Feather eater(s)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Nicoliosis5, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Nicoliosis5

    Nicoliosis5 Out Of The Brooder

    May 19, 2016
    New England
    Hello everyone.

    So I've come to the realization that at least one, maybe more, of my hens is a feather eater. We've caught her on multiple occasions pulling feathers out of the other hens and gobbling them up.

    All 6 of our hens have completely bare bottoms. A couple have some scabs.

    We feed organic 16% layer pellets.We also give them a handful of dried mealworms almost every day.

    Over the winter, they didn't get to leave the run much, and it was late winter that this all started. In the past couple weeks, they have been able to be out and free ranging for at least 4-5 hours a day, sometimes all day.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for what to do about this problem? She doesn't seem to be stopping, as i just caught her swallowing a feather about 10 minutes ago.

    We're not opposed to dispatching her if need be, but wanted to know if anyone had success with any other methods.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. coach723

    coach723 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2015
    North Florida
    Switch to a higher protein feed. Sometimes feather picking is from needing more protein.
    Make sure to offer oyster shell free choice all the time in a separate feeder as non-layer feeds do not have the calcium that laying hens need.
    Over crowding can also contribute, as can a bird that's just a bully. I'd try the higher protein for a while and see if you see any improvement.
    You can also try separating the bully out for a couple of weeks to reset the pecking order. Sometimes that works for a bully.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by