Bumper bits - I just installed one on my hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by azygous, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Flo, my two-year old EE is a confirmed feather picker. She's been wearing pinless peepers for the past eighteen months, having them removed from time to time to see if she had reformed.

    I had been feeding her a supplement and wished to see if it had made any difference in her feather craving. It didn't, since she began shaving feathers as soon as the peepers were taken off.

    So I installed the bumper bit device I had gotten from Britain since they aren't sold in the USA. It's a bit that fits in between her upper and lower beak to prevent her closing her beak all the way.

    Has anyone used these? Can you reassure me Flo will still be able to eat and drink? I feel as miserable as she is feeling , adjusting to this foreign object stuck in her mouth. And all the rest of the flock has ganged up on her for appearing different. I'm feeling guilty for doing this to her. She really is one of my most lovable lap hens.
     
  2. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

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    she will not be able to close her mouth?? yikes, are you sure she does not have teeny tiny mites or something that is why she is picking feathers? sounds a bit harsh to me. :(
     
  3. ChickSter99

    ChickSter99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 3 week old BPR that is a feather picker. She doesn't pick her own. She prefers that of her brooder mates. Would peepers worjs at this early age. I don't want to get rid of her. I don't want to try that thing you're trying. Just curious, why did you change from the peepers?
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I'm curious how they are able to eat properly with that on? Seems like it would drive the bird crazy. Is she picking her own feathers or going after the other's?

    ChickSter99: At only three weeks old, if you have a chick pecking the other's you might want to consider if they are too crowded. You might try getting them into as large a space as you can. Definitely want to nip that in the bud if you can before it gets worse.
     
  5. ChickSter99

    ChickSter99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    cafarmgirl, I have some info on my profile page about the brooder that my chicks are in. I put a post on the forum and got 0 replies. Check it out and see what you think. I don't think crowding is the problem. I just think she's a bully.

    azygous, I didn't mean to interfer with your post. The peeps are realy interesting. I'm an animal lover and I hate to have to 'get rid' of anything, but this chick is so mean and such a bully that Peeps may be what saves her. I'll try to get her some soon. Thanks.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    As of this morning, Flo hasn't been able to adjust to eating with the bumper bit in place. She tries, but can't grasp any food with the contraption blocking the end of her beak. I'm pretty sure I have it installed properly. I'm not going to leave it on her much longer.

    I exchanged the bumper bit for the peepers because Flo had adjusted so well to the peepers she was picking feathers off her mates as if she had unobstructed sight. She began liberating feathers, and has been manic about it, ever since she was about four months old.

    By the way, both the peepers and bumper bits have prongs that fit inside the beak holes of adult chickens. I don't think they would remain in place on half grown chicks. However, I've heard that placing the aggressive chick with adult chickens, supervised so the chick doesn't get hurt, may temper its aggressive tendencies. [​IMG]
     
  7. ChickSter99

    ChickSter99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Poor Flo...she's probably glad to get her peepers back. lol. I think I'm going to try a higher protein feed with my chick. I observed her picking & eating fuzzy feathers when I tried to include her with her "sisters". 18% may not be enough for her (even if it seems to be enough for them).
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Good luck with your chick. When I first noticed Flo picking feathers off others, she was very young. Therefore I assumed, like you and many, that she was having a problem assimilating protein. So I began feedings of canned tuna. This went on for several weeks, but made no difference whatsoever in her behavior.

    I began to closely observe Flo's behavior at different times of the day. She was usually restrained early in the day, but as late afternoon approached, her feather picking picked up until by early evening, she was a manic demon, racing from hen to hen, snatching feathers like crazy. I concluded that Flo's brain was probably wired differently, causing this compulsive behavior, and diet would have no effect on it.

    That's when I resorted to the pinless peepers. It greatly helped, but eventually she became able to pick feathers with great accuracy in spite of the peepers.

    Flo, I might add, has always been precocious and very intelligent. As a chick, she would hop from the brooder onto my shoulder the minute I opened the hatch. After she got her peepers, she would stand by the coop pop hole, looking up at me, calling, "caw, caw, caw" until I lifted the flap so she could go in and lay her egg. She has always responded to her name and comes and hops into my lap when I call her. I love her to distraction.

    I haven't switched her back to the peepers yet since the operation is traumatic for us both. But she looks up at me, imploring me to do something, calling, "caw, caw, caw". I'm heading out now to take the dreadful bumper bit off and restore her peepers, which at least reduce the amount of feathers she shaves from the others. And sometimes, when she's having a really manic afternoon, I simply segregate her, and she heads into the other coop to sleep with the rooster, with no apparent anxiety.

    I would still like to hear from others who may have had any experience with these bumper bits.
     
  9. sarahslc

    sarahslc New Egg

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    I have used bumper bits on two of my chickens for feather picking and more recently when Billie Jean started picking on the new chickens in the flock (having injured another chicken so badly in the past resulting in her being put to sleep I wasn't taking any chances!).
    The first time I put one on her she made me feel so bad and I came very close to taking it off as she seemed so unhappy with it on however I left her overnight and the next morning she had gotton over her strop and was back to her usual self, minus the feather plucking and bullying. She was able to eat and drink no problem.
    I have put one on her again today as we have got some new girls and she stropped in the coup for two hours before coming out and joining everyone else!!
     
  10. Catseyes

    Catseyes Out Of The Brooder

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    Anyone who uses these torture devices doesn't deserve to care for chickens. Disgusted!
     

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