Chicken Feathers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ThechickenIam, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. ThechickenIam

    ThechickenIam Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 6, 2010
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    Hello, I have 20 hens and 3 roosters. These are the friendliest roosters we have ever had in twenty years. The problem we have is on two of the roosters the hens are removing every feather they get hold of on there back sections. One rooster has even his leg feather just about all gone. We watch sometimes and a couple hens are relentless doing this and causing some bleeding. They are all about 10 months old. Can I remove part of their beaks with a dremel tool or what would you folks recomend I do.
    Thanks Kevin
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    De-beaking is a barbaric practice that leads to chronic pain, depression and all the associated health problems. And a Dremel gets way too hot to perform it. I would recommend you invest in some pinless peepers. I just started using them on a feather picker in my flock. They are pretty inexpensive, easy to apply, easy to remove and come highly recommended. I have already noticed a reduction in the picking I was seeing and I have been using the peeper for a day.

    You also may want to add some BOSS and other higher protein foods to their diet. Feather picking sometimes starts as a nutritional issue, but then rapidly becomes a behavioral issue. Once it becomes a habit it is very hard to break. Some chicken toys would be helpful in alleviating boredom. I use flock blocks which are compressed seed cakes in the coop. Those will keep a flock busy for a while. I scatter BOSS in some fallen leaves for them to scratch and pick through. Hanging vegetables (heads of cabbage are a favorite) will also offer hours of entertainment for both the flock and you.

    I hope this helps. Good luck with them.

    ETA-[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
  3. jtl977

    jtl977 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 6, 2010
    I agree with everything CMV said. Something else that helped us was taking a nail file and filling the tip of the guilty girl's beak. It didn't hurt her but took just enough of the beak off to help slow down some of feather removal. (It also made it hurt less when she pecked at me!) Toys also are great but don't waste your money on pet store bird toys- just hang an old CD. Pecking at the reflection will keep everyone amused for hours. Good luck!
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Feather picking can be caused by overcrowding, also. How much space do you have? I would remove the offending hens and let the roos heal up. Or, try removing the roos and keep an eye to be sure the hens aren't picking on anyone else. I know some folks use pine tar, but I'm thinking it's too messy, plus it's cold and hard to spread now. I would not remove beaks, that way leads to all kinds of problems. Personally, I'd cull the bird if nothing else worked.
     
  5. sarjaysar

    sarjaysar cosmic chicken

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    My hens are pretty much free range, i've read that feather pecking tends to be more prevalent in hybrids, I have some black rocks which I think are doing the "damage" even attacking one of my silkies feathers now. The pinless peepers will be going on in next few days.
     
  6. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    I am very pleased with the peepers so far. I have a BO that was decimating my flock over the course of a week- 3 hens have large bald spots, and 1 hen and the roo have smaller spots. I was seeing more damage as each day passed. I put the peepers on her a couple days ago and have seen no further damage. I made some saddles for the girls who had been badly picked to cover the damaged areas. The only problem I noted was that the other birds' initial reaction to the peepers was to try to pull them off her face. So, she got a little picked on her own self. I felt only slightly bad for her after seeing what her picking has done to her mates in a week's time. Serves her right!
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010
  7. ThechickenIam

    ThechickenIam Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 6, 2010
    Pepperell,Mass
    Thanks everyone for the advice. My coop is 8'x8'x8' with sloped roof with two small doors on either end for chickens leading into a 25'x25' pen on each end. I have six laying boxes and they will only use two. When I am home I open the gates from both pens and let them free range all day only penning them up when going out. Currently unemployed so home most of the time. The problem sems to happen only when they are penned up. I have long branches I use for roosting and the ones I have near the roof seems to be where they all like to sleep at night with room to spare. Its amazing watching them one by one flying up that high with such percision. I forgot to say I have 20 hens and 3 roosters. Id like to post some pictures with my post but having trouble figuring what Im doing wrong and could use some help with that.
    Thanks Kevin
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010

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