Feather picking...HELP!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JLS, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

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    May 29, 2009
    Maine
    My Coop
    Okay, I have BO's that are 2 years old and EE's and SLW's that are almost 1 year old. The Bo's and SLW's have turned on my EE's. They have stripped the EE's of their cheek/beard feathers as well as almost all of their tail feathers too!! [​IMG]

    I spent quite some time out in the coop a couple of weeks ago watching the behaviors. I noticed that the hens were all trying to use just 4 nest boxes. So I doubled the amount of nest boxes to 8. Then I realized that there was a lot of squabbling over roosting space so I installed another roost on the oposite site of the coop at the same hight as the regular roost.

    The picking still continues!! [​IMG] I have an 8x12 coop (8x10 is used for housing the chickens). My flock consists of 18 standard sized hens and 2 bantams (1 silkie hen and 1 silkie roo). I clean it daily. There is always fresh food and water. They have access to an outdoor run from 8am to 8pm everyday.

    What am I doing wrong??!!?? I currently have 7 chicks with my silkie in the basement. I will re-home at least 7 of my cuurent flock (5 BO's and 2 SLW's). Please give me advice in order to stop this insanity!!!
     
  2. happyhensny

    happyhensny Brown Barns Farm

    I am having a problem with chicks picking. Try some Rooster Booster no-pick lotion or another BYC member suggested applying Vicks vapor rub to the "victims".
     
  3. YYZ

    YYZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Im asking this but its just a thought. Is something missing in their diets?
     
  4. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

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    May 29, 2009
    Maine
    My Coop
    Quote:I have applied pine tar but it doesn't seem to be that much of a deterant. I am a little concerned about applying stuff to their faces. They shake their heads so often. I am affraid that stuff will get into their eyes.
     
  5. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  6. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

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    May 29, 2009
    Maine
    My Coop
    Quote:I feed them layer crumbles, cracked corn, sunflower seeds, and various household table scraps. I always have a flock block in the coop for them too. They free range occasionally.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  7. YYZ

    YYZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2010
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    Sounds very healthy to me! [​IMG]
     
  8. pawtraitart

    pawtraitart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had this problem before and what stopped it was providing my chickens with something else to pick on like hanging treats, forage cakes, etc.
     
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    It could be so many factors, so work on process of elimination. It's been a rough winter, and they've probably spent a lot of time indoors, so they're bored and grumpy. Remember, the 4 sq. ft. is a general guideline minimum. Some flocks get by okay with less, while others need more space.
    Boredom issues can be addressed with adding stumps or more roosts out in the run, hanging cabbages, etc.
    It could also be protein related. You can try avoiding corn/scratch and any leftover treats that aren't high in protein. Stick to BOSS, a bit of cat food, salmon, etc. as treats other than your layer feed. Maybe mix a little game bird feed or flock raiser (higher protein than layer feed) in with their layer feed, just until things get better.
     
  10. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

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    May 29, 2009
    Maine
    My Coop
    Quote:Should I feed Flock Raiser long term? I always have oyster shell available to them free choice. This is a re-occuring issue for me [​IMG] I thought I had culled the aggressive birds from my flock last summer. [​IMG] Is this a learned behavior? Do I have aggressive breeds (my tag has a list of the breeds of my flock)?
     

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