feather picking in brooder box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wahmommy, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. wahmommy

    wahmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2010
    Okay, I have three 3 month old pullets in a cardboard box that is probably too small for them now (2 1/2 feet by 4 feet) . They were supposed to go into a beautiful large new coop that we were having built at least a month ago but for one reason or another it hasn't happened (contractor busy on another job, rain etc.) They have been picking feathers for at least a month now. I have up until this point thought they would stop once we move them into larger digs, but now I don't know... should I move them into a bigger box? I haven't because up until this point I thought it was only a matter of days until coop construction would begin..

    I do put them outside on grass in a kids play yard that's about 5 feet by 5 feet for at least a couple of hours most days - but from the feathers I've found they are still picking out there too. No one has been bleeding or hurt though, and it doesn't look like just one chick is being picked on by the others, it looks like they are all working on each other - I assume from boredom.

    Any advice? Other than the feather picking they seem to get along fine, we put a roost in there, so some of them roost, and they all cuddle up together at night - I don't hear any fighting either. Just grumpy growling in the morning when they want me to fill up their food dish...
     
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    There are two main things that cause this behavior: not enough protein and over crowding. It is definitely habit forming as chicken love routine so I would do something about it right away. Take a good look at their diet and double check they have enough protein and get them into a larger box or pen. If they are over crowded, the bigger they get the more violent they will become.

    I would let them out to explore as much as you can and give them other things to focus on like a flock block or treat ball.

    http://www.arcatapet.com/item.cfm?cat=16295&source=GA-PLA00516295

    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/10/flock-block-substitute-recipe-healthy.html
     
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