EE's eating each other's beards! what the hey!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by technodoll, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My poor beautiful easter egger hens [​IMG]

    In the past two-three weeks they've gone from having thick gorgeously feathered beards to having NAKED CHINS!! [​IMG]

    What is happening?

    Are they bored and playing "pluck the feather"??

    How can I stop this?

    They look horrible right now!

    This is only happening in one flock, the other flocks are all normal - so what gives??
     
  2. paisleycj

    paisleycj Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:We had trouble with our hens picking at our rooster's neck this winter. We dusted him, and the hens with diatomaceous earth for mites. It seemed to help considerably. we also gave them better lighting, and started them on a natural vitamin and mineral supplement. My hubbie thinks the diatomaceous earth helped the most.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  3. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I forgot to mention that I checked everyone and they have NO lice or mites - I treat them regularly with Ivermectin to make sure of this, too.

    They have all been dewormed last week.

    They live in a huge barn with plenty of windows for natural light, plus the lights are on in the barn from 8am to 8pm just to make sure there are no dark corners.

    They have lots of space, treats, amusement parks to hang out in, great food with plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, meat, seeds, etc.

    They are all laying well and everyone is in good health.

    Of my 60+ chickens only these few easter eggers are eating each other's beards and I wish I knew why.

    Nothing has changed in their routine since early December [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I have a little EE who started showing a fondness for plucking her mates' beards and necks. I started giving her a tablespoon of canned tuna every other day, and it really helped.

    If it's the entire flock, what you can do is feed them flock raiser with their layer feed to increase their protein intake. Mine all get half and half just as a matter of flock management now. They love the flock raiser more than their layer feed, actually. They get oyster shell on the side as free demand.

    If it's become a habit, it may take a while to see a change. You might try "Pick-no-more", but I haven't found it works all that great, and it's very greasy and messy.
     
  5. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Well, they do get a mixture (50/50) of laying pellets (16% protein) and turkey growth pellets (23% protein) mixed with BOSS, and they get a warm breakfast every morning that contains fresh meat, yogurt, etc. and sprouted lentils for snacks, they love that!

    I was looking at a jar of "Stop Pick" but it says that if the habit is there, it won't work.

    Do you guys think that once they're outside again - end of April until next December - they might regrow their beards and leave it alone?

    Why on earth would chickens do this to each other in the first place [​IMG]
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes. As bad as it seems now, the feathers will grow back, and they will probably lose interest in feather eating as long as they're getting such a terrific diet such as you feed them. Depending on certain factors, they may grow back in the next few weeks or they may have to wait until they molt. I had a hen who had to live with a bare back and shoulders for a year until she molted and all the feathers re-grew. Same with a Brahma who kept eating her own neck feathers.
     
  7. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I sure hope they quit this annoying habit...

    The roo in that pen (1 roo, 12 girls) has also started ripping the lower back feathers off a few hens, he's never done that before (they have all been together since last May). I only have one saddle that fits so they're taking turns growing their feathers back - it's slooow - oh it's so annoying. He never used to have "favorites", now I'm finding chunks of feathers all over the poop board every morning and I don't know why they're doing this.

    I want my beardies back!

    (and yes, I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to feeding the gang - every morning I walk out to the barn with a warm slop bucket freshly made, I cook them grains, oatmeal, recuperate every scrap of fruits and veggies possible, our food leftovers, I get free boxes of scraps from our local produce store, the dogs share their meat with the birds, etc). I go through 4 bags of bread every week, and that's just for their afternoon snack when I don't have fresh melons or apples!

    I don't want to know how much I spend on my 59 chickens! [​IMG]
     
  8. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    My girls gave my brand new, very expensive, Ameraucana Roo a clean shave. It was sooo funny!
     
  9. viktoriacl

    viktoriacl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 4 EE's no roo. They are all getting bare necks. I feel like they are bored! They get all kids of food and treats. I feel bad for them. Wish there was more I could do for enrichment. Hoping for a quick sping to get them out to investigate in the grass again.
     
  10. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I got my flock a gigantic flock block to help keep them amused during the big snow months. It's been a huge hit. They all spend a lot of time chipping away at the big, hard block. They're not expensive and last a very, very long time. I strongly recommend them for bored flocks whose sole amusement is denuding one another. Ask at your feed store.
     

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