Feather Picker

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickensforkids, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. chickensforkids

    chickensforkids Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2015
    I have a feather picker in the flock and I'm having a hard time determining who it is. I'm on this vacation this week and I've been observing them as often as possible, and other then the occasional squabble (where no feather picking occurs, just chasing) they are for the most part peaceful.

    How in the world to I figure out who it is? The one that seems to do the most chasing has the most missing feathers.

    I've upped their protein to 18% because I'm not really finding feathers in the coop so I'm assuming that the picker is eating the feathers. I've given them things to do, they have a really big coop, and a large run. I'm just not sure of what to do that this point!

    Any ideas?
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    More info needed:
    What is 'really big' in feet by feet?
    How many birds?
    Age of all birds?
    When were birds added together?
     
  3. BriCunningham

    BriCunningham New Egg

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    I'm actually having that same problem, gonna follow this post
     
  4. chickensforkids

    chickensforkids Out Of The Brooder

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    The coop is a large shed converted into a coop. The floor is a 10X12. The roosting area goes along two of the walls and is big enough that over half of the roost they don't even use. The enclosed portion of the run is about twice that, and then we have another section attached to it that the chickens have access to daily that is about 10X20. We have 5 nesting boxes, and there is never a line waiting from what I've observed, but I have a six that we we use for storage that I could open if needed.

    We have two sources of water. One in the enclosed run, and one in the big run. Two sources of food, both in the coop, but separated enough that they can't be guarded.

    We have 18 chickens(4 of them are bantams), they were introduced to each other last fall when the older group was about 15 weeks and the younger group was around 6 weeks using the playpen method. No problems were observed at that time. They're all less then a year old.

    I did have a chicken this winter that I observed picking feathers and eating them. I separated her from the flock for a couple of weeks, once again using the playpen method. I have not observed her picking feathers again since, but she is my biggest suspect due to her past.

    I have another chicken that picks on the bantams, especially the silkies. She will occasionally pull feathers, but she is the worst picked chicken in the bunch. Could she pick on everyone and pick her own feathers? I haven't seen her picking on anyone else other then the bantams though.

    At this point I'm ready to just figure out who the feather picker is and remove them from the flock.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Good info...plenty of space..minor pecking order stuff.
    Bantams and silkies are often better kept apart from large fowl.......but many also keep them together.

    Might take a while for the higher protein feed to take effect, especially if they get other foods.

    Best of cLuck figuring out who the culprit is.
     
  6. chickensforkids

    chickensforkids Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been feeding the higher protein for a couple of months, does that sound like it could still potentially be the issue?
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Month should be plenty of time...are you providing other foods too, that might be diluting the higher protein.

    ETA: my protein works out to be about 17-18%.

    My Feeding Notes: I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016

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