
Portland OR
View attachment 1569538 Ugh. Sorry. I wouldn't hold much hope for changing that habit. I've got a couple/few who do this - two sisters who look like naked necks, literally, people think they're naked necks!!! I stopped bothering to correct them. We always know who their friends are because those have bare patches under their chins/front of neck. Not a parasite issue. Not a feed issue-20% protein, no snacks ... Just a handful of obsessive beard pickers- they do it to my rooster too- and he stands there and lets them do it.

Here he is at around 3 months - so he should have a beautiful beard!
View attachment 1569541

The only reason they're not all bare is because we've got too many chickens for them to have picked them all clean. Very frustrating! If you're looking to show, you may have to put a pair (that don't pick the beards clean) in their own area together to have any hope. As for whether they'll teach it to the younger birds- it's hard to know. In my flock it's the darn leghorn mixes and their daughters!

View attachment 1569537
 
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chickenmomma16

Crowing
8 Years
Jul 16, 2012
889
622
256
Buckley, Washington
try boredom busters like making seed rolls out of toilet paper rolls and peanut butter and cabbage pinatas held by a string. These activities hopefully occupied their beaks on a cabbage and not some other flock members beard!:lol:
Hope this helps!
I’ll try something like that when they are locked up... but they are getting near daily free range time. She will sit under a bush (free ranging) and pick the rooster and the new hens beards.

It looks cute like she is “grooming” them and everyone integrated so good and everyone became friends really fast. But you would think it would hurt! They flinch and everything but just stand there and let her pick their beards. :rant
 

chickenmomma16

Crowing
8 Years
Jul 16, 2012
889
622
256
Buckley, Washington
Ugh. Sorry. I wouldn't hold much hope for changing that habit. I've got a couple/few who do this - two sisters who look like naked necks, literally, people think they're naked necks!!! I stopped bothering to correct them. We always know who their friends are because those have bare patches under their chins/front of neck. Not a parasite issue. Not a feed issue-20% protein, no snacks ... Just a handful of obsessive beard pickers- they do it to my rooster too- and he stands there and lets them do it.

The only reason they're not all bare is because we've got too many chickens for them to have picked them all clean. Very frustrating! If you're looking to show, you may have to put a pair (that don't pick the beards clean) in their own area together to have any hope. As for whether they'll teach it to the younger birds- it's hard to know. In my flock it's the darn leghorn mixes and their daughters!
We also feed a 20% w/oyster shell, some veggie snacks, and free range time.

Wonder if those peeper “glasses” things would work for this situation? Anyone use them for beard picking?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,008
125,656
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Have had beard pickers, despite good protein and no crowding.
Seems to be a mutually rewarding activity as the picked stands there and tolerates it, SMH.
You could try the blinders....or isolate the picker.
Chances are beards won't grow back until after a molt.
 

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