Chickens pulling out other's feather's

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kchopper, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. kchopper

    kchopper In the Brooder

    May 8, 2010
    I have 10 production reds and 8 easter eggers, all raised together since day one. They recently started laying. I have noticed within the last week a few of the easter egger's back's are missing feathers, some have small bare batches. Looks rough, maybe painful. I have recently just seen the other's pecking at the bare spot's. Is this normal behavior? Will it stop? If not, what do I do? Trim beaks, is there a spray or something?, etc....

  2. math ace

    math ace Crowing

    Dec 17, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL
    No need to trim beaks. You need to identify the cause . . .

    Are your birds overcrowded ? ?

    Have you done anything recently different ? ?

    Have you added or removed birds from the flock ? ?

    Have many roo's do you have? ?

    Have you observed a few bullies ? ?

    Have many hens have the bald spots ? ?

    How old are the girls ? ?
  3. Toril

    Toril In the Brooder

    Oct 16, 2010
    Virginia Coast
    There is a spray - it helped when I had a similar problem a few years back, it colored their backs blue so they wouldn't go after the red color, which they supposedly like and continue to peck at...
  4. BorderKelpie

    BorderKelpie Songster

    Mar 1, 2009
    outside Dallas
    I have used the spray before (when my hen was picking on the roo - my birds are backwards lol). It workd well. I also increased protein a bit and started adding foraging opportunities (lawn clippings, veggies from the garden and parrot toys). It gave them something else to do and stopped the picking.
  5. javachick

    javachick In the Brooder

    Jan 26, 2010
    Vevay, IN
    Do you have the name of the spray?

    I have two older hens with a new, but older rooster. The girls liked to pick the neck feathers of the rooster I used to have in with them and they are starting it again with this new guy. They have been without a rooster most of the summer. Could it just be a habit now? I feed a 20% protein layer crumble and mix in a 5 grain scratch and oyster shells a hand full weekly. They get fruit treats depending on what I buy at the store each week. I have the two hens with the rooster in a 4 X 10 foot chicken tractor.
    Kinda confused.

  6. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Songster

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    Normally when I have seen this type problem it was when the birds were either over crowded or they are missing some type of vitamin or protein from their diet. I would try the spray the others have mentioned and then try giving them supliments in their water or enriched feed.
  7. kchopper

    kchopper In the Brooder

    May 8, 2010
    Quote:Shouldn't be over crowded...18 birds in a 20x20 foot run and a 6x12 foot coop, plus allowed to free range periodically

    Haven't really changed anything beside adding an extra waterer and some oyster shell. Also switch to layer feed since they all started laying, has been all organic since day one.

    Haven't added or reduced the flock

    Don't have any roosters

    I have only seen the PR's actually peck at the back of an EE a couple times. I think 3 of my 8 EE's have been pecked on. They seem to be very skittish and distant now. Looks to be getting worse

    I got them all as day old chick's in the middle of May

    Thanks for all the help. Any other info or comments would be appreciated.

    Maybe just try the spray? Where do I get it? Order it? Feed mill?
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010

  8. math ace

    math ace Crowing

    Dec 17, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL
    I don't see anything wrong with your set up and the birds have been together since the first set-up.

    It sounds like the personality of birds - - -some are just jerks . . . . AND there is always someone at the bottom of the heirarchy ladder.

    WITH MY FLOCK, I had a few birds that were being picked on and they were the most submissive ones . . .
    I had a couple of bullies, too. These were strong peronality birds from the beginning and it only got worse whenever they grew up. . .

    First - - add some hiding spots from the picked on birds - - lean pieces of plywood against the fence, large, very large plastic flower pots with the bottoms cut out, etc.

    Second - - add extra waterers and feeders near these hiding spots. IF you have bullies they will not let the others eat or drink.

    Third - - -IDentify your bullies AND REMOVE THEM. Some people try to retrain them, I did not have great success with this. I ended up just selling my hens. They were POL and it was no problem selling them. The two bullies went together to one lady who did not have chickens.

    Fourth - - treat and monitor the injured. Use the no pick spray AND inspect for continued (fresh) damage. If it does not seem to be getting better - - you may have to separate the girls and give them a few weeks to heal. DO THIS AS A LAST RESORT - - anytime you separate the hens from each other - - -there will be the pecking order re-adjustment period (yuck on a bird that had to leave because she was being picked on). At least yours will come back into the flock as a group of three (they won't get picked on as bad). IF you have to isolate them, it would not hurt to boost their protein during this time to help the feathers grow back.

    I had two pol pullets that I had to do this with. The one became my personal baby from all the attention she got during the healing / isolation time. She follows me around like I am her roo [​IMG] She wasn't like that before the injury. SO, some serious bonding can happen during the isolation time [​IMG]
    RobinW161209 likes this.
  9. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    There are a few other possibilities; there could be something missing in their diet in which case I'd recommend poultry nutri drench. It can be purchased at a feed store and add it to their water. It contains vitamins and minerals that they might be lacking. The other possibility is lice/mites. I recommend you visually inspect your chickens, especially your EE's. One last thing; they could be starting to molt and sometimes they get picked on by the others. If it is solely a picking issue (bullying,) there are 2 products you can use to protect the EE's backs; Blu Kote and/or Rooster Booster Black Salve, both should be available at a feed store. You can distract them from bullying by hanging a half head of cabbage in their run in one area and the other half in another area.
  10. kchopper

    kchopper In the Brooder

    May 8, 2010
    My wife picked up a bottle of blu kote from our local feed mill today for under $6. Hopefully it works!!! Thanks for all the replies. [​IMG]

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