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Feather picking? *update*

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SunAngel, May 16, 2009.

  1. SunAngel

    SunAngel Songster

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    I think I have a feather picker in my flock of 23 standards. How the heck do I go about finding out who the culprit is?

    Recently I noticed around 3 of my hens sporting the new semi naked neck look. I kept watch and have since noticed about 3 or 4 more losing neck feathers. 2 or 3 have bare tushies as well. Its very random though, which is puzzling. My buff Cochin has a naked butt, but her neck feathers are intact. Both neck and butt feathers missing from one of my RSLs but the other RSL is fine all around. One Cochin is totally feathered and fluffy, the other is almost bald on the back of her neck! My white Cochin was losing feathers, but now since she is broody, they are coming back in. Which makes me suspect the feather picking.

    I dusted them for mites about a month ago and I don't see any mites or eggs on them now. My Wheaten Amer. used to roost beside my Exchequer when she was younger and most of her beard was always missing. I figured the Exchequer was to blame. Now, I have no clue who is doing it, or if that is even the problem. I also noticed the Exchequer isn't missing any feathers.

    My egg count has dropped from 22 eggs a day to around a dozen. I figured some might be molting. Could they lose mostly neck & butt feathers during molting? I didn't think molting would take them down to bare skin though.

    They are mostly only in their coop at night to sleep, they get a mix of layer crumbles and 15% grower and some scratch in the mornings. They get treats randomly during the week, multigrain bread, yogurt, veggies, grass, etc. My bantams are in their own pen and coop and look fine, no feather loss at all. They were all laying good til 4-5 of the 13 went broody!

    I am going to hate to have to get rid of some of them. I am assuming the ones that are missing feathers aren't the ones doing the picking, which is good, cause those are some of my favorites. After all this though, do you think some of them could just be molting hard just in certain body areas?
    Last edited: May 23, 2009

  2. SunAngel

    SunAngel Songster

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    Well not that anyone had a suggestion, but I am pretty sure I just found my answer today.

    I am pretty sure it is a feather picking issue and my Exchequer is the culprit. My broody White Cochin was off her nest of eggs, dust bathing outside and I happened to walk over to watch her. Just as I did so, I also notice Fiona, the Exchequer, standing beside Luna, yanking feathers out of her neck and eating them. One after another and Luna just let her do it, grrrr. I chased her away several times, but she just ran back over and did it again as soon as I walked away.

    Needless to say Fiona is now stuck in a cage in the coop and will have to be sold. She is my only Exchequer and white egg layer too [​IMG]

    I guess I am glad its not something worse, it just stinks! I was really hoping it wasn't her [​IMG]

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