Feather Pecking

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Lambydoodle, May 9, 2011.

  1. Lambydoodle

    Lambydoodle In the Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    Hi Everybody

    There were chickens when I moved house last year so I dont know how old my chooks are but apparently some are quite old. I have eight, one looks ex battery, three are East Sussex, one looks like Rhose Island Red and not sure what the other two are, probably a cross.

    The ex battery has always had the feathers missing from her chest and sometimes the skin looks quite sore. The remainder of the chooks have been fine. Up till now!!!

    Now three of them have severely plucked chests?

    I have not changed anything but was worried about them getting bored.

    They are wormed regularly. I clean the coop out regularly and put red mite powder in. They have layers pellets every day and corn and I also boil vegs and put them in, give them small amount of grass cuttings here and there. Put some logs in as they like to peck the bark off etc. Someone suggested marmite! So I am now giving them marmite and bread to give them a boost.

    My egg production is up and not down.
    The chooks are absolutely fine and active but look ghastly.
    I would say the ones with the feathers pecked look thinner than the others but there is no sign of the poops.
    If it is mites I cannot see them.

    Any ideas what I can do PLEASE


  2. Willie647

    Willie647 In the Brooder

    Nov 23, 2008
    Southeast Texas
    Maybe they are just molting?
  3. rungirl

    rungirl Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    Columbus, Ohio
    Sounds like you have a feather picker. Get some pinless peepers from eggcartons.com and put them on the hens that don't have feathers missing and that'll stop it.
  4. Lambydoodle

    Lambydoodle In the Brooder

    May 9, 2011


    I thought chooks moult in the autumn ?

    I will try your sugestion and see how we go - much appreciated.
  5. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I had this happen too once, with the chests being pecked, and I discovered that my small flock had lice. (Very upsetting!) So I dusted them twice and all is well now.

    As one member mentioned, there could also be a feather picker, and you can discover who it is by just watching.....And the feather picker is usually the hen that is not pecked....(They don't usually pull their own feathers...)

    Sometimes this is caused by chickens being too crowded, or they could be bored, or they could be needing more protein in their diet. (Feathers are mostly made of protein, so chickens will sometimes eat the feathers.....)

    Good luck to you,
  6. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Their diet sounds too low in protein. Layer feed is usually minimum protein, and things like bread, corn and veggies lower it more. I think you'll have your best luck supplementing with animal source protein. Scrambled eggs are good if you can spare them, canned mackerel, table scraps with meat, whatever.
  7. Lambydoodle

    Lambydoodle In the Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    Dust for lice and scrambled eggs it is then.

    Thanks for your ideas everybody. Will let you know how I get on.

  8. Lambydoodle

    Lambydoodle In the Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    Just an update as had the vet out (not specifically for the chookies though!) and as I suspected they have scaly leg mite which has not been killed by treating them with the powder I had bought from the local animal stores. I have to pick up some spray which is the same as Frontline for cats and dogs only obviously a lot smaller dose and the vet says this will kill the mites for sure so that is good.

    On watching the chookies for some time (cunning little devils never peck when I am watching) I saw one of the chooks really go for one of the birds big time. The pecked bird just cowered down and made no attempt to get away. Within seconds this bird had half a dozen feathers out [​IMG]

    I entered the run and removed the bully and she is now in solitary confinement although she can see the other chooks she is now in a small run of her own. The chook doing the pecking does not have scaly leg mite apparently.

    I have been told it is unlikely the chook will stop this habit - the run she is in at the moment is only small and U would not keep a bird in it for too long so I am just waiting a week or so and may try to put her back in?

    The vet said everything else was fine and the chooks were happy - he did laugh as I had a kids sandpit for them to dust and sunbathe in though!


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