Deficient chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by favoritekitty, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. favoritekitty

    favoritekitty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 10 girls in a nicley sized chicken coop who keep picking on eatother. They only pick off the ends of the chest feathers on eachother so the leads me to believe that this isnt a coop size issue, but a deficiency matter. They also go outside everyday, and are given organic chicken feed at least once a day. I was wondering if any of you knew the protien levels for chickens, or better yet, if anyone makes their own chicken food and knows the exact amounts of protien to give them, and how easy it is to make chicken food? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you [​IMG]
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Well, a couple of question for you.....(Hello by the way).....how old are your chickens? I don't feed organic, but growing chickens need a higher percentage of protein in their feed than adults, so they should be fed a starter/grower or just plain grower food until they are close to laying age. (That's what I do with my chicks anyhow.)

    Another thing that comes to mind are parasites....mites or lice. You may need to examine them closely for these. If you see them, a good application of seven dust to the birds and their environment at least twice will be required. I know you're into being organic, but I don't know of a natural remedy for this.

    Alot of the times, the key to finding out about missing feathers is to just sit and observe your flock. You might be surprised to find that one bully chicken in particular is pecking your flock bald....(get rid of that one.)

    Another thing can be molting.....are they at an age where they could be molting?

    That's about all I can think of.....

    Good luck to you!

    Sharon
     
  3. boogiedog

    boogiedog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You mention they are feed organic feed "once a day". I keep food and water available 24/7. They will eat off and on all day long. (I even keep food and water in the coop - if I'm lazy getting up to let them out they at least can start on breakfast). Mine are in a run, so cannot free range daily, so keeping food always available is key.

    To keep their lives interesting, I also will put out a head of cabbage, and/or some ears of corn scattered around; some scratch and other treats - every single day. I think part of the trick is to keep introducing interesting things for them - they will focus on that rather than pick on each other. (Having worked with animals - exotic and domestic - most of my life one thing I have learned is that enrichment is critical for animal mental health - and picking feathers could be either a dietary defiency or boredom issue- or both).

    Good luck - and let us know how it goes.
     
  4. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Yep, keeping feed available all day long might help the issue. Chickens aren't like gold fish and won't overeat. [​IMG] They eat what they need and move on.

    One other thing I do for mine is give them a handful or two every 2 or 3 days of black oiled sun flower seeds. I don't know if they are organic, or if you can even find them in organic form, but they are excellent for adding a little extra protein to the diet. [​IMG]
     
  5. favoritekitty

    favoritekitty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My girls are on the older end....about 5 years. The parasites on the other hand might be the problem...Ill take a look at them. I know I had problems 2 months ago and I didnt even think of that 'til now. I thought the problem was done when I covered everything in Diatmaceous earth. It seemed to have done the trick, but Ill take another look. I'm pretty sure it isnt molting only because it really is the very ends of the feathers and not the whole things. Thats what gets me....I doesnt seem like a bully thing, either. I've watched them closely for the past week now, and they really only pick on eachother at night when they'll cuddle up in little groups and just pick on eachothers chest....not there heads like a dominent thing, just their chests. And theyll eat the feathers they pick too.
     
  6. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    The fact that they are eating their feathers points to a protein deficiency to me. It very well could be parasites, but I'm betting on the latter. [​IMG]
     
  7. favoritekitty

    favoritekitty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry for the confusion! I just meant when I feed them at least once a day, that I refilled the big feed holder at least once a day everyday. They have food at all times, and we also give them food scraps just about every day. But perhaps there just isnt enough protien in the food itself to keep my chickens happy? Does anyone know of a good place or person who makes their own food, then? I was feeding them black oil sunflower seeds for a couple months, and didnt notice any changes. Should they be an addition to thier diets?

    Also we did have a chicken who had mites that was ill over this winter. After that we did compeltely clean and cover everything in the Diatomaceous earth, and it seemed to clear the problem. I havent noticed any since? We hold our chickens all the time and Im pretty sure I would have noticed some on me.
     
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    There is a number of things that will cause feather pecking.

    Boredom,
    Parasites,
    Low Protein feed, (what is the protein percentage of your feed)
    It could also be the type of protein (is your feed a soy based feed, does it have any animal protein in it) Sometimes a high soy low/ or no animal protein feed will cause feather picking.

    Chris
     
  9. favoritekitty

    favoritekitty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We just checked. Weve been feeding them Green Mountain Grains organic layer pellets with a protein of 16%. First ingredient was corn, second was soy. Probably the problem. We like that its organic, so making home grown food, im guessing, is our only other option?
     
  10. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Quote:If I was you I would dust them with a good poultry dust, then I would find a good feed with some animal protein in it. There are some organic feed that have No soy and with animal protein (fish meal).
    Remember that chickens are omnivores and they should have some type of animal protein in there feed.

    Chris
     

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