Feather Pecking?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Erinmir, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Erinmir

    Erinmir Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2011
    West Alexander, PA
    So, one of our WCBPs, Tilly, has had her head feathers coming in somewhat unevenly. When she started transitioning from her chickie fluff to her big girl feathers, she had a little spot that looked somewhat bald. I have the hunch that the others have been pecking at the pink spot they can see on her head. I expected it to fluff up and fill in as the sheathes came off her feathers, but it actually seems worse. There isn't any blood, but the feathers don't seem to be filling in as they should. She is starting to look like a little Friar Tuck! [​IMG] Her sister, Milly has a full fluffy head of feathers, so it isn't just because she has fluffy "hair" that they are pestering her.

    I haven't actually seen them peck her, but the question is, does this look like feather picking? If so, what can I do to stop it?

    Hubby and I upgraded their brooder from a plastic tub (a BIG one) to an old baby playpen today in hopes that more space would give them more to do. They have a roosting stick in the brooder and I scatter some treats for them a couple of times a day to give them something to scratch for. We haven't built our coop yet (this week's project), and short of moving them to a coop, what could I do to give them more to do other than pick at poor Tilly's head?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. mathesonfarm

    mathesonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 17, 2010
    New York
    Are you still using a heat lamp? If so, buy a red bulb, its harder for them to see the spot and they should stop doing it. When one of my chickens were a baby, it had a little black dot of down feathers and the other ones used to pick at it (they probably thought it was a bug or something, lol). I got them a red bulb and it completely stopped. You know that they will aways do the pecking thing, right? Its how they determine the pecking order. You just have to keep an eye on them and make sure it doesnt get out of control. I hope this will help...good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  3. Erinmir

    Erinmir Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2011
    West Alexander, PA
    We took the heat lamp out as it has been very warm here for the last several weeks and the room they are kept in is not air-conditioned. We were using a red bulb though from the start because I had heard that it would reduce the feather-picking. Thanks though!

    Do you think that adding some stuff to play with might help?? If so, what kinds of things are fun to chickens?
     
  4. rungirl

    rungirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 7, 2010
    Columbus, Ohio
    Usually when you have a feather picker you will find the feathers all over the floor. I always assume the one who is doing it is the one who still has all their feathers. They do it when they're bored or in cramped quarters. For me it was winter time during bad weather. You can buy Pinless Peepers and put them on. I got mine online from Eggcartons.com. They're made of plastic. I warmed them up in a cup of hot water so they were easier to bend and work with. I wrapped the hen in a towel and had my daughter hold her still so I could use both hands to put them on. They are held on by the chicken's nostrils in their beak. It doesn't hurt the hen at all. They can still eat and drink with them on but they can't see directly in front of them to pick feathers. That got the picking to stop in my coop. Works great!



    Lisa
     
  5. Erinmir

    Erinmir Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2011
    West Alexander, PA
    Thanks Lisa! I haven't found any feathers in the brooder, so maybe they are eating them? Or, they are being picked at before they even grow in. Hmm... a mystery. [​IMG] Guess I'll have to go on stealth-watch to see if I can catch someone in the act and then get some of those peepers to stop the pecking.
     

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