Chicken plucking other chickens' feathers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Stargazerranch, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. Stargazerranch

    Stargazerranch Hatching

    May 27, 2007

    One (?) of my chickens is pulling out the lower back and tail feathers of other chickens. Now four my chickens have bare backs and some bloody spots and I'm worried that they will get an infection and get really sick from this.

    Why is the chicken doing it? Boredom? Nutritional deficiency?

    They have a large run and yard time once a day.

    And what can I do about it (killing the chicken is not an option)? Is there anything I can spray on the other chickens to make them less tasty?

    Thanks so much,

  2. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    There could be many reasons for this, such as boredom, aggression, and lack of protein. We had a bad time with plucking this winter when the hens hung out in the hen house b/c they didn't want to go out into the snow. We ended up doing several things:
    --Slathering the backs of the plucked hens with Bag Balm (not Blue Goo or pine tar b/c neither are approved for food animals and we sell eggs)
    --Buying Purina "Flock Blocks" to help with the boredom
    --Supplementing extra protein in the form of cat food, thrown out to scratch to further eliminate boredom
    --Watching the birds for about 4 hours; every time one grabbed another's feathers, I caught them and fitted the culprit with a pair of Pinless Peepers (see the other thread on this page)
    --continuing to watch the flock, and "peeper" any bird I see pluck another one's feathers

    The Pinless peepers have been the greatest thing. It's pretty much stopped the plucking. Some people like a product called Hot Pick that you spray on the hens, but it's expensive.

    You have to stop this NOW. It can devolve into cannibalism. Also, hens that aren't plucking can pick up the behavior.

    I don't think you'll have to eat the offenders.

  3. gratefulchick

    gratefulchick In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I, too, have this problem with one of my 13 girls, no roosters. Thanks, Erika, for the bag balm idea-I haven't heard of that option. I'm going to try it today!
  4. digginchicks

    digginchicks Songster

    Jan 15, 2009
    Sullivan, Indiana
    feed them some blood meal it really is helping my little flock that had all their butts plucked. I havent seen a hen peck anothers since i started feeding them it.

    You just have to mix some up in the feed and thats that [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

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