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Everyone is pulling out eachothers feathers... WHY?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PinkE, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. PinkE

    PinkE Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2013
    Crawfordsville, Indiana
    My 6 girls are 22 weeks old, several have started laying eggs, my 2 RIReds and my BR, I've been noticing they have been looking a little shabby, their neck feathers and saddle feathers, then I noticed most of all of them had ruffled saddle feathers, I just figured they were jumping on eachothers backs trying to mate, I'm sure there are no roosters so I figured they were just acting goofy, I checked for mites/lice and found nothing, I sprayed them with Poultry Protector and treated the coop and run with DEarth, PDZ, and a little poultry dust as I do every week, they don't free range since we have a nest of hawks nearby. I was watching them yesterday and they were really pecking on the BR, she was just lying there taking it and I had to treat her neck with blukote. I'm thinking it is a protein shortage cause they are eating the feathers they pluck out of eachother. I feed Nutrena Layer feed, I give them crushed oyster shells, and daily treats (corn on the cob, boss, table scraps and apples. What else can I do? Any help would be appreciated. I love my girls and want to keep them healthy and happy, Thanks.
     
  2. Chickmagnet36

    Chickmagnet36 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 14, 2012
    Southern Massachusetts
    It does sound like a protien deficiency, since they are eating the feathers. I've heard of trying the following to supplement their diets for extra protien: scramled eggs, sunflower seeds, wet cat food etc... I've never had to try these personally, but I have heard of it being used by others. Good luck.
     
  3. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    My girls did a mini-molt in January and were not only plucking feathers but were eating the ones that were falling out. I upped their protein by adding sardines and they stopped the feather eating/plucking.

    Sardines are good as they provide both protein and calcium via the bones.
     
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Jacksonville, Florida
    You gotta watch the sodium content in cat food, sardines etc...we all know that too much salt isnt good.
    I recommend feeding your birds gamebird feed which contains anywhere from 22% - 26% protein. Stop the nutrena, and other goodies you're feeding them and go with gamebird feed. Then, when you start running low on the gamebird feed, wean them off them gamebird feed and gradually get them back on the nutrena layer feed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  5. PinkE

    PinkE Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2013
    Crawfordsville, Indiana
    I mixed some mealworms 58% protein with some wet dog food 26%, a couple scrambled eggs and some water, they ate it all plus I threw in a few watermelon rinds to keep them busy and they seem to have backed off their pecking, not completely, but much less than yesterday, Thanks for the ideas..I'll let you know what happens in a few days.
     
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    How much space do these chickens have?
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. PinkE

    PinkE Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2013
    Crawfordsville, Indiana
    [​IMG]The coop is 4X4 and the enclosure is 12X5 we are going to make a bigger run next year. I know it's borderline on the size. The pecking has let up, I also noticed there is a full moon...? [​IMG] maybe that's the problem. They had a cob of fresh corn and a mash made out of shredded wheat crumbs, some of their crumbles, boss, oatmeal, mealworms mixed with water today.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  8. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Do they ever get out? Is their run sitting on cement or is it just an apron? Your space is adequate if you go by minimum standard rules. I always go way bigger. Boredom may be an issue if they are kept in there all the time.
     
  9. PinkE

    PinkE Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2013
    Crawfordsville, Indiana
    The coop and run are sand, hardware cloth buried and outward under the cement pavers. I have a family of Hawks living near, they wouldn't stand a chance if I let them free range, like I said, next year we will be enlarging the run. I took my wild birdfeeders down a while ago, the hawks have picked off too many wild birds, they even pulled the baby sparrows out of their nest house. I figure if I get rid of the wild birds, maybe the hawks will leave too.
     
  10. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    You have a really nice set up! Expansion will help as mentioned. Keep in mind that too much protein can eventually lead to gout, consider moderation. Too much of a good thing can have adverse affects as you know.
     

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