Feather Picker

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Frankie1001, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. Frankie1001

    Frankie1001 New Egg

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    I have 3 hens, Dolly - Black Rock, Bunty - Bluebell and Lilly - White Suffolk. 2 of the girls Bunty and Lilly have bald bottoms all of their feathers have been picked out.. the other girl Dolly has all her feathers on her bottom so we assume she is the feather picker.

    They are all free from mites and are in good health and laying as normal. They have a large coop and large run so space is not an issue and they get to roam the garden on a regular basis.

    I have given them extra protein and adapted their coop and run so they have lots of toys, perches and daily treats to avoid boredom. I don't want to separate the bottom picker as she is a very timid hen and all the hens came to us at the same time from the same breeder. Do you think that this will just pass or can you suggest anything that may stop the bottom pecking.

    Its quite unsightly as they are wandering about the garden with bald bottoms and as we stay in Scotland and the temperature can get to well into the minus I don't want them to catch frostbite.

    Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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  3. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What are your dimensions of your coop and run? It's very common for folks to think they have enough space (because some coop manufacturer told them so) when they really don't. I'm not saying you don't, but if you post your coop/run dimensions, we'd be better able to help you problem solve. Also, what are you feeding them? List all feed and protein %, treats, scraps, etc. What are you giving for the extra protein?
     
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    When it's the butt area being picked clean, it sometimes occurs at roosting time. How are your perches situated? Where do the victims usually perch in relation to where the perpetrator perches?

    Go out to your coop at roosting time and observe them. You may see how it's going down. It may be necessary to rearrange the perches.

    Feather picking can be a stubborn problem with many causes. You really need to observe the flock to see exactly what is happening under what circumstances. Feather picking has temporary fixes, but no known lasting cure is known. Pinless peepers installed on the culprit can help.

    Also, ask at your feed store about something to smear on the chickens picked areas to discourage picking. Here in the USA we have something called Rooster Booster Pick-no-mor. You can make your own with Vicks Vapor-rub, grape cool-aid powder (unsweetened), and a shot of Pepto Bismol. I discovered those ingredients closely resemble the official concoction and works as well.
     
  5. poultry bro

    poultry bro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 50 chickens roosters and hens and never had this problem but I have heard horrific stories of hens ripping out other hens feathers during the molting season when the feathers have blood in the base still and the chickens will rip off the shaft of the feather and eat it but will sometimes eat the whole feather to but worst is when there is an exposed wound and other birds will literally eat the flesh from the wounded bird until she is dead but again these are worst case scenarios.
     

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