Chickens Constantly Pulling Out Feathers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KatazmarazDevons, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. KatazmarazDevons

    KatazmarazDevons New Egg

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    Aug 30, 2008
    Our preschool has two hens that free range during the day and are in their housing at night. They constantly pick at one another's feathers or pick at themselves. It is around the wing area and their bottom too. We have wormed them with ivermectin in May. They were checked by a vet who said their feathers break very easily.

    They also like to dig and then roll in the dirt and tan bark.
    Is this normal behavior?

    One of the alum parents said they have "blackhead."
    Their area at night is large enough for more than two chickens, cleaned and scraped every day. It is a brand new barn that was built for them.

    I am new to the list so I hope I am posting in the correct area.

    Thank you.

    Tammy:confused:
     
  2. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Feather picking can be a sign of a lack of protien, what are they being fed?
     
  3. KatazmarazDevons

    KatazmarazDevons New Egg

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    Aug 30, 2008
    They are being fed a diet of premium laying crumbles (free fed), scratch as a treat only, oyster shells, and they free range. A previous alumni parent was on this list earlier this year and it was posted to add, "dry cat food" to their diet. We have been adding a vegetarian dry cat food (in separate container). I would have to find out the name to give you more info on the name.

    Thanks!

    Tammy
     
  4. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Shamong
    Picking to what degree? Chickens are constantly preening their feathers with their beeks. They will also peck each other to show dominance. If there is no blood, then it is normal behavior.

    Chickens like a dust bath and it is good for them. They will dig a hole and dust themselves daily.

    Are there turkeys around?

    What the vet said was weird. Did the vet say their feathers are deficient somehow? Did he/she give you any advice?
     
  5. KatazmarazDevons

    KatazmarazDevons New Egg

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    The chickens are picking at each other's feathers until they actually come out and there is redness and soreness. It is not the normal preening.
    There are no turkeys in the area.

    No, the vet did not explain as to why the feathers broke more easily. I would have to speak with the animal chair person at the time to see exactly what was said. Just their feathers seemed to be more fragile and broke more easily.

    Thanks!
    Tammy
     
  6. KatazmarazDevons

    KatazmarazDevons New Egg

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    Aug 30, 2008
    What is the difference between chicken mash and laying crumbles? All of this could be conincidental, but may have started around the the time we changed to the crumbles in early spring.


    Thanks!
     
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Try feeding them a hard boiled egg a few times a week to really boost that protein, vits, and minerals. Then get some "hot pick" or a bird type anti pick spray to put on the areas being picked on.

    Dust baths and rolling in dirt is normal.

    Mash is powdered feed, crumbles is less powdered, and pellets (which I thin are the least wasteful) are pellets.
     

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