Feather Loss Help!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lizardboy55, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. lizardboy55

    lizardboy55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2011
    Hello All,

    I have two hens who got their butt feathers pecked out by the other girls. I'm assuming she broke an egg and got it on her feathers. Anyway, she starts to grow them back but the other hens peck them out. She now stopped laying eggs, which I figured was coming anyway. My main concern is when they molt. They will molt in October (even though its February) and then its winter and they still wont have any feathers if they do what they are doing now. They are locked up in their run because there is snow all over the ground. Could they be bored? I had one loose feathers this past summer but grew them back within two months or so, but those were under her where the hens could not see them. My other concern is the ones with butt feathers missing are now going after the other four girls feathers so their butts become bare too which I do not want. How can I prevent this? I feed them a good layer mix (Brodhecker Mash and Purina Crumble) and oyster shells in their feed as well. Could they be doing this out of boredom? Any toy ideas? They are about eleven months old. Almost one year[​IMG]

    Thanks For All Your Help!
     
  2. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Yep, it could be boredom. It could also be a lack of protein in their diets, or plain old naughtiness!

    As far as boredom goes, the main culprit is lack of personal space. How many birds do you have all up, and how big is the area they are cooped in? If that checks all the boxes, some boredom busters you might like to try are:-

    * A series of different sized wood stumps to jump on

    * Multiple roosting bars of differing heights

    * An old tree branch to hide in

    * Some large tubes or tunnels to play hide and seek with

    * A cabbage or bunch of spinach hung just out of reach (so they have to jump for it)

    * Some frozen fruit (such as grapes) or some fruit pieces frozen in blocks of ice

    * A treat ball (sort of like a cage filled with treats they can coax out)

    * A sideways hung ladder to climb on

    * A swing hung from the roof

    * Other treats such as a bowl of cooked oats or some yoghurt (food is King with chickens!)

    * Your company [​IMG]

    You might also want to consider adding some extra protein to their diet. It may aid in preventing feather picking (a lack of protein will often manifest this way) and also help enable them to grow in some new feathers. Protein might include meal worms, some left over sandwich meats, or some cooked egg.

    If all else fails, try and figure out which bird is the leader as far as pecking goes. It may be that she needs to be sent to time out for a bit to knock her down a peg or two. What behaviours one starts will often lead he others to follow.

    - Krista
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  3. lizardboy55

    lizardboy55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2011
    Okay thank you so much! It must be boredom. I have six girls and the coop can fit nine. I will try these ideas, they are very helpful. I will let you know how they do!
     

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