Feather picking--how to stop it?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Long Last Farm, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. Long Last Farm

    Long Last Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have about 25 14 week old pullets and roosters in a large, well ventilated brand new coop, with access to the outdoors through a pop door that most of them seem afraid to use. So, only about 4 or 6 regularly go outside during the day.

    Inside, I've noticed 2 or 3 being picked at--to the point of losing feathers and bleeding. They have access to plenty of good food and clean water at all times. Is it boredom? How can I make them go outside? They coop is elevated about 4 feet, but there is a wide plank for them to use to get in/out. Only about 4 or 6 of them have been smart enough to use the pop door. Once or twice I have physically made them all go outside, but at night the little bird brains don't use the gangplank, and I have to chase them in, which stresses them ( and me) out. Why won't they learn from the ones who go in/out? I free range my other flock ( and hope to get these new ones to do so also)
    I put Bluekote on the wounds.
    any suggestions?
    Thanks!
    Pat
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    The classic causes of feather picking are too little space, boredom, too little protein in the diet. But in this case I suspect the cause is their fear of going in and out. If you can't convince them to do so by bribing them in and out with treats, I'd change the arrangement somehow. Perhaps it is steeper than they want?
     
  3. Long Last Farm

    Long Last Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes, the gangplank is a little steep-it does have the little horizontal cross bars on the plank so they have traction. I could let them go out the human door, but the coop is divided for staorage, so they would have to go through the storage area, which DH doesn't want them to do, [​IMG]
    I can bribe them by putting scratch on the plank, but still not all will go out regularly.... [​IMG]
     
  4. snowflake

    snowflake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    try putting a brick under the end of the plank, mine didn't like going up and down till I raised the end of the plank with a brick, made it a little less steep I guess.
     
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Quote:I had the same problem as you. My coop is elevated 3 feet, has a ramp. Trickery and bribes with treats didnt work, but the broom sure did! It works great shoooing them out and forcing them back in just before sundown. They learned real quick! As far as the picking goes, put vicks vapor rub on the ones that are getting picked on. It wont hurt the pickee nor the picker and the picking will stop.
     
  6. Long Last Farm

    Long Last Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2010
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    Thanks for the suggestions! I am going to put a brick or two under the byttom of the ramp. And I will try the Vicks also...I'll post again on how it works out.....
     

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