Chickens plucking feathers out of eachother??

So I’ve got a couple chickensfor the past few months that has had weird feather regrown, has been losing feathers in different areas particularly it’s butt and under its wings. I checked for mites or other critters in the morning, evening, and during the day. No bugs or anything... their diet consists of layena pellets with omega-3 and added oyster shell. I also offer free choice crushed oyster shell on the side (they never eat it from what I see, they seem to be completely uninterested) and I mix small amounts of baked, powdered eggshells on top of the feed. I heard chickens pluck feathers and eat them when they have calcium or protein deficiency(can’t remember which?) but anyways, I’ve been trying to figure out the problem, and just today I went outside and watched the chickens. 2 chickens were lying in the dust bathing area bathing in the dust, and a couple other chickens were standing nearby just pecking them (not hard and definitely not mauling them to death) and pulling feathers. The 2 dust bathers didn’t seem to be in pain, they didn’t squawk like they do when a hen pecks another Hen to establish the pecking order or to get it out of the way. It just seemed to irritate them and annoy them. I inspected the areas on the chicken and saw no blood; just little patches of bare skin when I move the feathers aside and small sprouting feathers where they’ve been pulled. The chickens that were pecking/pulling feathers Off the dust bathers did like they would a piece of grass; they’d slam the feather against the ground drop it and pick it up and mess with it, sorta as if they were trying to eat it. This is not okay; what changes should I make? What should I do? Does anyone have experience in this thread?! Please help; I wanna end this before the possibility of them hurting or killing a chicken arises. They’re my babies 🥺
 

Parront

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Jul 27, 2017
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Birds do not show their pain. Are the ones getting picked on acting normal otherwise? Eating, moving ok? How old are they? What breed - some breeds are more prone to feather eating, like sex-links. Feathers are protien, there are layer feeds that are 17% instead of 16% protien that might help.
 
Birds do not show their pain. Are the ones getting picked on acting normal otherwise? Eating, moving ok? How old are they? What breed - some breeds are more prone to feather eating, like sex-links. Feathers are protien, there are layer feeds that are 17% instead of 16% protien that might help.
My birds have always showed their pain in squawking and making loud noises. They’re acting normal as always. They’re eating a lot of food, they’re drinking like they should, they’re still very curious and love exploring. They’re definitely not lethargic. I got them April 7th 2 years ago at one week old. They’re golden comets, sugar queen, cinnamon queen - whatever name you prefer. I might buy some high protein game bird feed to just throw in there occasionally and offer as a treat. Do you have any idea what could be the cause of the problem?
 

CCUK

Free Flying
Jan 21, 2018
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Have they got enough space? Feather pecking is a bad habit and getting them to stop can take a bit of perseverance. It can be from needing extra protein in which case a feed with a higher protein ‰ will normally stop it but it can also be from boredom or lack of space. If you can allow them more space and put some obstacles or peck blocks or something out that can also work. You can also get no peck sprays to spray on the affected hens. It leaves a bad taste in the perpetrators mouth. It needs to be applied regularly though as dust bathing and rain will clean it off.
 
Have they got enough space? Feather pecking is a bad habit and getting them to stop can take a bit of perseverance. It can be from needing extra protein in which case a feed with a higher protein ‰ will normally stop it but it can also be from boredom or lack of space. If you can allow them more space and put some obstacles or peck blocks or something out that can also work. You can also get no peck sprays to spray on the affected hens. It leaves a bad taste in the perpetrators mouth. It needs to be applied regularly though as dust bathing and rain will clean it off.
I have small blocks of stone and brick in the run for them to mess with. I throw stuff in there for them to pick and toss table scraps and stuff for them. They have about 300 square feet in total. They’re in an in closed run. 7 chickens. They’ve never acted this way in two years. I’ll probably scramble up some eggs to give them in the morning as I’ve heard that helps up the protein and stop pecking.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
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Check for mites and lice at night when they are roosting, with a small flashlight or head lamp. Look at their skin around the vent area, neck, and under the wings. a few mite or lice on one bird indicates that it's time to treat everyone and the coop.
a higher protein diet matters too, try an all-flock diet, with oyster shell in a separate dish.
Production reds seem more likely to develop feather pecking behaviors than many others, which is one reason that I haven't had any here for decades.
Chickens will act 'normal' until they just can't cope any more, and that can be when the bird is actually near death. calling one 'normal' is a guessing game!
Mary
 
Check for mites and lice at night when they are roosting, with a small flashlight or head lamp. Look at their skin around the vent area, neck, and under the wings. a few mite or lice on one bird indicates that it's time to treat everyone and the coop.
a higher protein diet matters too, try an all-flock diet, with oyster shell in a separate dish.
Production reds seem more likely to develop feather pecking behaviors than many others, which is one reason that I haven't had any here for decades.
Chickens will act 'normal' until they just can't cope any more, and that can be when the bird is actually near death. calling one 'normal' is a guessing game!
Mary
I already checked for mites and infestations
 

Ebony Rose

Crowing
12 Years
May 26, 2009
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If you've ruled out parasitic issues, then bullying, boredom or protein deficiency is what's left on the checklist. I'm guessing boredom/deficiency. Must agree with Folly's Place in that chickens survive by hiding their discomfort; One that complains becomes further shunned or bullied by the others, until death. A weak bird threatens the flock, and chickens won't accept that risk.
Look your birds over well at night when lice and mites are more prone to activity. Eliminate that as a source of the problem.
Observe your birds closely, who's at the top of the pecking order? Who's at the bottom? Where do your affected birds fall in that hierarchy? Do your birds have 'toys' in the run with them; things like tree stumps, tires, or even cubby holes to duck into can be a source of entertainment for them. Rocks! Bricks! Blocks! These can be flipped over by you on a weekly basis to give the 'girls' bugs to pick on (instead of each other).
If none of the above seems to apply, then feather picking is likely the culprit, and that could be (is possibly) the issue. This can be eased with a vitamin/mineral supplement (added to their water is the easiest solution), or you can increase their protein intake with healthy, high protein snacks such as the occasional can of sardines (packed in water if you have fat girls, pack in oil if they're on the skinny side). Sometimes you can increase their protein intake simply by not offering treats! Oatmeal, rice, fruit & veggies, 'scratch', corn, etc., all negatively affect their protein intake as the more they treat, the less nutrition they EAT.
Will keep you and your feathered family in my thoughts and prayers, and hoping you find the source of your problem quickly.
 
If you've ruled out parasitic issues, then bullying, boredom or protein deficiency is what's left on the checklist. I'm guessing boredom/deficiency. Must agree with Folly's Place in that chickens survive by hiding their discomfort; One that complains becomes further shunned or bullied by the others, until death. A weak bird threatens the flock, and chickens won't accept that risk.
Look your birds over well at night when lice and mites are more prone to activity. Eliminate that as a source of the problem.
Observe your birds closely, who's at the top of the pecking order? Who's at the bottom? Where do your affected birds fall in that hierarchy? Do your birds have 'toys' in the run with them; things like tree stumps, tires, or even cubby holes to duck into can be a source of entertainment for them. Rocks! Bricks! Blocks! These can be flipped over by you on a weekly basis to give the 'girls' bugs to pick on (instead of each other).
If none of the above seems to apply, then feather picking is likely the culprit, and that could be (is possibly) the issue. This can be eased with a vitamin/mineral supplement (added to their water is the easiest solution), or you can increase their protein intake with healthy, high protein snacks such as the occasional can of sardines (packed in water if you have fat girls, pack in oil if they're on the skinny side). Sometimes you can increase their protein intake simply by not offering treats! Oatmeal, rice, fruit & veggies, 'scratch', corn, etc., all negatively affect their protein intake as the more they treat, the less nutrition they EAT.
Will keep you and your feathered family in my thoughts and prayers, and hoping you find the source of your problem quickly.
Thank you, prayers appreciated, I’ve seen God work wonders from prayers. The chickens being effected I’d say are about middle to just below middle of the hierarchy. I’ve got some forms of entertainment but not much - I’ve been working on that and I’ve got a swing on the checklist haha! I’m gonna start giving them more protein snacks and putting some supplements in their waterer and well see what happens! Thank you all for the advice and prayers appreciated. If it’s just bad habits and feather picking, and nothing else effects it - what then do I do?
 
Birds do not show their pain. Are the ones getting picked on acting normal otherwise? Eating, moving ok? How old are they? What breed - some breeds are more prone to feather eating, like sex-links. Feathers are protien, there are layer feeds that are 17% instead of 16% protien that might help.
I’m gonna say I just learned something. When one pecks another it’s not pain, it’s fear I’m guessing? Or idk maybe I’m missing the entire point
 

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