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Feather picking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Magfree, May 11, 2016.

  1. Magfree

    Magfree Out Of The Brooder

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    I have at least two hens who pick feathers from the backs of the other birds. I thought the bare backs were the fault of to many roosters until I observed this behavior.

    What's going on? How do I stop this behavior?
     
  2. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    up the protein via(game bird feed, soybean meal, meat bird feed, black oil sunflower seeds) and coat the area with blukote
     
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    It's a habit that frequently starts our of boredom in the winter when birds are confined. Some feel that it is also linked to protein deficiency? Adding some dry cat food to the diet may help. Putting Pin Less Peepers on the 'peckers' will stop them, and frequently they can be removed once the other birds regrow feathers and the habit will have been broken.
     
  4. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    pinless peepers are a great option, but cat food has to be watched for the salt content. but confinement is also a cause
     
  5. Magfree

    Magfree Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks everyone. I'm already bumping up the protein. I'll give the pinliss peepers a try. Thanks again.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Noone's asked about space yet....crowding can be part of it too.
    How big(feet by feet) is coop and run....and how many birds?
    Too many cocks could cause stress, so could be indirectly responsible for picking.
     
  7. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I should have stated it better but I did ask about confinement.
     
  8. Magfree

    Magfree Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 84 sq.ft. of coop for 20 birds. One roo and 19 hens. I use to have 3 roos, that may have been part of the problem. I have a 60 sq.ft. aviary, but when all threat of nocturnal predation is past I turn the girls out into a 5800 sq.ft. open run. I think that is enough space.

    The problem is probably too many Roos and not enough protein.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Extra cocks definitely part of the problem.
    Enclosure space is tight.....but depends on how much time they have to spend in there.
    When weather is bad here, especially in winter, they spend a lot more time in the coop sheltering from rain, wind, snow.

    Feather picking can become a behavioral habit, even after other problems are resolved, so it may continue.
    Feathers won't likely grow back until molt.
     
  10. Margot30

    Margot30 Out Of The Brooder

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    Has anyone else ever had chickens turn on a rooster? I have had this rooster for 12 months or so and I've just realised that the girls are picking out his neck feathers, and he's letting them! I thought at first he was moulting but he has looked like this for a few months now and it's not growing back. If it was just one hen I would separate her but it looks like it is a few of the girls. Any suggestions on how to stop them? Separating the rooster isn't really an option and he's a bit of a jerk lol
     

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