Chickens picking at themselves???Normal?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ctcasper, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. ctcasper

    ctcasper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2008
    Minnesota
    I have 15 chickens and occasionally I find them picking at themselves, I picked up a couple and inspected around the base of the feathers and didn't see any bugs. They are about 9 or 10 weeks old and are I can see the new feathers they are getting. Do they itch when the new feathers are coming in??? Could this be all that is wrong? [​IMG] I did just put new hay in one side fo their tractor and dusted the whole thing with DE..I tried to dust them, but they wouldn't cooperate so that will have to wait till DH gets home to help. [​IMG] Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2007
    Maine
    I think the new feathers itch. All birds will preen themselves, as well and that is probably what you are seeing. I would start getting worried if you see feather loss and/or bug and bug eggs.
     
  3. ctcasper

    ctcasper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2008
    Minnesota
    If it is bugs will they pick more constantly... and will all of them do it?
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Is it picking per se or is it more preening? Bird will spend a good while preening every day. Maybe even a few hours during moult if it's sunny out.
     
  5. ctcasper

    ctcasper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2008
    Minnesota
    how do you tell the difference?
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If they are preening they will go down the length of a feather or nibble at the base. If they are picking, they would generally be pulling out their feathers.

    Kind of like:



    Except not nearly as delicate as these birds do it. :p
     
  7. ctcasper

    ctcasper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2008
    Minnesota
    Thanks so much for the information and video link.... from what I can tell they are probably preening then....there aren't a lot of feathers lying around...although I did see one bird eat a feather the other day, is that normal? Sorry for all the questions, but this is my first batch of chickens...[​IMG]
     
  8. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2007
    Maine
    We've all asked questions before, I still do most days. No one is born a chicken expert. [​IMG]

    They will eat feathers every once in a while. If they start picking at each other or constantly eating feathers, then that usually means you have a protein problem. Eating feathers is just one of those weird things that chickens do...lol.
     
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Along with their love of eating any styrofoam they can find. [​IMG]

    Must be the squeak of their beak hitting the plastic they like. I have to make sure any styrofoam is out of their reach and securely wrapped in bags to be taken out with the trash... 30 seconds and they will have a styrofoam eating party!

    Eating a few feathers is fine, just don't let them "hunt" feathers off others.
     
  10. ctcasper

    ctcasper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2008
    Minnesota
    Mine were eating some leftover pieces of spray foam insulation the DH left lying around the yard last fall the other day.....HEHE....The other day my dog grabbed onto one of them and took off...I yelled at him really loud a few times and he finally dropped the bird...the bird is fine surprisingly.... [​IMG]
     

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