Chickens pecking feathers entire flock's back and lower bodys completely bare

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chicken_Sue, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. Chicken_Sue

    Chicken_Sue New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Apr 29, 2011
    Our flock have been pecking fluff from each other all summer all my hens have bare butts. As the molt started I had to separate one that started first since she was being pecked of her new growth. She is now the prettiest of the flock but I cannot put her back into the flock. The others attack her climbing into her back pinning her down almost like cocks fighting. I am almost at the point of culling the whole flock and starting a new flock this spring. What can be done to stop this behavior? Also what can be done to stop this behavior from starting again in a new flock if we do start over?
    Susan
     
  2. QuirkySue

    QuirkySue Chillin' With My Peeps

    205
    3
    71
    Sep 19, 2012
    BC, Canada
    I'm still really new to chickens and this forum, but I found quite a bit of helpful information using the search to deal with feather picking. I had one that would pick and eat feathers. I almost and maybe should have culled it then but I wanted to try everything else first.It started with one pecker but the others learned quick. I now have two pullets removed and placed in their own bunny hutch to heal and grow back their back and butt feathers.

    I tried stop pick hot red sauce, two or three times a day, then pine tar which was awful messy and sticky, which worked for a day until the nasty things just found a different area to pick without tar. Then I read it might be a protein deficiency so I upped their protein with better feed, less scratch and veggie treats and more BOSS and meat treats. I scatter them in sawdust or hide under fine hay so they really have to work to find them and it keeps them occupied. So far no more picking. Even from the original instigator. My next thing to try would have been those pinless peepers. I might try putting saddles on the weaker pullets before I try to reintroduce them. Sorry so long! Oops!
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  3. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,679
    289
    201
    Jun 29, 2012
    Kansas
    Out of curiosity, how old is your flock? Is there a chance you have a few "surprise roosters" that haven't developed out enough yet to be recognizable?

    Otherwise, like the above poster said, you might want to try adding more protein to their diet and giving them more enrichment activities. Chickens get bored, and when they get bored (just like with little kids) they get destructive. Hide treats in their bedding, hang a mesh bag in their run with lettuce or other goodies in it. Give them places to hide, perch, and explore. Not only will this give them more to do, it will give harassed chickens a place to hide from their bullies. Switch things around every now and then to keep them interested, and they should become more inclined to hunt for treats and explore than pull the feathers off of their flockmates.

    Here's a good page for ides on how to keep your chickens busy: http://www.squidoo.com/Chicken_Toys
     
  4. Chicken_Sue

    Chicken_Sue New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Apr 29, 2011
    I have been feeding them 20% protein feed since spring. I have not seen any difference in feather eating. I will try some meat scraps to see if that makes a difference. Thanks for the suggestions Susan
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by