Feather eater(s)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Nicoliosis5, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Nicoliosis5

    Nicoliosis5 Out Of The Brooder

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    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. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    Jul 19, 2015
    Eastern Shore, MD
    Usually I think it is attributed to low protein or overcrowding/boredom. Can you try separating her for a while to see if that breaks the habit?
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Once feather picking becomes a habit it can be hard to break. I too would separate the offender out. I would also switch to a higher protein feed than layer. Often hens get depleted on layer, especially after a molt and winter. Hens don't need layer ration. I feed a all flock or a non medicated starter grower with a protein content of 18-22%. A separate bowl of oyster shells will take care of the extra calcium needs.
     

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