cannalbalistic rooster?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 8wishbonechicks, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. 8wishbonechicks

    8wishbonechicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 24, 2009
    I've already separated the roosters in different pens. They grew up together. When I observed their behaviors for a week while free ranging something weird happened. The 24 week old barred rock rooster would sneak up behind the 24 week old white/brown mix rooster and grab his feathers until they are pulled out then chase him all over the yard.[​IMG] Then he would eat them.[​IMG] I thought this might be a one time deal but he did it again today. Why are earth would a rooster eat the feathers? Maybe he tasted blood? My barred rock rooster will chase the white/brown rooster and the 16 week old hens until he pulls out feathers. I know roosters will try to be the dominant one of a flock by fighting but eating feathers? I had to separate them b/c the mix rooster is a gentleman to all of the hens and he would come up to anyone for a treat. A trait I like to keep, for breeding in the spring. Any info is very appreciated, thank you.
     
  2. chickensducks&agoose

    chickensducks&agoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't know, but I just caught my Khaki campbell duck grab and eat a beakful of feathers from my pekin... so here's a BUMP!
     
  3. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    Often feather eating is a sign that the birds diet is lacking in protein. Try feeding them meal worms, fish, canned dog food, etc.
     
  4. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think for now, it would be wise to keep him seperate until you find the cause of this and prevent it further. Chickens are sheep. They will watch what one does and if curious, try it for themselves. I've had trouble with feather picking in the past and it spreads like a disease. But the good news is that it is possible to resolve, depending upon the reason it started.

    It could first mean that the rooster is justing showing the picked-on who the boss is. A simple way of getting what you want to to hurt someone else. Eating the feathers could be a way of re-enforcing the attackers' dominance. But, yes, cannibalism is out there and has happened to others before. Feather picking leads to cannibalism, which is why you must find the reason why this started. I don't know how likely it is that the rooster all of a suddens want to eat another chicken. No justification there.

    Chickens aren't the smartest but it doesn't take long for them to figure out that if someone is pecked, they bleed, and blood tastes good. [​IMG] [​IMG] At least to them. Bloodthirty animals, really. My flock had this trouble last year, where they would peck feathers and sometimes, the picked-on ones would bleed.

    Sometimes it can mean that they don't have enough space or are bored. Make sure there's enough room for everyone and they have enough to do. That can be ruled out quickly. Is your hen to roo ratio good? Too many roosters and not enough hens could also cause pecking.

    For my group, I solved the problem very fast. I started putting more protein into their diet and the pecking stopped. Gamefowl feed is very pricey, so even some black oil sunflower seeds mixed into feed is a way to add protein. If the problem is dominance, there are other ways to take care of that. Try and watch what's going on first. See what happens. I think the most significant info is the eating of the feathers.
     
  5. 8wishbonechicks

    8wishbonechicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 24, 2009
    Thank you for all your info. I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner with all the Christmas shopping I had to get done. I have 4 Wyandotte pullets that should start laying in January, 1(2 year old) RIR hen and 3 roos. I think its a dominance issue, but I'll increase their protein. They currently eat Purina hen laying pellets, scratch, any table scraps, bread treats and what they can find free ranging in the winter b/c we haven't received snow yet. Oh we let them eat the remaining tomatoes that didn't ripen in the garden. It's funny to see how high they can jump for a tomato. Meal worms and crickets I will buy for them. They sure did love the warm bowl of oatmeal this morning when the temps were in the 30 to 40 range. Anyway, thank you for responding to my post and I'll increase their protein.
     
  6. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    It sounds like you are taking very good care of your birds and with what you are feeding I don't think there's a protein deficiency. It's more likely a dominence issue. Should it start to become excessive try removing the offending bird for a couple of weeks. So times that will the flock dynamics. Have a wonderful xmas. [​IMG]
     
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Actually, I have many girls who will eat feathers and I know for sure they are not lacking protein. It's just a habit for some. I have one hen who routinely plucks the saddle feathers out of her rooster. She always has and eats the same as the rest of the flock--it's just one of Olivia's little quirks she has. Mine get little in the way of human food/scraps, ever. We eat those ourselves! However, if you feed them lots of starchy, low protein stuff, they could get a protein deficiency.
     

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