Chickens continuously eating feathers off each other!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kerstina, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. kerstina

    kerstina New Egg

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    Nov 23, 2013
    Hi,
    So I'm new to the chicken world!! I have 8 Rhode Island Reds and no roosters. I don't let them free range because we live right up against the woods so it wouldn't end well. I've had them almost 2 years. This past summer I noticed they were picking feathers off each other and eating them. I came to this wonderful site and found that it might be a protein deficiency so I changed their food. I also give them the black sunflower seeds, boil eggs and crush them shell and all, and give them all sorts of left overs that have protein. They also get weeds and grass. They're still eating the feathers off each other. So now I'm getting 0-4 eggs a day because they're continuously molting. I don't know if they're bored. They have about 120 sq feet outside to roam around that's protected and a good sized coop. I live in NH so my chickens really need feathers for the winter. I don't know what else to do. I like having chickens but I just want them all to have feathers!!!! Thanks for the suggestions!! Kerstin
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Sounds like your supplements are good.
    What is their primary feed?
     
  3. kerstina

    kerstina New Egg

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    Nov 23, 2013
    I feed them Poulin feed and it's the Egg Production Plus.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Are they getting a lot of scratch grains?
     
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You can put pinless peepers on them to see if you can break them of the habit- they work for some people to stop feather picking. Others not so much. I have never used them but have read if you soften them in warm water they are applied more easily.
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Try feeding a pound of diced raw calf liver or raw lean hamburger meat twice a week for a month. A can of dog food may also be used instead of the beef but the raw beef is better for them.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You're embarking on a quest that is frustrating and never-ending. In short, feather-picking has many causes, no cure, and only short term reprieves.

    You might read what I and many others here have discovered about this problem. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...le-cure-for-feather-picking/380#post_12356835 It will, at the very least, give you a head start without wasting time trying to re-invent the wheel.

    Recently, it was recommended we try Nature Wise Feather Fixer, an 18% protein feed for re-growing feathers. It remains to be seen whether this rather expensive feed will stop the feather-picking, though.

    I am also trying fermenting my feed for my flock to see if that might make a difference in mitigating the problem of feather-picking. I just started a bucket last night so I haven't fed my flock any yet, but I'll be posting all results on the thread.

    I recommend you get the pinless peepers, install them on the known culprits, and that should stop the picking for the present. This will buy you time to explore all the possible causes of your problem and ways you might solve it.
     
  8. kerstina

    kerstina New Egg

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    Nov 23, 2013
    Thanks to everyone for their input. I have some work to do!!! I don't feed them scratch grains. Maybe I should. I will try the raw beef and check out the articles!!

    Thanks again!!!
     

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