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Feather-pecking son-of-guns

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kelly0619, May 9, 2016.

  1. kelly0619

    kelly0619 New Egg

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    Sep 16, 2014
    Hi~
    I have a flock of 11 (now 10 chickens in my backyard). I have been dealing with feather pecking for over a year now. I've tried different things: Blu-Kote, chicken saddles, adding kitten food and meal worms for protein, adding "stuff" to do to entertain them. The coop is large, the run is long. The only thing is that nothing natural grows there because well, chickens.

    We just found one dead in the coop. She was the most henpecked one with feather's missing under her chin. I'd separated her 2 weeks ago because I saw her wing was spilling blood from where a feather had been plucked.

    The chicken was lying dead near the fence. Her head was still attached, but her beak looked smashed and her combed looked all messed up. Her abdomen was eaten, but I wonder if the chickens got her down and then a cat or something took advantage of the downed/dead chicken.

    I am really beginning to hate this brood. I hate that they have a taste for feathers. I don't like killing anything, but I'm sick of this behavior and I feel like I'm at my wits end. If they are killing each other I don't know what to do.

    Would they eat a chicken if it was already dead?

    Kelly
     
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't want to discourage you but chickens basic feelings toward each other is either to do lunch or else you are lunch.

    However It sounds to me like you have some serious mite issues. Some mite infestations result in chickens plucking out their own feathers in a failed attempt to find relief.

    I feel like a mammal of the varmint variety killed you hen, likely a possum.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Overrun With Chickens

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    On the MN prairie.
    How big - feet by feet are your coop and run? Too often, coops advertised for a certain number of birds are really only adequate for half the amount. I also don't believe in the "square feet per bird" rule. Watch your flock. Feather picking is one sign of over crowding. Do they ever get to range in your yard?
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    How 'large' in feet by feet?
    Ha! bobbi-j and I tyng at same time!

    Also, exactly what and how are you feeding?

    Could be several issues contributing to your issues.
    More info would help us help you.
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Overrun With Chickens

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    On the MN prairie.

    Well Aart, as a good friend of mine says, "Great minds run amok" :)

    OP, pictures of your setup would be very helpful.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016

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