Feather pecking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jlgonzo, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. Jlgonzo

    Jlgonzo Chirping

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    I have 8 chickens that are 9 months old now. I have had issues in the past with feather pecking and bullying of one of my Easter eggers when some of the other chickens first started laying. I was able to put peepers on the two culprits for about 6 weeks. That was several months ago. Now I have my two barred rocks and two Easter eggers missing lots of feathers around their tails and vents. The two leghorns and the two buff Orpingtons do not have any missing feathers. I never witness the feather pecking now like I did in the past, so I am not sure who is doing it. They all are laying eggs daily or every other day and eating and drinking well. I am not sure what to do and how to get feathers back on those missing them. They do not free range as there are too many predators, but have enough space in the run. They eat organic feed. I give them some mealworms daily and boiled eggs once a week. I also give them lots of fresh greens. Any suggestions would be helpful.
     
    Melky likes this.
  2. Melky

    Melky Spring has sprung!

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    I would check and make sure no lice or mites. :)
     
  3. Melky

    Melky Spring has sprung!

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    Jlgonzo likes this.
  4. Melky

    Melky Spring has sprung!

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    Limit treats like mealworms greens eggs to 10% or less of diet. What protein is your feed? If on 16% layer feed may consider increasing protein of feed with two separate feeder stations so if hen pecking then those at low end of totem pole can gain access to feed and protein. Sometimes the lower protein makes them hen peck more. I am having a little trouble with the same on one hens head. Saw vet got some topical cream for head. Rest of feathers remain ok just where one hen getting hen pecked. The best I can say for the Cream is it is healing the red and irritated spots. I just ordered peepers myself for my two Buffs who are seen pecking on Hedys head. No sign of pests or other feather loss here. May consider keeping peepers on the bullies. Can also remove bullies temporarily to drop them in hierarchy and reintroduce them which seems to stop bullying behavior.

    See info here. https://www.mypetchicken.com/backya...pecking-one-another-What-should-I-do-H89.aspx
    You can purchase saddles or helmets but that only protects heads and backs. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
    Jlgonzo likes this.
  5. How much space exactly?
    Please go out and measure.
    One feather picker can pick the flock bare in no time. What If you have 2 or 3.
    Feather picking starts due to boredom, space issues and nutritonal deficencies.
    Once the habit is developed, fixing the issue does not stop the picking.
    I have had success with chicken blinders.
    Spend time observing your flock and put blinders on the culprits.
    Leave blinders on for enough time that bare skin is covered by feathers on your flock.
    Then remove the blinders. My feather picker did not return to picking once those tasty pin feathers were all grown out.
    IF you feather picker goes right back to it, cull her. Do not rehome her to de-feather someone elses flock
    Good luck!
     
    Wyorp Rock, sourland and Jlgonzo like this.
  6. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

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    How big is it? 80 square feet minimum for 8 chickens. 240 square feet for 8 is much better. Is it covered?
    I would cut way back on the greens. (Virtually no Protein). A couple times a week is enough, what they consume in 15/20 minutes. GC
     
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  7. Jlgonzo

    Jlgonzo Chirping

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    Can only some have lice or mites and not others?
     
  8. Jlgonzo

    Jlgonzo Chirping

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    Nov 2, 2018
    North Alabama
    I feed the chickens organic layer that is 16%. I am having a hard time finding higher % in organic feed. They have access to the feed all the time and there is enough room around the feeder for all eight. In the morning I give them fermented feed on a large baking sheet that I put a layer of freshly picked greens like kale, arugula or colorful lettuces. At that point they have been up for a bit eating the feed out of their feeder. They then eat all the greens in about 5 to 10 minutes and peck at the fermented feed until it is gone by early afternoon. The mealworms I give about 1/3 of a cup for all eight in the late afternoon. I give two boiled eggs for all eight about once a week. I started doing the mealworms and eggs to increase their protein since I could not find the higher % organic feed.

    They have 140sf in the run that is covered and about 50 in the coop with the roosts raised above it.

    I try to provide as much entertainment in the run by having different level roosts, bringing in logs and stick for them to pick and a hanging cabbage ball on occasion. I am in the run with them at least 3 times a day and never witness any picking like I use to witness specific bullying to one in the past. The to barred rocks seem to have more feathers missing well below their vent heading toward their belly. The one Easter eggers seems to be missing ones on the side of her vent and toward the top of her back. They all are a bit pink but no wounds like what happened in the past. I have spread blue cote with no help. What cream is good to put on the bare skin?

    I wish I could free range as that might help but we are surrounded by woods with owls, hawks, raccoons, coyotes and foxes came when we first let the chickens in the run.

    Thanks to everyone’s suggestions!
     
  9. Tycine1

    Tycine1 Songster

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    Sorry, doesn't work like that; if one has it, they all have it to some degree or another. If you find any, treat the birds, treat their coop, nesting boxes, run, EVERYTHING they touch.
     
    Jlgonzo likes this.
  10. Jlgonzo

    Jlgonzo Chirping

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    Then I think mine is just a feather picking problem as half of my chickens have full feathers everywhere and the other half have missing feathers.
     

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