Chicken Foot Plucking

Flowerchickie

In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2020
13
12
39
Washington PNW
So my lovely top hen my buff Orpington just recently developed the habit of yanking at foot feathering. She will yank at my Sultans feet pulling out the feathers and make her bleed. She doesn’t eat them either. They have a 176sq ft run for 4 chickens with 2 large dust baths and a playground I built for them. They also have a small chicken yard so 500sq ft all together. The girls are over 1 year old and have been together since chicks. She isn’t a bully chasing her around all the time. If my Sultan is sitting/standing and her feet are exposed and my buff is nearby she will start yanking on them. I tried blue kote and that doesn’t work and no pick from rooster booster is just messy. After a particularly bad episode I threw her in the pen that I was using for some new chickens. I really don’t want to use pinless peepers on her. Would I be able to keep her in the pen for a while to hopefully get her to stop this bad habit? None of my other chickens have this issue or anything like that. This has been going on a couple weeks only.
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
127,525
401,537
2,027
New Jersey
Hopefully keeping her separated will break the habit, but if Pin Less Peepers become necessary, they can be removed after the habit is broken.
 

Flowerchickie

In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2020
13
12
39
Washington PNW
A few weeks ago my buff Orpington started going after my Sultans foot feathers pulling them out and making them bleed. I separated her into a pen next to the run. She was in there for a week and I let her out and she still goes after foot feathers. I put her back in the pen and am upping her protein levels with fish eggs and grubs and only giving her crumbles and nutridrench in her water. I used to give my chickens a lot of scratch and have cut back a lot so they only get a small handful once a week. None of my other chickens have an issue with my Sultan and they all grew up together. I feel like this all started when I put both my barred rock and australorp in cages in the run for a few days because of broodiness, so my sultan and buff were running around alone and sleeping together alone. I tried blue kote and rooster booster anti pick. She doesn’t chase after her to pull her feathers, just if she is nearby she will walk over and start yanking.

Their run is 176sq ft with perches I built and 2 extra large dust baths and they have a small chicken yard so 500sq ft all together. Could this be a nutrition thing or a bad habit thing?
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,450
13,074
656
western South Dakota
If I read this correctly you have 4 birds? How old are they?

As you are finding out, being raised together has little effect on chicken behavior. It might be either a nutrition thing, or bad habit.

What is the reaction of the bird being plucked? I had a rooster, that his hens would pull his neck feather, especially his muff. They kind of preened him, but he seemed to love them.

If it is causing the plucked chicken not too eat, or to hide out, or to be pursued relentlessly, you are going to have to do something. Either separate the birds, which did not work, or some put pin-less peepers on the plucker with very good results.

Mrs K
 

WhtRos2

Songster
6 Years
Dec 27, 2014
51
63
117
Rock Island, IL
I would suggest separating the chickens first for a few weeks. I've done this a couple times. I kept a chicken in a separate pen for about 6 weeks. When I put the problem chicken back in with the others, the dynamics somehow changed and the problem was solved. I've put the peepers on a bully hen for several months. When I took them off, she immediately went back to her old ways. And the peepers went back on a couple days later. Dang.
 

Flowerchickie

In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2020
13
12
39
Washington PNW
If I read this correctly you have 4 birds? How old are they?

As you are finding out, being raised together has little effect on chicken behavior. It might be either a nutrition thing, or bad habit.

What is the reaction of the bird being plucked? I had a rooster, that his hens would pull his neck feather, especially his muff. They kind of preened him, but he seemed to love them.

If it is causing the plucked chicken not too eat, or to hide out, or to be pursued relentlessly, you are going to have to do something. Either separate the birds, which did not work, or some put pin-less peepers on the plucker with very good results.

Mrs K
They are a few months over a year old. My Sultan will stand still and let her peck and pull at her feet, sometimes I hear her squeal and run. Luckily she still eats and drinks fine because she isn't chased by my buff. I'm going to keep them separated for a few weeks. I will do pinless peepers if I have to I just like to try something different first.
 

Flowerchickie

In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2020
13
12
39
Washington PNW
I would suggest separating the chickens first for a few weeks. I've done this a couple times. I kept a chicken in a separate pen for about 6 weeks. When I put the problem chicken back in with the others, the dynamics somehow changed and the problem was solved. I've put the peepers on a bully hen for several months. When I took them off, she immediately went back to her old ways. And the peepers went back on a couple days later. Dang.
Yeah I think a week was not enough time for her to forget, especially since the feather eating has been going on a few weeks. I have her right next to the run so they can see each other. Is that ok or should I move her away? She is such a sweet girl and I love her so much even my Sultan will go sit next to her by the pen because she misses her. She is also the top hen. She isn't a mean girl. I will use pinless peepers if I have to because my Sultan is my baby.
 

seminolewind

Flock Mistress
Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Sep 6, 2007
18,693
4,155
782
Corydon, Indiana
So my lovely top hen my buff Orpington just recently developed the habit of yanking at foot feathering. She will yank at my Sultans feet pulling out the feathers and make her bleed. She doesn’t eat them either. They have a 176sq ft run for 4 chickens with 2 large dust baths and a playground I built for them. They also have a small chicken yard so 500sq ft all together. The girls are over 1 year old and have been together since chicks. She isn’t a bully chasing her around all the time. If my Sultan is sitting/standing and her feet are exposed and my buff is nearby she will start yanking on them. I tried blue kote and that doesn’t work and no pick from rooster booster is just messy. After a particularly bad episode I threw her in the pen that I was using for some new chickens. I really don’t want to use pinless peepers on her. Would I be able to keep her in the pen for a while to hopefully get her to stop this bad habit? None of my other chickens have this issue or anything like that. This has been going on a couple weeks only.
Poor Sultan!!! I have had very good results with smearing antibiotic ointment then powdering with Blue Coat (in the horse isle). It sticks nicely to the ointment. But now I have 9 Houdans and Polish, 6 have pecked scalps. So I'm moving on to pinless peepers. I've used them years ago. They do not hurt and do the job. Don't hesitate to use them.
 

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