Chicken plucking feather and new awns.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mitslanevx, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. Mitslanevx

    Mitslanevx New Egg

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    We got our chickens from egg factory, thus meaning that all chickens were shabby. Now most of them look fine, because it has been around 5 months since we got them, but there is a bad habit in many chickens. They tend to pluck each other, because in factory's they don't have a lot of space and that's their only entertainment.

    About 2 month ago we got a rooster. At the very first day I noticed, that some chicken pluck him. Looked like they wanted to fight. As far as I have seen, it has stopped, but the feathers on my roosters head have been plucked out and new awns can't grow out, because they get plucked out all the time. However, rooster is not the only who gets his new awns plucked out. There are two more chickens, who haven't managed to regrow feathers, due to some chickens plucking their awns.

    About month ago, one of the chickens hatched 4 chicks, but we separated them from flock, so the chick don't get killed. But they are growing quickly and sooner or later we will have to reintroduce them to flock. The problem is following.

    2 days ago I walked in barn and saw an awful thing. One of the two chickens, who haven't regrown their feathers, was plucked so hard, that its tail was all in blood. I was disgusted by the fact, that there is a chicken, who has done that. Luckily, I didn't had to guess the chicken, which was guilty, because of the blood on its beak. Later that day I took that chicken out of the barn and asked my dad to kill it. (By the way, the chicken who was bleeding is fine now)

    However, yesterday and today I have noticed, that there is still some chicken/s who pluck feathers, because there was two awns plucked on roosters head and an awn plucked from one of the chickens with bare tail. Now I am concerned about reintroducing the new chicks to flock, because I don't want them to be plucked.

    I have been considering the idea of butchering most of the chickens, or at least those, who don't look neat, because I have observed, that the less neat looking chickens pluck others more, while tidy looking ones tend to do their stuff instead of plucking awns and feathers. The real question is - is that necessary to exterminate the plucking habit?
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I think your entire flock is deficient in protein, and that may be why you are having this issue. Can you give them some animal protein, cat kibble, or put them on a multi flock feed that is about 20% protein for a few months? What are you feeding them now? How much protein? Where are you keeping them, what are the dimensions of your coop and run? How many birds total???
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
  3. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    You actually have answered your own question....Cull most or all.....A Chicken that was confined in that way always feels confined...Feather pecking was stress related and the sad thing is they will stay that way....Best thing to do is restart with a flock that has no issues...

    Sorry your dealing with this....Best suggestion..

    Cheers!
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    These are good questions, that need to be answered before any viable advice can be given.
     
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  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    As CReally says, these behaviours are responses to environmental stressors, and they have become habitual. Such behaviours are symptomatic of birds not being able to perform their innate behaviours (or be able to do so, in the absence of reward). From the research that i have read, protein levels do not appear as causes of such behaviour - I'm not suggesting that upping the protein would not be helpful - it would, particularly helping with feather regeneration, but it seems unlikely to be the root cause, based on that research at least.
     
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  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I didn’t see anyone ask how much room you have and how many chickens. Overcrowding can be a cause for this behavior. Another cause can be lights. Really bright lights or having light on all the time without giving them some dark downtime can cause aggressive behavior. From reading your post I don’t think either of these are your problem but they are common causes of aggressive behavior so I’ll mention them.

    Unfortunately I agree that feather picking can become a habit. You can try isolating the ones you think are guilty to see if that behavior stops in your flock, but removing them and starting with others is probably your best bet.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    LG did and I reiterated.
     
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  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Yeah, you are right. I missed that.
     
  9. Mitslanevx

    Mitslanevx New Egg

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    We were adding 17,25% protein feed to their grain since we got them. They were plucking each other anyway. Now instead of only grain and nutriment diet, we give them grain with some kind of bird pellets, also we give them bran porridge, adding about 2 teaspoons of additional mineral mix (300g/kg of Ca, 76g/kg of P, 11g/kg of Mg, 1g/kg of Na). As I understand, the proteins aren't the problem of plucking. They live in a hen-house, but we let them out in the mornings. The outside space is around 5m x 15m, while hen-house is around 4m x 5m. They have roost and 6 boxes for laying, mainly 5 of them are being used. There are 20 birds in total.
    I am not native speaker and I am only 16 years old. I am sorry, but I don't understand what you meant with ''..the dimension of your coop and run".

    PS. We stayed in the hen-house yesterday, to see which chicken pluck feathers or are aggressive. There was one chicken, who randomly catched on other chickens feathers and didn't let them go untill it had feathers whit the whole awns in its beak. However, we removed two chickens and I didn't saw any new awn plucked from roosters head today. The problem might be unsolved, but I will check in tomorrow, as I want to give the best for my chickens. At least the new chicks, which grow fast and will need to live with coop in some near future.
     
  10. Mitslanevx

    Mitslanevx New Egg

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    They get the day light and light from 3 Watt led light bulb in evenings, but we turn it off after they have eaten and they get on roost.
     

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