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Easter Egger beard feather picking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by iheartMT, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. iheartMT

    iheartMT Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 4, 2013
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    I realize there are a ton of articles and threads about feather picking, but I’m wondering specifically about picking Easter Egger beard feathers. Both of my Easter Eggers have lost all their beard feathers under their beaks. I first noticed it on the darker colored one after being gone during Christmas. I started investigating and found no evidence of mites or lice so I suspected feather picking due to cold weather boredom, a lower protein layer food and stress. I recently added a new hen, who is doing great and integrating well, but obviously caused an uproar in their little community.

    Last night while locking them up, I noticed the white EE trying to wipe her neck on the roosting bar. After scooping her up and taking a look, I discovered a good portion of her beard feathers missing as well. Again, I don’t see any evidence of mites or lice and they seem very healthy otherwise.

    I switched to a higher protein feed, added a flock block (big hit!) and have been hanging apples to keep them occupied. I also added some features to their run to help with the boredom. This seemed to help a few weeks ago with the first gal, but now the other one has a naked neck. Any ideas from folks with EEs?
     
  2. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    As far as picking, beard feathers are a place of grooming. In fact, it's common to have a rooster's beard completely plucked clean by his ladies as they groom him.

    I do not know why they would be wiping off on the roosts, however. Are they losing feathers around the vent as well, or just the beard?
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    2 of my EE have also lost their beards. I'm taking a watch and see attitude as it's just that small area. The EE gal who hangs out alone has an intact beard. Hoping that warm weather and free ranging will divert their attention.
     
  4. iheartMT

    iheartMT Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmm, no roos here as we live in town. No other missing feathers as far as I can tell. I'm also hoping warmer weather (feels like April!) and some distractions will help.
     

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